Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels

A wonderful foray into the world of relief carving.


Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels

This new book by award winning Canadian woodcut artist George Walker is one that, on first impression, you might not consider germane to the craft of woodworking. But a quick flick of the thumb will reveal otherwise. You'll then make that immediate synaptic connection to the subtitle of the book, "Four Wordless Graphic Novels". Aha, lots of pictures, no words!
The 'graphic novel' is, in fact, the way mankind first recorded stories. As Walker says, "Pictorial narratives are not new; the earliest known cave paintings told tales of hunting, the Egyptians used sequential images and all written languages evolved from pictures..." Today, of course we associate novels primarily with the written word. But artists, particularly illustrators whose medium includes engraving, linocut, or woodcut, would naturally choose to comment on social, political or economic issues with pictures rather than words.

The graphic artists whose work are presented in this book were active during the turbulent years between 1918 and 1951. These 'novels' reflect their concerns about relevant topics of the day. For example, Walker tells us the Giacomo Patri's 'White Collar' is " is a statement on the growing divide between white-collar and blue-collar workers, and in part, an autobiographical account of his early struggles as a commercial artist in 1930s California.
Relief printing (carving an image onto a block of wood or piece of linoleum and then transferring the image onto a piece of paper) has been round for millennium. In the introduction Walker intersperses the techniques and tools of relief printing with accounts of the life and work of the four authors featured in the book.
If you're at all interested in the craft of relief carving, then you really owe it to yourself to get this book. The engravings are simply beautiful, and thankfully the plates are shown large enough that you can see a lot of finer detail. You'll also find that the stories the four artists tell us are timeless.



  • Introduction
  • Frans Masereel: The Passion of a Man
  • Lynd Ward: Wild Pilgrimage
  • Giacomo Patri: White Collar
  • Laurence Hyde: Southern Cross
  • Afterword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Bibliography
  • Index
PUBLISHER:Firefly Books
AVAILABLE FROM:Your local bookseller or online
FORMAT:Softcover, 423 pages
AUTHOR:George A. Walker, ed.

Carl Duguay
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!