Are you interested in learning relief printmaking? Join Lyell Castonguay, Founder of BIG INK, for a professionally led woodblock carving workshop in 2024. Castonguay can teach you the technique, and no experience is required.

Online and in-person instruction

Discover the satisfaction of drawing, carving, and printing a large-scale woodblock with the online masterclass led by instructor Lyell Castonguay. Carve your design from the comfort of your home. A pre-recorded video series expertly guides you, and links in the class show you where to purchase the essential supplies, including wood and carving tools. If you have questions, Castonguay is an email or phone call away.

The workshop concludes with meeting Castonguay at one of the art centers listed on this page. You’ll learn proper woodblock printing techniques, including applying ink to the carving you created at home. By the end of the day of in-person instruction, you will have multiple impressions of your design printed on acid-free paper. Other students will be present, providing knowledge-sharing and collaboration opportunities.

Lyell teaches a growing community of artists that come from a variety of backgrounds. No prior wood carving experience is necessary, and individuals of all skill levels will find joy in the process. Castonguay sends a personal welcome email after registration with learning resources to get you started.

Professional equipment, supplies, and a new student network

Castonguay brings a custom-built giant printing press to every workshop. The press is affectionately named The Big Tuna due to its size and strength. It is a precise machine that creates flawless woodblock prints. Workshop registrants receive three prints produced by The Big Tuna.

Complimentary gifts arrive by mail from our sponsors after you register. Legion Paper sends a selection of carefully chosen papers, and Speedball Art Products sends a sample kit of printmaking supplies, including ink, paper, a brayer, and other items. The box features a printed design made by Castonguay.

BIG INK’s online forum, launched in Fall 2023, is a print-focused community network exclusively for our students. Ask questions and seek advice from your fellow members. After the workshop, you can continue using the platform to share updates. Want to join? Register here!

Ready to carve your creative path? See the workshop for 2024 below! Registration for those marked with an * is by invitation only.

What are the highlights of participating in a BIG INK workshop?

Participation highlights include one year of access to our online master class, seven hours of in-person instruction with Lyell Castonguay at the art center you register for, a printmaking supplies sample kit, a paper sample pack, and three professionally made woodblock prints.

Can I register having never carved a woodblock?

Individuals of all skill levels are encouraged to register. You’ll learn the woodblock carving and printing process through online and in-person instruction.

Colleen Critcher

Can my group register for a public workshop?

A group of up to three people may register to carve a single woodblock. Please list your names in the “Order Notes” field when registering. For larger groups, please get in touch with us to arrange a workshop.

Will my information be kept private?

Your mailing address will be shared with our sponsors, Legion Paper and Speedball Art Products. Legion will send you a paper sample pack, and Speedball will send a printmaking supplies sample kit. Otherwise, BIG INK does not share your information with third parties.

Laurie Darby

What materials are provided in the workshop?

BIG INK supplies consumable materials (ink, acid-free printing paper, newsprint, cleaning supplies), equipment, and assistance to help print your woodblock.

What materials do I purchase?

Workshop participants purchase their wood and carving tools separately. BIG INK recommends carving Cherry Plywood, Shina Plywood, Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), and Power Grip brand carving tools. The wood must be either 3/8″ or 1/2” in thickness.

Aaron Miller & Deborah Rose Guterbock

How big can I work?

The maximum allowed woodblock size is 40 by 96 inches unless otherwise noted in the workshop outline you receive after registering.

How small can I work?

The minimum size is 24 by 36 inches, which is excellent for ambitious first-time carvers.

Kaitlynn Radloff

Can I carve linoleum?

No, workshop participants are required to carve wood. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is easy to work with and prints well.

Can I print in color?

Color printing cannot be accommodated due to limited time and working space. Your woodblock is printed on white Masa paper using black Speedball Oil-Based Relief Ink.

Sarah Matthews

Are scholarships available?

We do not offer scholarships to first-time workshop participants. However, BIG INK draws randomly and awards four scholarships per workshop to returning participants.

A previous BIG INK participant must register for another workshop to be considered. Those who receive the award are notified before the workshop.

Can I register for multiple workshops in a year?


Jon Kristopher Collins

What is BIG INK’s refund policy?

Workshop registration fees are non-refundable and non-transferable to another individual or location.

Do I need to be present when my woodblock is printed?


Mark Wamaling

Am I required to attend both in-person printing days?

You are required to attend only one in-person printing day. You will receive an email with your assignment before the workshop.

Can I ship my carved woodblock to the venue?

You may ship your woodblock to the venue, but please let us know beforehand so we can inform our hosting partner. Also, plan to include a return label in the package.

Jency sekeran

How do I transport a large woodblock on an airplane or car?

We recommend cutting your wood to fit inside a drawing portfolio before carving. These sections can be pieced together on the press. Remember that each cut will create a thin white line in the finished print, so plan your design accordingly.

Who should I contact with questions?

Questions may be directed to Lyell Castonguay,

Stacy Allen
Hello There!

My name is Lyell Castonguay, Co-Founder of BIG INK. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out via the contact form below. I look forward to hearing from you.

    private workshops

    Hire BIG INK for a private, multi-day group workshop. Our service includes travel to your location and set-up of The Big Tuna, our custom-designed giant mobile printing press. Does your group have limited woodblock carving experience? That is okay. Workshop participants will follow our instructions through the process.

    Can I book a private workshop with no printmaking experience?

    No prior experience is required. Participants learn the woodblock printmaking process through online and in-person instruction.

    How much of an advanced notice is recommended for booking a workshop?

    Eight months

    Will my information be kept private?

    Yes, we use the information from your application solely to evaluate your request.

    How much does a private workshop cost?

    Our rate is $5,200 for a two-day workshop within 300 miles of our Livermore Falls, Maine home. Our travel fee is 50¢ per mile past 300.

    What is the workshop payment schedule?

    A 50% non-refundable deposit is required to hold the workshop dates. The remaining balance is due the day services are rendered.

    When is the workshop officially scheduled?

    Once we receive the deposit and a signed agreement.

    Are there any other additional expenses?

    One room (three-night lodging) is required for workshops more than an hour’s drive from our home.

    How long does a workshop run?

    Two days, usually 10 am – 5 pm

    How many can participate?

    Sixteen, eight each day.

    Can participants collaborate on one woodblock?

    Yes, group collaboration on a woodblock counts as 1 participant.

    How big can workshop participants work?

    Woodblocks can be no larger than 40 by 96 inches in dimension. We recommend 24 by 36 inches if this is a student’s first time carving.

    Who pays for materials?

    BIG INK supplies printing ink and acid-free printing paper. You can supply participants with a carving substrate and tools or require participants to purchase them separately.

    What carving substrates and tools are recommended?

    BIG INK recommends carving Cherry Plywood, Shina Plywood, Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), and Power Grip brand carving tools. The wood must be either 3/8″ or 1/2″ in thickness. Our online course goes into greater detail on the subject.

    Can a workshop be held outdoors?


    What is provided for the workshop?

    BIG INK provides non-toxic cleaning supplies, work tables, inking rollers, a hanging paper system, and a printing press.

    What are the space requirements?

    The workshop space needs to be handicap accessible, have 26 inches of minimum doorway clearance, 26 by 65 inches of minimum elevator clearance, a minimum of 500 square feet, a loading zone, and one reserved parking space.

    When do set-up and breakdown occur?

    BIG INK arrives the day before the workshop to set up, and we break down on the evening of the last day of the workshop.

    How does BIG INK transport equipment?

    We travel in a Ford Transit cargo van. A loading zone and reserved parking space are required.

    Who do I contact to schedule a workshop?

    Questions may be directed to Lyell Castonguay,