Multicolor Collagraph Prints
Submitted by: Woody Duncan, Retired from Rosedale Middle School
UNIT: Printmaking - Collagraph
Grade Level: Middle School (adaptable to other grades)
NOTE: This lesson is designed to be the culminating lesson in a sequence of lessons dealing with the figure and using elegant shapes in a composition.
This process will expose students to a vivid, graphic means of expression with a strong chance of satisfying success using limited resources.
Each student will produce several mono prints (one of a kind) from a collagraph (cardboard) printing plate of their own design. They may also print an edition of prints with the same color.
"Kansas City Jazz" by Ali Sultani
By Cameo, Rosedale Middle School
Scraps of heavy Mat board (sizes may vary), oaktag or other light Poster Board, Scissors, Utility Knives (cheap retractable knives are best), Drawing Pencils, ball-point pen, Saral Transfer Paper, White Glue, glass inking plates (one per color), soft rubber Brayers (one per color), Masking Tape, Stapler, old newspapers, cheap white acrylic house paint, 2 ½ inch (63 mm) Flat Brushes, white Drawing Paper for printing, folders for student prints, water-based Block Printing Inks (several colors, your biggest expense), Speedball Press (you could print without it), and a Drying Rack (a must).
Collagraphs and Mixed-Media Printmaking - In this book, the authors describe a wide range of collagraph techniques, providing the user with practical help on the choice of materials and printing methods to achieve the best results.
Collagraph Printmaking - Donald Stoltenberg covers the art of collagraph printmaking.
Collage Sourcebook: Exploring the Art and Technique of Collage - Tips for getting started and using a variety of techniques, such as photo transfer, gold leaf, encaustic, assemblage, photo montage, computer collage, fabric collage, cast-paper-pulp collage, tissue-paper collage, decoupage, painting and printing on paper, working with water-soluble oil pastels, frottage, texturing or altering paper, and altering books
The Printmaking Bible: The Complete Guide to Materials and Techniques - At over 400 pages and packed with 1 000 full-color photos and illustrations The Printmaking Bible is the definitive resource to the ins-and-outs of every variety of serious printmaking technique practiced today.
Vocabulary List and Printmaking Concepts
Aesthetic Question: What is an original print?
STEPS IN STUDIO PRODUCTION
Begin with good drawings of the chosen subjects (I choose a different theme each year)
Stress: Elegant shapes, good composition, and details should be simplified (Draw fairly large and encourage overlapping
Size and format of compositions can vary to suit the needs of the drawing
OPTION / you may want to limit the size and shape because you don't wish to be cutting lots of different size mats for final exhibitions of students prints
Transfer drawings to oaktag using Saral Transfer Paper (printed image will be reversed when printed). Often the reversed image in the final product does not matter, if it does as with the word "NIKE" on a sweater, then show students various ways to reverse it.
OPTIONS / do a tracing at the window on the back of drawing / put Saral Transfer Paper face up under drawing while tracing lines / flip shapes over after cutting them out.
Cut figures out and then cut each figure into many separate shapes
EXAMPLE / separate shapes for hand, fore arm, upper arm, shirt, collar, neck, etc.
Glue the separate shapes onto the heavy mat board (printing plate)
Shapes can overlap (creates a unique edge) but not fitted back together, it is the spaces (or edges) that show in the print (the shapes as defined by their edges)
Separations between each individual shape is the essence of this process, if students fail to cut shapes apart they can go back and create separations using a sharp knife to make two close cuts and peel out to remove the lines needed to create an image.
NOTE: Having an earlier (simplified) lesson on cutting and arranging shapes to create a composition really helps in understanding what it takes to make this process work to create an image
An example of an earlier cut paper composition (White on Black) is below. It was done by Ali Sultani before we made our collagraph printing plates.
After everything is glued down, you might suggest adding more texture, as with lace
paper doilies, or thin string, or rough cuts and slashes made with a knife.
Before printing apply a thin coat of cheap white acrylic house paint to both sides of the
printing plate / front so ink will release better / back to reduce warping.
Don't forget you may have painted over student names (if they put them on there). Put names on back with permanent marker.
STEPS IN INKING THE PRINTING PLATE
I set up one long table as an inking station, another area of the studio for the printing (best with a press) and the third stop is to leave the newly pulled print on the drying rack before returning to the inking station. It's best to cover the inking area with newspapers to make clean up easier. We put at least three inking plates out (one for each color) with a separate brayer for each color.
THIS IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF MULTICOLOR PRINTING -YOU PRINT ALL THE COLORS AT THE SAME TIME
I put the lightest color say (yellow) to the left and then perhaps (magenta) and then the darkest perhaps (violet) last. Instruct the students to work from the lightest to the darkest.
Inking the plate with the lighter color first seems to limit pollution of the other colors.
Caution students not to ink the plate fully, (leave white areas for contrast) do not allow new colors to cover others too much as you put each new layer of color on the printing plate. It is the play of one color against another that is the beauty of the final print.
PULLING A PRINT, IT'S MAGIC
I always have sheets of paper (soft manila) under the felt blanket on the printing press, it keeps everything cleaner, we change the paper between classes (sooner if necessary).
I keep white drawing paper in small stacks near the press (various sizes if necessary) so students can get to them easily.
Stress clean straight borders around each print, working in pairs usually helps, one partner keeping clean hands to handle the paper.
Often if a bit too much ink was used you can get a great (even better) print by running the plate through (without re-inking) using a second sheet of paper.
We make simple folders for each students dry prints, by just folding a large sheet of manila in half. If you are in a very humid area or prints don't dry enough even after a second day try putting a sheet of wax paper between each print.
EXHIBITING THE PRINTS
Color prints of this quality demand good white mats and if the edges of the image are neat and clean they are best matted so that the edge of the print shows with the student artist's name in pencil in the lower right margin.
RUBRIC: (from rubric by Marianne Galyk)
CHOOSE GOOD EXEMPLARS WHICH WILL MOTIVATE QUALITY PRINTMAKING
Artist List for Printmaking Exemplars
Images relating to theme (using Internet, books and magazines)
Theme for 1997-98 "Winter Olympics"
Theme for 1998-99 "Kansas City Jazz"
Theme for 1999-2000 "Native-American Dancers"
USEFUL PRINTMAKING REFERENCES
Printmaking Techniques by Julia Ayers / Watson-Guptill, New York 1993
Monotype: Mediums and Methods for Painterly Printmaking by Julia Ayers / Watson-Guptill, New York 1991
The Complete Printmaker by John Ross, Clare Romano, Tim Ross / MacMillian, New York Rev Ed 1990
Innovative Printmaking by Thelma Newman / Crown, New York 1977
Twentieth Century Graphics by Jean Adhemar / Praeger, New York 1971
Printmaking: History and Process by Donald Saff, Deli Scailotto / Holt, Rienhart and Winston, New York 1978
Color Woodblock Printmaking: The Traditional Method of Ukiyo-E by Margaret Miller Kanada / Shufunotomo, Tokyo 1989
New Media In Printmaking by John Bickford / Watson-Guptill, New York 1976