Pretty happy with my progress this first week. Nothing but learning how the knives work and practicing cuts. Finally had the confidence to go forward with a design a couple of days ago.
This is a two color print (obviously), done by a method called "reduction printing" or "suicide printing" (which definitely sounds dramatic but I like it). The basic idea is to carve away the highlights first and print the first color, usually the lighter shade. Then you carve away whatever you want to stay that color and print again with your darker shade. This requires you to register the plate and paper so things match up. The result is the darker shade covers the lighter one in certain areas and you get your cool ass print.
So the "reduction" or "suicide" name refers to the fact that the process is done on a single plate. Once you carve something away there's no going back to replace it. You've committed yourself to that area receiving no ink or remaining a previous color. Now, this happens to be two colors but you could certainly go with more.
Another way to achieve the same results without the commitment is to do sets of plates carved for each color. Definitely something I'll be experimenting with in the future but for now I kind of like the excitement of the "reduction" method. Seems like good practice and a good way to think about what you're trying to accomplish.