A woodcut is created by painstakingly etching parts of a wooden block, using special metal tools, to make a picture. Once the woodcut is complete, you can make a print by painting the woodcut and pressing it onto a surface so that the chipped away parts create a light and dark effect image. Dating back to the 1400s, you don’t have to go far to find this traditional illustration style – it's on most banknotes and on the walls of most churches.
The woodcut style translates particularly well into tattoo design. Often using one colour (the best one – black) the designs contrast against even the darkest of skin tones, making the piece pop. Thin, tight lines and shading ensure the design retains a high level of detail and just like woodcut art, they are made to last!
London is home to some of the most interesting artists that adopt this style so take a look at these designs from parlours including Sang Bleu Tattoo, Into You Tattoo and Shangri-La.