Lesson #5: Printing!


Students will be able to:
'ink' a finished collographic plate and print from it
work in pairs with one being the 'clean hands' for every print and then reversing roles.
collographic plates made by students, brayers, printing inks, 9x12 white drawing paper, metal pans, newspaper to cover desk with, small pieces of white paper, pencils
Show an image of an artist working in a printmaking shop (easily found by doing an internet search).
  • What do you think this artist is doing?
He is called a printmaker and that is his profession. He works in a studio just like a doctor or lawyer works in an office, a teacher works in a classroom, or a bus driver works in a bus. He uses a big press to print his plates. We're going to be printing our plates using a different method today, since we don't have a press like this here. There are many artists who have made collographic prints just like we will, only with a press. Look at these images of collographs (Show collograph work by one or two of the following artists: Romare Bearden, Jim Dine, Nick Cave.)
  • In what ways are these works similar to ours?
  • In what ways are they different?
Today we will be making prints using special printing inks, just like these artists did.
Demonstrate how to make a collographic print using printing inks and brayers and your collograph plate (that has been sealed with gesso or acrylic medium). The classroom should be set up as follows: Tables should be covered and newspaper should be spread under the area where plate is to be inked. Inking trays and brayers should be set up to accommodate pairs of students working together. I'm going to demonstrate how to use this tool and this tube of ink to make a print from my collographic plate.
  • What do you think this tool is used for?
This is called a brayer. Watch as I squeeze some ink into this metal tray. Notice how I roll the brayer in the ink to create an even layer in the inking tray. Now I take the brayer and ink the collographic plate. Now I need an assistant with clean hands to position the paper on top of the inked plate. (Ask for a volunteer to assist.) Now watch as we use our hands to rub together. It's important to rub evenly and to feel for the edges of the shapes and the plate. Now my 'clean hands' assistant will peel the paper back starting from a top corner and peeling back diagonally. Show the class the collographic print. You must be careful not to touch the surface now.
  • Why do you think that is? (it's still wet)
You will be working in pairs just like I did. After a print is made, the assistant will carefully place it here to dry. (Designate a safe place like a drying rack.)
Students will pair up into their printmaking teams and proceed with the printing process, as laid out in the demonstration. Remind them as they go along that one person must always have clean hands. (This takes a bit of monitoring, as the inker must then wash hands to switch places.) Students will complete one print each and then pin them up to dry.
Hang prints on a wall for students to observe. Lead a discussion by asking questions such as:
  • What kinds of structures can we see in these prints?
  • Select one print and explain who you think would live in this building?
  • Which works have details that make the print very interesting to look at? Where are they?
  • What are the similarities and differences between rubbings and the prints?
  • What was the most difficult part of making this print?
  • How did you work together to solve that problem?