Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers is a monthly roundup of advice and wisdom
from fellow art teachers, put together by the intrepid Glenda Lubiner.
Printing with a Purpose
“What is now proved was once only imagined.” — William Blake
November has arrived and I’m sure many of you are starting to prepare for all the winter holidays. I know I am! This month’s focus is on my favorite subject: Printmaking. We have wonderful tips for you, all of which can be modified for every grade level.
This is how you do it! Victoria Englehart from Deerfield Beach High School in Deerfield Beach, Fla., has these great tips and ideas. One project that she recently presented at a three-day workshop dealt with linoleum block prints.
She had her participants print the image several times by turning them upside down and printing on different color papers. They also played with prints etched on foam trays. They printed multiple times on painted paper for a more textured look.
Remember printing with food? Well, Victoria and her students did this too, but with a little twist. They cut stamps from apples, onions, potatoes and erasers, and stamped with color schemes. They also used pearlescent and iridescent paint.
If that wasn’t enough, they also made one cool color frontage and one warm color frontage and cut them in half. They laid a warm color over a cool color, cut out images, and then glued them onto the opposite color scheme to make collages. Last, but certainly not least, they also used dyed fabric and stamped on it to make wall hangings.
Shake it up Most of us print on solid color surfaces. Why not shake it up and try printing on different colored paper, or different kinds of paper? One project I’ve done in the past was to marbleize white paper using bright colored chalk dust on white paper. When dry, the students did gyotaku prints using black ink on the wonderfully colored papers. The results were spectacular.
I have also had my students print on newspaper, wrapping paper and fabric. This year, we are going to print black abstract designs on solid-colored cardboard and then use the cardboard to build a 3-D sculpture.
Clean Up CAN be Easy Over the years, we have come to realize that baby wipes and magic erasers sponges can clean virtually anything. Although I put them on my parent wish list, I am not always very successful getting them. The good news is that in many elementary schools, baby wipes are part of the supply list and most elementary teachers will have an abundance of them—don’t be afraid to ask for any extras. I love to use etching ink with my students and baby wipes will wipe your matrix clean, no need for harsh chemicals. They also work great for oil pastels when we are doing monoprints.
And Speaking of Clean … How about trying something different this year and print with soap? Bar soap can be an inexpensive way to make relief prints. If your students can’t afford to bring in a bar of soap, you can purchase them at a local dollar store. Toothpicks or paperclips work well as carving tools. Just make sure not to wash off the ink when you’re finished printing unless of course you want a different print next time around!
Glue Prints with a Purpose I have my students create a design or image on a piece of tag board. When the design is completed, they used white glue to trace over the lines. When dry, students roll on block-printing ink and print them.
I had them make at least three prints using different colored ink. When the prints are dry, they take their least favorite print and add oil pastels to enhance it. In most cases, these mixed- media prints turn out better than the original print! Some students choose to use their matrix to add paint, pastels and collage to create a second piece of art.
Silk Screening by the Month A few years ago, I had my students create a silkscreened calendar. The students worked in pairs and each group came up with a different design for their designated month. Multiples of each were printed on colored tag board so each student was able to have his or her own calendar. We then printed the actual calendar to attach to the print.
Happy Birthday to William Hogarth (Nov. 10, 1697), Claude Monet (Nov. 14, 1840), Georgia O’Keeffe (Nov. 15, 1887), George Segal (Nov. 26, 1924) and William Blake (Nov. 28, 1757).
Thank you Victoria for these great printmaking tips and ideas.
Arts & Activities Contributing Editor Glenda Lubiner (NBCT) teaches art at Franklin Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. She is also an adjunct professor at Broward College.
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