SchoolArts Magazine

JAN 2014

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Middle School Studio Lesson Working the Plate Ellen Mahoney T he process of printmaking is a fantastic way for students to see how an artwork can evolve and be enhanced by its composition. The printing of a series provides students with experience that proves a composition can be developed well beyond the initial idea. printmaking I set up one table as the designated printing table, covered it with brown paper, and marked out an inking area and a printing station. To print, each student rolled a finished plate with black block printing ink mixed with extender. The inked plate was carefully placed on registration marks on the brown paper. Key marks showed stupreparation dents where to place the white printing To begin the design process for a relief paper so that the print would be cenprint, I asked my students to select a tered on the page. A printing baren was favorite subject as the main subject used to rub the back of of their composition. Students chose to focus The printing of a series the paper (hands also work). After a first their works on a variprovides students ety of sports, animals, with experience that print was made from the fully inked plate, hobbies, and places. proves a composition each student quickly To closely study can be developed well made a ghost print by the details of their selected subject, stubeyond the initial idea. placing another piece of paper over the plate. dents referenced phoThere is usually enough ink left on the tographs and online images to do an plate after one printing to make a ghost observation drawing in pencil. Next, print. I asked them to list elements that related to their subjects. They each Making revisions selected one element to use as the When all the first prints were finrepeating design for the background of ished, we discussed artist proofs and the image. how artists often evaluate their iniAfter the composition was develtial prints to see how the image can oped on paper, students transferred be further developed. We compared their designs to a synthetic rubber the line quality in different student's printing plate using graphite paper. prints as well as how textures could Rubber plates carve smoothly, so it be carved into the rubber plate. was easy for students to get a variety Students then reworked their plates of line qualities and textures. I made with additional carving to improve previously used rubber plates availthe line quality of the composition able so students could experiment before inking and pulling the third and practice with various carving tips print. After the third print was pulled, before beginning their final plates. 32 January 2014 SchoolArts students were intrigued by how the additions to the plate had greatly altered and improved the images. chine-collé The fourth print introduces the element of color to the black-and-white image with the technique of chinecollé. With this method, you place pieces of colored paper, cut or torn to a desired shape, into position on your plate. Glue is placed on the back of the paper shapes, then you re-ink the plate and print the image. The pieces of paper are glued to the printing paper at the same time the new print is made. To get an exact copy of the image on the plate, students made a rubbing of it using tracing paper and a pencil.

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