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The Unfinished Print

Mar 22, 2022

Fabiola Gil Alares is one of mokuhanga's most interesting artists. Her work, with bright flat, rich colours with a romantic appeal, tells a fantastic story, one which naturally draws you to her work.

In this episode of The Unfinished Print, I speak with mokuhanga printmaker Fabiola Gil Alares about her prints, her artistic background, the amazing book project she's undertaken and what it feels like to be one of the hardest working mokuhagna artists, today. 

Special thanks to my good friend Consuelo Orrego for help in translation. 

Please follow The Unfinished Print and my own print work on Instagram @andrezadoroznyprints Twitter @unfinishedprint, or email me at

Notes: may contain a hyperlink. Simply click on the highlighted word or phrase.

Fabiola Gil Alares - website, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Mokuhankan

Laura Boswell - is a British printmaker who uses mokuhanga, and linocut and reduction printmaking, as her mediums of choice. She was interviewed by The Unfinished Print, which can be found, here. She is an important teacher and promoter of mokuhanga. More info can be found, here.

MI Lab - Is an artist-in-residency located in Lake Kawaguchi, near Mt. Fuji. Once called Nagasawa Art Park, MI Lab has been an important centre of many talented and successful mokuhanga printmakers, working today. More info, here

Mokuhankan and David Bull - is a brick and mortar woodblock print shop located in Asakusa, Tōkyō. It is a learning and working space, where it sells the works of artist Jed Henry, master carvers of the past, and various print series. All are printed and carved by Mokuhankan printmakers and carvers. Started by printmaker David Bull as a way to sell his own series and reprints of old carvers of the past, Mokuhankan has grown exponentially over the years and is a must visit when coming to Tōkyō. More info, here

Shoicihi Kitamura - is a master carver of Japanese woodblock. He has taught at Nagasawa Art Park and has conducted many demonstrations on carving, and at various International Mokuhanga Conferences. More info, here

Hidehiko Gotō - is a master baren maker and mokuhanga artist who has conducted many demonstrations on baren making throughout the world, and at the International Mokuhanga Conferences. Some of his mokuhanga can be found here. Gotō also contributed to Fabiola's book. 

Terry McKenna - is a mokuhanga artist and instructor based in Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan. He is a student of Richard Steiner, an American woodblock printmaker based in Kyōtō, Japan. Terry runs and operates the Karuizawa Mokuhanga School, which is a school open to those who are interested in wanting to learn and study mokuhanga in a Japanese setting. Both Richard and Terry have been interviewed by The Unfinished Print, here, and here

Educational Museum of Origami, Zaragoza - is a one of its kind museum focused on the Japanese paper art of origami, located in Zaragoza, Spain. More info, here

Serigraphy - is another word for the art of silk screen printing. Silk screen printing can be in on various materials, silk, canvas, paper, etc. 

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) - is one of the most, if not the most, famous Japanese artist ever known. He designed woodblock prints, as well as creating his own paintings, screens, scrolls, and commissioned art in Buddhist temples throughout Japan. More info, here. The British Museum has a lot of info, here

Miyakodori - is a publishing house of woodblock prints. Started by Takashi Kashiwagi, a woodblock carver himself, he releases and carves (through laser and hand carving) artists such as Tōkyō based graphic designer Shinji Tsuchimochi. More info, here. shop

Saitō Kiyoshi (1907-1997) - was a Japanese woodblock printmaker and artist who worked in the sōsaku hanga style of mokuhanga. His fame outside of Japan was fairly comprehensive with his peak fame being in the 1950’s and 1960’s. For a comprehensive book on his life and times, Saitō Kiyoshi: Graphic Awakening published by The John & Mable Ringling Museum is an excellent source. Can be found, here. Lecture by Dr. Paget about Saitō can be found, here.

Royal Talens Gouache - is a specific brand of gouache pigment. Gouache pigments are a mixture of pigment, water and binder and usually opaque and used in painting, and various types of printmaking. Royal Talens is a maker of different types of pigments, originally a Dutch company but is currently produced all over the world. More info, here

Nakajima Tsuzen - is a mokuhanga printmaker who has been working in the medium for many years. His work highlights the woodblock technique of mokume, where the grain of the wood is used to highlight certain aspects of the print. Mr. Nakajima's website can be found, here. Instagram

Different types of wood - mokuhanga printmakers can use many different types of wood for their work. Most of the time, shina veneer harvested sustainably, is used for modern woodblock prints. Japanese cherry wood was used a lot but because of it's expense today it is used rarely. Other woods used is basswood, elm, and even red oak.

Mokuhanga books in English - As Fabiola mentions in the episode, there are various other books on mokuhanga and it process in the English language. Here is a list of books that I am aware of. It is also important for me to say, that through this list we can see how important Fabiola's book is for those who speak languages other than English and hopefully other mokuhanga practitioners will publish books in various languages around the world. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you believe I've missed someone please message me. If the book is in print (or even out of print and there are PDF's) you will see the authors name hyper-linked so you can buy the books :

April Vollmer - Japanese Woodblock Printshop: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Art of Mokuhanga. (2015) Watson-Guptill Publications

Tuula Moilanen, Kari Laitinen, and Antti Tanttu - The Art and Craft of Woodblock Printmaking. (2013) Aalto Books

Laura Boswell - Making Japanese Woodblock Prints. (2020) The Crowood Press.

Hiroshi Yoshida - Japanese Woodblock Printing. (1939) Sanseido Company, Ltd.

Walter J. Phillips The Technique of the Colour Woodcut. (1926) Brown-Robertson, New York.

Rebecca Salter - Japanese Woodblock Printing. (2001) A&C Black.

Toshi Yoshida & Rei Yuki - Japanese Print Making: A Handbook of Traditional and Modern Techniques. (1966) Tuttle Publishing.

Marilyn Chesterton and Rod Nelson - Making Woodblock Prints. (2015) Crowood Press 

Terry McKenna - Terry has written two excellent woodblock primers for the beginner and the intermediate practitioner. The first is Mokuhanga Fundamentals: Core Skills... & the second book is, Creative Print. Both can be purchased directly from here, and other fine establishments in e-book or physical form. Self Published. 

Naoko Matsubara -  is a Japanese-Canadian mokuhanga printmaker who has been a printmaker for over 60 years. She has worked with artists such as Munakata Shikō (1903-1975) and has published many books, and has traveled the world for her work. More info, here. Her website can be found, here

opening and closing credit music - TELEVISION -  Marquee Moon (1977) Elektra/Asylum 

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***The opinions expressed by guests in The Unfinished Print podcast are not necessarily those of André Zadorozny and of Popular Wheat Productions.***