Lesson #7: Printing the second layer of color

Part of the unit: Creating a Portrait Print |


Why is registration important in the printing process?
Students will be able to:
Use registration to align their prints when printing the second layer of color.
Students will understand that:
Careful execution is an important part of the printing process.

Printing blocks, student first-layer prints, Speedball inks, newspaper, hard and soft brayers, trays, four-color sketches, newsprint

Note to Teachers:  Printing stations should be organized by color throughout the classroom.  It is possible that more than one period will be necessary for students to complete the second layer for each of their six prints. Some students may still be cutting while other students will be printing. 


Explain that students will be printing their second color directly over their first-layer prints. They will have to carefully "register" their print when doing this. 

  • What problems do we face when printing the second color over the first-layer print?
  • How can we solve them?
  • Which color ink will you be using next?

The techer should enlist a student volunteer to help demonstrate how to register and print the second color.  The teacher should help the student to:

  • Ink the block
  • Place the first-layer print face up
  • Align the block face down with the top two corners of the first-layer print
  • Place the block on to the print
  • Turn the block over
  • Roll a hard brayer over the print
  • Pull the print off the block
  • Use newsprint to blot the excess ink from the print

The teacher should ask the following questions:

  • What is meant by registration?
  • What will happen if the registration is off?
  • Why is it important to select the next darkest color?
  • Why should you put the second color on all six of your prints, even if their quality is uneven?

Different printing stations should be set up throughout the classroom.  Students will take turns adding their next darkest color to their first layer prints.  Newsprint should be used to blot excess ink from the second-layer prints.

Ask students to identify the best print from among the six.  Invite students to share their observations about what makes a good print and why they selected the one they did.  Chart responses.

  • Why is it necessary to keep working with all six prints?

Assign each table one of the following artists:  Rembrandt, Durer, Goya, Hokusai, Picasso, Hopper, Matisse. 

Write a report on the contributions of this artist to the field of printmaking.  Include:

  • a description of the technique the artist is known for
  • how his work was influenced by the time he lived in
  • three examples of his work (computer prints)
  • what impresses you about this artist.