Wednesday, October 23, 2013

OLD SCHOOL and NEW SCHOOL: Part 1 - Collograph Letter Printmaking

Ahhhh the joys of printmaking!  I’ve always been fascinated by the way you can create an image and then make several prints that might be the same, but are just a little different each time.  Collograph printmaking is especially interesting to me because all you need are basic materials and suddenly you’re making prints!

9x12 oaktag 
9x12 paper (for printing)
Speedball (printmaking) ink
colored pencils

I saw the basic idea for this on Pinterest from The Calvert Canvas.  I loved the idea of my 8th graders making positive messages as prints.  Who doesn’t need a few inspiring words to get them through their day? (Especially in middle school!)  

We used two pieces of 9 x 12 oaktag - one was the base and one was for drawing and cutting out the letters.  The tricky part came when it was time to glue the cut out letters to the base (using good old basic glue sticks.)  

Since we are making prints, we had to line up the sayings so they read backwards from right to left.  That way when we printed them out, they would read the correct way.  This sounds easy...but it was a little bit of a brain twister for all of us sometimes.  Its amazing how your brain will “correct” a backwards letter for you so you don’t notice it...until you’ve just made the print! Oops!   We decided those little missed letters just gave the pieces “character.” :-) 

After gluing down the letters, we put something heavy on top of them to make sure the letters really stuck.  Then it was time to print...

Using brayers and Speedball ink, the kids took turns printing (working on the beginning of the next project while they waited.)  They enjoyed experimenting with the amount of ink needed for their desired outcome.  Some wanted their prints very dark, while others liked the more “distressed” look of less ink, as they knew they would be hand-coloring one of their works later.  

 Once they were finished printing, they chose one to handcolor and I taught them how to trim their work, and sign and number it.  

The number one problem students had with this project was handling the size of their letters and their use of space.  Next year we will focus more on the composition and layout of the lettering and using the whole space to create balance.  As always - live and learn... :-)

This post is about the OLD SCHOOL way of creating a letter art project.  Part 2 of this project will be the NEW SCHOOL way of approaching this creative challenge.  Stay tuned...

Happy printing!!