Lesson #10: Cutting the Fourth Layer

Part of the unit: Creating a Portrait Print |


Why is the last layer so important?
Students will be able to:
Carve the fourth layer of their reduction print.
Students will understand that:
The last layer of a reduction print can be used to define and emphasize.

Printing blocks, four-color sketches, Speedball cutters


Display a student print showing three layers of color and its four-color sketch.  Ask for suggestions regarding what should be cut out for the fourth and final layer, and which color could be used and why. 

  • Why is the last color and the lines and shapes it makes so important?

Explain that this is their last chance to make changes in their plan.  The last color and layer can be used to define and emphasize because it is the darkest color.  Students have the chance to make last minute changes now that they understand the process of making a reduction print. 


Ask for a volunteer to show their work and explain any changes they now want to make. 

Students will use the cutters to carve out the last layer of their reduction print.  If they want to confine this color to only the last layer, they must be sure to carve down all other layers so the ink will not attach itself to them.

You have now experienced one process in printmaking. 

  • What are some consumer products that use printmkaing techniques? (T-shirts, posters, stamps, money...)
  • When you did your report on a famous printmaker, what other techniques did you learn about?

Write a paragraph explaining what is meant by a "limited edition" of prints.