Lesson Plan on Printmaking Techniques

The Downtrodden by Kathe Kollowitz
The Downtrodden by Kathe Kollowitz
Night Snow by Utagawa Hiroshige
Night Snow by Utagawa Hiroshige

Level: Middle School

Duration: Six 45-minute class periods

Historical Overview: Kathe Kollowitz and German Expressionism, and the history of Japanese wood block printing

Goals and Objectives: To introduce printmaking techniques.

Vocabulary: positive and negative space, relief printmaking, brayer, press, barren, inks, blankets

Materials: paper, pencils, tracing paper, tape, glass with taped edges, rollers/ brayers, press, barren, inks, door knobs, Japanese rice paper and sampling of other papers, sapling of wood


Day 1

  1. Anticipatory Set: Show posters and books of art by artist Kathe Kollowitz.
  2. Slide lecture on history of relief printmaking.
  3. Class discussion on artists shown.
  4. Review vocabulary.
  5. Demonstrate image reversal and planning for use of negative space.
  6. Provide a sampling of wood and linoleum.

Day 2

  1. Students create preliminary sketch studies and transfer drawings onto linoleum.
  2. Demonstrate cutting tools and techniques (e.g., using hot plate to make cutting easier).
  3. Demo on how to sharpen knives and different types of cuts.
  4. Students use tools to cut images.

Day 3

  1. Review variety of methods for inking plate.
  2. Demo on basic image transfer printmaking techniques.
  3. Demonstrate studio cleanup rules and techniques.
  4. Student complete project one.

Day 4

  1. Demo on reduction cut printmaking techniques using linoleum.
  2. Review inks and color mixing with palette knives and paint scrapers.
  3. Review different methods of registration and keeping aligned edges secured.

Day 5

  1. Demonstrate hand painting plate with oil paint and linseed oil applied with brushes.
  2. Demonstrate color separation with multiple plates.
  3. Demo on how to use press.

Day 6

  1. Students complete projects and critique prints.

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