Modern Japanese Wood Block Printing

Print making

Book Selected Date

Course details

Inspired by the semi-abstract modernist tradition of St Ives, experienced woodblock artist Adrian Holmes teaches you to compose, carve and print your own designs.

Cornwall based artist, Adrian Holmes guides you through the rich world of woodblock printing. Adrian’s practice is rooted in the ancient skill of Japanese watercolour, woodblock printing. Traditionally made as a homage to the sweeping landscape, dramatic landforms and rich culture of Japan, this two week course gives you a contemporary take on the process. Inspired by the semi-abstract modernist tradition of St Ives, practitioner Adrian Holmes teaches you to compose, carve and print your own designs.  

You don’t have to be an experienced artist or printmaker to enjoy this course. Learn to simplify and create abstract designs; a process that can then strengthen your compositions whatever medium you normally work in. The course is ideal if you want to work in a more abstract way. Being non toxic and water based it’s also perfect if you don’t have much space to work at home.

This is a rare opportunity to engage with traditions from Japan to produce ethereal, striking prints. Enjoy creating finished pieces over the two weeks. You will also have a series of unique starting points you could use to develop into abstract paintings.

You will be able to enjoy access to the video sessions and Zoom recordings up to six months after the course finishes. The group is interactive and kept small. We use an private online platform over the two weeks were you can post your progress and interact with your fellow students and get feedback from your tutor. To find out more about the materials needed you can watch the video at the bottom of the page.

Jaoanese Woodblock trees
Student Work
Japanese woodblock
Student Work

Day to day plan

This is a 2 week course and will work best for those that can commit time each week to do the tasks. A week before the course starts you will be sent an instructional film regarding cutting techniques for you to practice before we start. With 4 live and interactive sessions you will then go off to work on your own project with guidance and direction to follow. All timings are London time.

Pre-Course Tech Session

Friday 7th October 3 – 4pm – The Friday before your course starts there will be a session with our tech team to make sure you are confident with zoom and our online course platform

Week 1

Tuesday 11th October 10 – 12.30 pm Live session with Adrian Holmes. Introduction to your group and introducing you to the course. Learn to compose you print and transfer ready for carving and then launch into reduction.

Wednesday 12th October 10 – 12.30 pm Live session with Adrian Holmes. Begin printing from first carving and then continue with further prints.

Friday 14th October 5 – 6pm A check in on Zoom with Adrian and your group to talk about progress.

Week 2

Tuesday 18th October 10 – 12.30 pm Live session moving on to creating layered prints.

Wednesday 19th October 10 – 12.30 pm Live session experimenting with creating your layered prints and final plenary. In your own time develop your ideas further and upload your final work to our image sharing platform.

Friday 21st October 5 – 6pm – Adrian will provide final feedback and thoughts on next steps for you via Zoom.

What will I learn?

The confidence to create your own woodblock prints – a good understanding of the tools and craft involved.

How to simplify an image and make it into an effective print design. 

An insight into colour theory, particularly in relation to the printing process, how to separate an image by colour and use watercolour to achieve different intensities of colour. 

An understanding of traditional techniques, tools and materials in a modern context.

Who would this course suit?

This course is suitable for newcomers to printing or art of any kind. If you have experience with other printmaking processes such as lino, this is a chance to get an insight into its traditional predecessor. It is worth mentioning that woodblock carving can be quite strenuous on the hands and wrists.

How long will I have access to the course?

You’ll have access to all course materials for the duration of your course, plus an additional 6 months after your end date.

Modern Japanese Wood Block Printing

Print making

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Adrian’s Work

Adrian Holmes is a print maker devoted to Japanese printmaking. He fell in love with this medium whilst living in Japan and began to study this beautiful craft and its techniques. He divides his time between his art practice, teaching woodblock printmaking in the Southwest and continuing his dedicated study of woodblock printmaking in Japan. Adrian is currently based at Krowji studio in Cornwall.

What will I need?

You will receive a handbook on setting up ready for the course covering equipment and materials. However you will need as basic equipment a rubber roller, woodcutting tools and some 4mm birch ply or similar. We will give you suggestions on where you can source these if you don’t already have them at home.

We can send a specialist printing pack out for £60 + P&P to UK addresses. This pack contains includes: 2 x square of plywood, 3 pack of stencil brushes, Baren, Carving tools, Masa paper, Hoso paper, Japanese Inking brush, Japanese Nori Rice paste. Please email: if you would like to order one. You will also need some general art supplies such as watercolour paint and brushes.

IT Equipment

You will need a laptop or tablet with audio and camera enabled so you can have a screen near where you are working. A phone is not ideal as you will struggle to see enough. You will also need reasonable broadband connection and speed.

What our students say

Adrian was a great teacher; very clear, kind and encouraging. He was good at delivering via zoom, making sure each person had an opportunity to talk and ask questions.


The course was well structured and balanced with an excellent tutor to guide us through the steps. I have already recommended the course to a friend.


Adrian Holmes has an efficient but friendly and approachable personality, very encouraging.



Online Art Courses – All

Do I need a webcam/any equipment.

For our webinar sessions which are broadcast on the internet no webcam or microphone is needed as you just need to be able to see/hear hosts and you can communicate using the chat function. You can watch using a PC, Smart TV or tablet. A phone isn’t ideal as you will struggle to see enough unless you can miracast to a screen or smart TV.

For the longer online courses on Zoom you will need a laptop or tablet with audio and camera enabled so you can have a screen near where you are working. If you have a PC without camera or speakers, you can purchase a plug and play webcam for approx £25 which connects to a usb port. You will also need reasonable broadband connection and speed.

I have registered for the webinar but I cant find my joining link

The link will be emailed to you at least 30 minutes before the session. Please check your junk mail and if you can’t find the email please contact and we will resend it. You can use a PC or tablet or even cast from your phone to watch on your Smart TV.

I paid for the session but missed it, can you send me the video?

Currently all our online sessions are recorded and the video recording will automatically be sent to all who booked on the session. You will have access to the course for up to six months from final broadcast date & a month for online life drawing webinars.

Our Courses

How can I get help in choosing a course?

Our friendly expert staff are always happy to discuss your needs and our courses in more detail to help you with your decision. Please call us on 01736 797180

How do I get my work home?

Tutors have special techniques for transporting oil paintings and the school has plastic folders available in our shop for £3.50 or do bring a portfolio.

For international students we are happy to arrange transportation of your work back home.

What do I need to bring?

Absolutely nothing! All materials and aprons are provided although some people do like to bring their own set of brushes.

What do I do for lunch?

Courses allow an hour’s break for lunch and there are numerous places nearby or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch into the studio.

What times do courses run?

Most of our courses start at 10am and end at 4.30pm on the first day. Subsequent days we start at 9.30am ending at 4pm.

Weekend Courses run 10am – 4pm on the first day but the final day starts at 9.30 and ends at 3.30 with a short lunch break to enable people to get home that evening.

Do you have to be experienced to come to the School?

The School is a very friendly and welcoming place for all ages and experience. Our drop-in life classes and August half-day workshops are ideal for those wanting to have a go for the first time. Most of our longer courses are also fine for novices.

If any of the courses do need a bit of experience we flag this up in the brochure and on the website.

Booking a Course

Can I pay by cheque?

Please get in touch by phone and we can hold your place for a few days whilst you post your cheque (made payable to: St Ives School of Painting) to us at St Ives School of Painting, Porthmeor Studios. St Ives TR26 1NG

How can I reserve a place?

We will hold a provisional reservation for 24 hours if you give us a call whilst you find accommodation. Otherwise please book online or by telephone 01736 797180.

You can reserve a place with a £100 deposit; balance is due 12 weeks before course start date.

About St Ives

Where do I park?

The nearest long stay public car parks are the Island and Barnoon both 5 minute walk away. In the peak summer months it may be easier to park at the big top car park by the leisure centre and walk down into town. If you don’t fancy the walk up the hill at the end of the day there is a shuttle bus which runs from outside the cinema.

How do I get there?

Public Transport: If you are coming from further afield the main train line runs into St Erth which is a 15 min taxi ride away or you can take the St Ives Bay Line which runs approx. every 30 minutes. The School is a 10 minute walk from St Ives station.

Driving: M5 will take you to Exeter where we recommend that you take the A30 across Bodmin Moor and into Cornwall. After passing Hayle, leave the A30 at St Erth roundabout for St Ives. Turn right at the second roundabout. This road will take you through Lelant and Carbis Bay into St Ives.

Where can I stay?

St Ives has a huge selection of hotels, guest houses and self catering accommodation to choose from. Please browse the art holidays St Ives section on our website and give us a call if you would like any help.

You might also like...