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From scribble to printed abstraction.

In learning to design, sometimes students need to "loosen up" by scribbling. Even the less confident stUdents feel comfortable doing this. I give each student a sheet of white paper while giving the following instructions:

1. Let your pencil scribble over the entire sheet from edge to edge. Try making sweeping motions. (You may want to play music so that students will be creating certain rhythmic motions in response to it.)

2. Do not lift the pencil from the paper until the white space is filled with interesting shapes.

The students enjoy this exercise and they create an "abstraction." We usually complete more than one of these scribble abstractions because the students are very enthusiastic. Before going on to the next phase of the design lesson, make at least two copies of the scribble abstractions.

I introduce the concept of positive and negative areas in design by showing examples of artwork that has obvious positive and negative areas. Linoleum prints are also good examples of the use of positive and negative shapes. Once the students understand the design concept, I give them the following instructions:

1. Take one of the scribble abstraction copies and fill it in with alternating black and white areas. (Use marker, India ink, or tempera paint, depending on the age of the student.)

2. Make sure they work from one corner across the sheet and alternate black and white. Students may lightly mark with pencil which spaces should be colored in.

Transferring the Print

At this point the students take their black and white designs and transfer them to a linoleum block. (Have them blacken the back of the black and white photocopy with pencil graphite, turn it over on the linoleum block with the graphite side down and then trace it.) This transfers the design like carbon paper would, without all the mess. Once the design is transferred to the linoleum block, the students use a gouge to cut away the areas that will remain white, and leave the areas that will print sticking up. They can refer to the black and white design while cutting to ensure that they are cutting away the right portions.

When the linoleum block is completely cut, students make a test print by rolling the block printing ink on a plexiglass or glass plate with a brayer (roller) and then apply paper to the inked linoleum's surface. Next, they rub the paper with a wooden spoon and pull it from the linoleum block. Voila! A nice print from a scribble abstraction.

Creating Motifs

To enhance our print designs even further I explain the use of motifs. Using shapes repeatedly in a design is called a motif. I ask students how we can use the linoleum design to create a motif? Answers include: printing the linoleum block end to end to create a border, printing the design in a four square, alternating the linoleum, switching colors, and even printing double image designs. They can experiment with many different motifs using the same linoleum design.

NATIONAL STANDARD

Students select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

RELATED ARTICLE: Summary of Steps for Printmaking:

1. Photocopy the design.

2. Transfer the design to a linoleum block.

3. Remove areas you do not want to print.

4. Squeeze ink onto a plexiglass plate.

5. Roll ink onto the linoleum block with a brayer.

6. Place the paper on the linoleum block and rub with a wooden spoon.

7. Pull the print.

RELATED ARTICLE: Summary of Steps for Printmaking:

1. Photocopy the design.

2. Transfer the design to a linoleum block.

3. Remove areas you do not want to print.

4. Squeeze ink onto a plexiglass plate.

5. Roll ink onto the linoleum block with a brayer.

6. Place the paper on the linoleum block and rub with a wooden spoon.

7. Pull the print.

RELATED ARTICLE: Project Extension

Mirror-Image Paintings

Use the original scribble drawing to create a mirror-image painting. They are a wonderful contrast to the black and white designs and students learn about color schemes and the impact that color has on us.

1. Fold an 11 x 18" (28 x 46 cm) piece of white paper in half.

2. Put the scribble drawing under one half of the paper and trace the design.

3. Repeat step 2 for the other half of the paper.

4. Paint one half of the image with your favorite color scheme. (Or choose a monochromatic, analogous, or complementary color scheme.)

5. Switch color schemes for the other half of the mirror image.

Karen Skophammer is an art instructor for Manson Northwest Webster Schools in Barnum, Iowa.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:middle school students' print designs
Author:Skophammer, Karen
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 1997
Words:780
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