Lesson #2: Introduction to the collograph plate


How can we create a collograph plate of a neighborhood building?
Students will be able to:
select a building to depict in their work based on their sketches or imagination (or both)
draw the outline of the building/buildings
work from observation drawings and from photos taken on the neighborhood walk (taken by the teacher and printed out)
cut out the main shapes for their building and glue them to the base of their collograph plate
add architectural details to their collograph [windows, ledges, arches etc.]
Students will understand that artists:
Explore art materials and techniques
colored oaktag, 9x12 sheets, glue, scissors, hole-punchers
Romare Bearden's The Block;  Edward Hopper's Early Sunday Morning; a collographic plate and the print made from it; a photo from the neighborhood walk and a sketch made from it
Look at Romare Bearden's The Block and Edward Hopper's Early Sunday Morning.
  • Who is in each picture?
  • Are the buildings the same?
  • How are they different?
  • What kinds of details do you see?
  • Who lives in the buildings, and how can you tell?
Explain that there are artists who use their neighborhoods as the subject of their artwork, just as we will be doing in our next project. Show an example of a collagraphic plate and the print made from it. This is a collographic plate and this is the collographic print made from it.
  • What is the difference between this plate and this print?
  • What is similar about them?
  • How was the collographic plate made?
  • How do you think the print was made? ( explain to class briefly)
  • How is this printing process different from making a sketch or a drawing?
Display a sketch and a photo from the neighborhood walk. The teacher should use his/her finger to outline one of the buildings to show its edges. The teacher should demonstrate how to draw it on the oaktag and cut it out. 
  • What other areas of this building do I need to cut out? (draw and cut out the parts suggested by the students)
Explain that students could either draw the main shape of the building or could break the building up into smaller parts and do it that way.  Demonstrate how to glue smaller cut shapes on top of larger ones. Demonstrate how to apply dots of glue around the edges of the shapes to make sure they stay glued flat to the background. Explain that oaktag is heavier than regular paper so will pop up if it's not glued properly.
Hand out two sheets of 9x12 oaktag. Direct students to use one sheet of oaktag as a background. The other sheet can be used to cut out the large basic shape of your building. This can be done as one large shape or as several pieces put together to form the bulk of the building. After the basic shape has been cut out, start to cut shapes for windows, ledges, arches and other architectural details. (It's useful to provide different colors of oaktag for the addition of details as it will help the students to see contrast and layering more clearly.) After students have cut out all the shapes, they should glue them to the background making sure that all the edges are flat.
After cleaning up, ask students to place their collographic plates on their tables, and have everyone walk around and look at them.
  • Which building shows the most detail?
  • What details can you see?
Ask students to think about what to add to their buildings to make them more interesting.