Printmaking is another art process in which some students have had very little experience. It is a fun process that uses different tools, techniques, and materials. The essentials of a print are a design, plate, tools, ink, and paper. The 6th grade students used a thin sheet of styrofoam for their printing plate. The plate is the surface on which the student will indent or press their design. The student will first draw their design on paper and then transfer it to the plate. As you can see, the design is transferred in reverse or opposite of the original draw design. The printing process will reverse your design, so you must place the design in reverse on the plate, so it will print correctly. The styrofoam is soft enough that a simple pencil or pen is used to indent the design. The next step is to ink the plate by rolling an inked brayer over the plate. This is one of those times I reference the Goldilocks story of getting just the right amount of ink on the brayer. Too much will fill in the indentions and too little will not show the design. Once the plate is inked, a piece of paper is placed on top. The student will use one hand to hold the paper on the plate, while the other hand presses the ink onto the paper. The final step is to pull the paper off the plate. The next few images show some of the steps I just mentioned, along with Emily holding up one of her prints.
Emily is showing you her print she just printed. If you notice, Emily has two colors on her print. She first printed with the pink ink. Emily then washed and dried her plate before adding more indented designs to the plate. She followed up with using blue ink and pressing it onto the pink print. This is known as reduction printmaking. By the way, at the bottom of this picture, you will see some of the printmaker’s tools…the tubes of ink, and the brayers which roll the ink onto the plate.