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Are you excited to try printmaking with your students but aren’t quite sure where to start? Well, let me recommend reduction prints! A reduction print is made when an artist creates a multi-colored, layered print using a single print block. The block could be foam, linoleum or even wood. The artist repeats the process of carving and printing over and over until the final look is achieved. Using the reduction process takes the final piece to a whole new level with depth, pattern and color.
The reduction printmaking process can be easily adapted for students in upper elementary, middle and high school. There are endless possibilities for lesson plan themes and subjects. Some of my favorites are non-object designs, portraits, animals, landscapes, and flowers.
First, students draw a design on a piece of linoleum or foam.
Next, students carve or engrave a limited part of the design, such as the outline and a few details.
Then, students print the design, using the lightest color of printing ink.
Be sure to remind students to print extra prints because once they move onto the next step and carve out or engrave more details, the design changes. In other words, there’s no turning back! Students can print multiple prints on a page like the quilt print above or work with a single image.
When students are finished printing the first color, they carefully wash and dry their pieces of linoleum or foam.
Students carve or engrave more details on their design. Once their first prints have dried, students will print using a second color. Then, students will carefully wash and dry their pieces of linoleum or foam. The process can be repeated multiple times.
I hope you try this rewarding and impressive project in your classroom!
What other tips do you have for teaching reduction printmaking?
What questions do you have?
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