Art Lesson Plan: Relief Printmaking Using Photoshop

Relief Printmaking Using Photoshop

Submitted By: Rebecca A. Shampine, Indian River High School, Philadelphia, New York

Grade Level: High School Studio Art
UNIT: Printmaking
Lesson: Relief Self-Portrait Prints
Prints using Photoshop



Students were introduced to printmaking through the work of Albrecht Durer, Kathe Kollwitz, and Andy Warhol. Discussions about the methods and materials used and results achieved were accomplished. Warhol's Marilyn silk screen prints were discussed and related to our linoleum block project. Although Warhol used silk screen printing, the outcome looks very similar to the self-portrait prints my students created. We discussed how the methods were very different, but the artwork had great similarities.


This lesson is designed for my Studio Art Class, grades 9 - 12.

[NOTE: You can buy Photoshop at the Adobe Education Store]

Our school district is huge on using technology as much as possible. Therefore, I took a digital photograph of each student, opened it in Adobe PhotoShop and we changed the image to a black and white, high contrast print. We printed this out in the size of our linoleum block and then transferred the image onto the block. This can be done in various ways.

photoshop print


The students then cut out all the areas they wanted to appear white and left the rest raised. The students can print a clear block with no carving for a background color, use colored paper, or continue to use white paper. If a clear block is printed first for a background color, they must allow it to dry and then register the print properly.


My students had to have one excellent black and white print and three excellent prints of their color choice. They were allowed to mix ink to get custom colors or use the colors in the tube.


Once the prints were done and drying, I did a lesson on cutting mats. Each student had to cut a 4 window mat for their prints. Once they were done, the projects went on display in our classroom. The two projects you see here were selected for submission, along with the lesson, to School Arts magazine..



Photoshop (You can buy Photoshop at the Adobe Education Store]
Block Printing Inks.
Wooden spoons. (To burnish the back of the paper)
Printmaking Paper.
Mat board.
Drawing Pencils. (6B)



photoshop print


Submitted by: Kevan Nitzberg, Anoka High School
Unit: Printmaking - Relief Print
Lesson: Photoshop image - Exploration in Printmaking
Grade: Middle School and up (Kevan is High School)


Photoshop part of the assignment involves using the Threshold tool to change a captured image (we primarily used online museum images), into a modifiable black and white image. Once it was determined that the image created in this fashion was suitable to make a block  print out of, the students printed the image off to the size of the block being carved (wood or  linoleum). Once the print of the image came out of the copier, the image was traced onto a sheet of Tracing Paper..  All of the areas that were to be inked and not carved, were filled in using a black, soft lead (6B) pencil. The tracing paper was then flipped over and place on the block. The students then rubbed the soft leaded image onto the block that was to be  carved.


Once the block was carved, several prints were to be created, experimenting with different colored inks and colored and textured papers. Students made collage printing surfaces using different strips of cut or torn (or both), colored Construction Paper. that were pre-assembled before being inked. Many of the students enjoyed the spontaneity of tearing and cutting the paper as well as the flexibility that it afforded in the printing process. Tissue paper. could also be used for the collage surface.


Multiple window mats were then cut for the  5 or 6 best prints - students typically created 8 - 10 prints to allow for a wide range of experimentation as well as the opportunity to build their skill at achieving a successful print.  Acetate was used to protect the work in the mat windows. Students were to also word process information about the original piece that they had worked form, including name of the artwork name of the artist, date of the work, and the original medium of the work. My students really enjoyed this assignment as it gave them a lot of flexibility while not relying on having to have great drawing skills to arrive at a successful image that they were interested in working on. It also made them more cognizant of existing artwork and artists as well as the creative process. Copyright issues were discussed and images were altered significantly. See examples.


photoshop print      photoshop print

See Linda Erling-Baker's student work for more example of the Manipulated Print.



H.C. Porter
"Environmental Portraits" - Silkscreen prints. High contrast photographs - printed in black and hand painted with Acrylic Paint.. Jackson, Mississippi artist.


H. C. ( a she) uses high contrast photographs for silkscreen printing. She goes into them with Acrylic Paint.. VERY interesting and colorful. If students printed in oil base black ink - or experimented printing with black acrylic - they could go in and paint one of their prints (as an option). I know that water base inks would smear if student tried to paint them. Perhaps they could do a rough painting in acrylics on quality white paper - then print the key block on top (if using water base inks)



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