Media, materials and processes: printmaking

Basic printmaking techniques can help learners to gain insight into some of the ways that images function and are reproduced.

Learning Intentions

  • We are learning that making a print involves transferring an image from one surface to another.
  • We are learning that the printing process can result in repeated images.
  • We are learning that prints can be made on different surfaces.
  • We are learning to identify different printmaking processes.

Learning Activities

Give the pupils an opportunity to learn about printmaking by:

  • selecting and adapting everyday materials, e.g. corrugated card, sandpaper and textured wallpaper, to make block prints;
  • observing and realising that a block print is a mirror image of the block used to make it;
  • making an incised block print by engraving into a potato or other vegetable, clay or polystyrene;
  • exploring block printing techniques, for example:
    • overlaying prints to create different colours and textures;
    • texturing the surface of the block; or
    • cutting away parts of the block to emphasise certain features;
  • making a relief block, for example:
    • gluing string, textured paper or small objects to card to create a relief surface to take a print from (this type of collaged block creates a print called a collagraph);
    • taking a rubbing from a relief block;
  • experimenting with monoprinting techniques, for example:
    • making a two-colour transfer monoprint by using a block made of two separate colours;
    • making a masked monoprint:
      1. Ink a smooth surface.
      2. Place on top an image made from torn paper.
      3. Place a clean sheet of paper on top.
      4. Press firmly and peel off to reveal a print.
      5. Examine the effects produced by the torn paper edge.

Have the pupils create repeated images by:

  • planning and making repeat patterns in a regular arrangement; and
  • arranging prints to make patterns on papers/fabrics.

Provide different surfaces for the pupils to print and discover how to:

  • create different effects by printing on different surfaces, for example:
    • papers;
    • smooth and rough fabrics;
    • wood;
    • card;
    • leather-hard clay; and
    • three-dimensional constructions; and/or
    • use print to enrich work produced in other media.

Discuss the differences between prints made using various techniques, such as block prints or monoprints.