This is a fabulous lesson plan I stumbled across nearly a decade ago on The Incredible Online Art Department. Over the years, I’ve varied it and seen all sorts of incarnations. This project is recommended for students in 6th grade or older as it makes use of linoleum cutters. However, with modifications like Styrofoam printing plates it could suit students as young as 4th grade.
Additionally, I’ve modified the original project requirements to create a less expensive version of relief-printmaking. It is important, especially in Title I environments, to find ways to incorporate advanced techniques and materials alongside frugality.
This project usually takes my students 2 weeks to complete. We meet every day for one 45 minute session. Even though my Art quarters are only 9 weeks long, I can justify this project because students are using so many different artistic skills to complete one amazing work.
Here are the steps I follow:
1. Introduce students to the art, history, and style of Albrecht Durer and Printmaking. I use the presentation below
2. As a class we examine the Rhinoceros by Durer . I hang a sheet of paper over the board (or use a SmartBoard) and students come up and trace over the patterns and textures on the animal. I then remove the artwork and just leave the student-traced textures. In this way students can see how important texture is to an artwork.
3. Students invent textures using the texture/pattern worksheet below
4. Students go online and print out an image of an animal of their choosing. You can modify this by providing pre-selected images. I find, however, that students engage more when they have more ownership over their selections.
5. Students draw their animal in pencil on a 10 inch x 12 inch sheet of paper
6. Students add texture to animals
7. Students trace all pencil lines with a dark marker
8. Students paint animal with watercolors
9. Students learn how to create a relief printmaking plate; includes teacher demo
10. Students sketch for plate. This should be their “signature” and can be a design or a set of letters (like Albrecht Durer’s signature). Remind students that letters should be reversed and words must be backwards (tricky!)
11. Students sketch and carve plate (I use very soft linoleum to avoid cuts etc. and because it is easier for students to get details). I pre-cut the linoleum into 2 inch x 2 inch squares. . .But, I have considered using erasers too!
12. Demo how to print the plates using stamp pads (this is a huge money saver for me. . .Though, if you can, using brayers and tube ink is best!)
13. Students print a border around a 2nd sheet of paper that is 14 inches x 16 inches. I’ve used white and colors; they all look great!
14. Students glue painting into the center of their 2nd sheet of paper
15. Finished! (whew!)