Monday, March 30, 2015

Pop Art Printmaking, Part 2

Artists in 4th grade began their Pop Art inspired printmaking project several weeks ago, looking at examples of American Pop Art and creating their own printing plates inspired by current pop culture. It took us longer with all the snow days in between, but we were finally able to print our plates!

After creating their printing plates, students were ready to make their prints. We discussed how printmaking allows artists to make multiple copies of the same image, or repeat the same image. It is hard for us to imagine now that we are surrounded by newspapers, magazines and screens, but the invention of printmaking in the 1400's was the first process that allowed us to repeat the same image multiple times! 
We learned about the steps involved in the process of printmaking, as well as the necessary materials, before doing it ourselves. We split up the class so half the class printed on one day and the other half printed the following week.

Students selected colored paper and printing ink in complementary colors and set up their printing station with a bench hook to use for printing ink, a brayer to roll out the ink, and newspaper to keep the area clean.

First, we rolled out our printing ink with a brayer, listening for a sticky sound that tells us that it is a good amount in an even layer. We rolled the ink on top of the printing plate, making sure to get the corners! After moving the plate to the clean side of our printing station, we placed the paper on top and smoothed it over with our hands or a clean brayer. Then we pulled the print, lifting the paper to separate it from the plate. Ta da! We repeated this three times to make three prints.
The following class we learned about how print makers sign their prints. To sign a print, print makers use pencil and there are three components. In the left hand corner is the edition number as a fraction (math connection!). The edition is the total number of prints pulled at one time. So if you pulled 3 prints, your first one would be labeled 1/3, the second is 2/3 and the last one is 3/3. In the middle is the title if your print in quotes. In the right hand corner is your signature.
We also did a turn and talk and a gallery walk to share our Pop Art inspired prints. During the turn and talk, many students shared that the most challenging part of the printmaking process was making sure there was enough ink in an even layer on their printing plate before putting their paper on top. Some students found it challenging to press down hard enough on their Styrofoam plates with the stylus.
For many students, the thing they were most proud of was successfully pulling a clean print, and also having all of their lines and details come out. Here are some examples of our Pop Art inspired prints:
Elizabeth, 4th Grade
Jack, 4th Grade
Kailee, 4th Grade
Adrina, 4th Grade
Anita, 4th Grade
Collin, 4th Grade
Kelsey, 4th Grade
Bonsu, 4th Grade

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