Mokulito/Wood Lithography (with Annie Sandano)

One of the highlights of my job is talking to the artists we work with and finding out a little about what goes on behind the scenes and seeing photos of works in progress.

Annie Sandano is an incredibly talented printmaker and artist who has travelled the world learning new techniques and refining her practice. As part of our sixth birthday exhibition Annie produced two series of works using traditional print making techniques: mokulito (wood lithography) and wood block prints.

Annie kindly shared the process behind her "Snake" series with us and explained a little more about mokulito, a less known printmaking technique. Mokulito, or wood lithography, was developed in Japan in the 1970 by Seishi Ozaku and refined by Josef Budka and his daughter Ewa. It is similar to traditional lithography but differs in the use of wood as the plate instead of a traditional stone matrices.


Annie's snake series was created through several steps and merging various art techniques, the first of which was to hand paint and cut sheets of rice paper to create various forms. 


These forms were placed in multiple layouts until Annie was happy with the patterns they formed. The rice paper sections were glued to the paper using hand made rice starch paste and left to dry. 

Once dried the paper had the snake motif added through mokulito. 

As mentioned previously, mokulito is identical to stone lithography except instead of creating an image on a stone the image is created on wood. Like traditional lithography it relies on the fact that oil and water don't mix: greasy ink is used to paint the image onto a strip of wood (in this case a snake) and left to set overnight, creating a plate.



Once set the plate is made wet and exposed to ink which is applied by a roller.  The ink sticks to the greasy drawing and is repelled from the wet wooden surface surrounding it. The plate is then put through a press with paper over it and an impression is created.

Once dry the prints are signed and titled by the artist before being sent to their new homes or to galleries to be displayed.


Unlike digital prints, mokulito prints will vary slightly each time the print is printed meaning the editions are small and variable. 

View the completed works here...


Thank you Annie Sandano for sharing your knowledge, process and images.


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