Left to right: Miki Sagawa, grade six;
Erica Lee, grade six; Nicole Gasmen,
grade six; Maya Fegan, grade six.
use a 24 x 36" ( 61 x 91 cm) paper or
larger. We have now made our stencil.
The second phase includes creating
imagery on and around the stencil.
Foremost, I like to have students
draw on Styrofoam printing
they can be
drawn on with
and easily used for printing. I also
encourage students to use found
objects, sponges, hands, shoes, card-
board, or anything else with a distinctive texture.
The objects are covered with
water-based printing ink using a
brayer, then hand-printed onto the
black paper. Here, the students need
to fill the entire negative space with
printed images, words, or textures.
two or three
ink needs to
images can be overlapped. Once the
ink is fully dried, the stencil can be
In printmaking, images can
be repeated, overlapped,
inked in various colors, cut up,
reassembled, and manipulated.
Removal of the Stencil
The next step is to take off the
stencil. It will reveal an unblemished shape free of any ink or paint.
From here, since the paper is black,
I encourage students to draw with
white charcoal pencils. They can
use shading techniques like crosshatching and smudging to create
value changes or simply add a contour drawing. Words, lyrics, or symbols can also add depth.
My students enjoy the printmaking process. They all gain valuable
experience in creating work that
is both experimental and formal. I
teach this lesson to my eighth graders and they love it. I hope you will,
Jeff Tam is an art teacher at St. Andrew’s
Priory School in Honolulu, Hawaii. jtam@