This project was inspired in part by Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists as well as another teacher in my county English Avery. I wanted to kind of re-think the way I have been doing collagraphs with 3rd graders to make it easier to get successful prints. For the past few years, I have been doing a collagraph lesson based on the artwork of Jasper Johns. It is actually one of my most looked at blog posts! While it is a very good lesson, the same issue always pops up when printing. Basically, it is very difficult to get every student to create their artwork backwards on the printing plate because it will print backwards. Inevitably there are always upside-down and topsy-turvy prints that illicit disappointment from students.
So this year I figured we would switch it up and create more abstract prints in order to alleviate some of the confusion. I was inspired to base this project on Matisse because we could include so many concepts like geometric/organic shapes, abstract art, and positive/negative space. On the first day, we looked at artwork by Matisse and talked about these concepts. I even showed students a picture of me in front of giant Matisse works at the Vatican!
Kiddos used card stock and cardboard to create their printing plate. They drew and cut out an organic shape and used a hole puncher to create negative space.
The next week, we talked about complementary colors and created a collage to print on. Students chose their complementary colors for a background and used fancy scrap booking scissors to cut around squares that they glued down. They also glued down any pop-ups on their printing plate so they could be ready to print on the 3rd week.
The third week we printed.
First, students rolled out about a pinky-sized amount of ink onto the phone book with a brayer. Then they rolled the ink onto their plate.
They flipped it over onto the complementary colored collage and used a spoon to press down.
Last, they peeled off their collage very carefully to reveal a print.
I am so pleased with how this project went, I feel like the amount of successful prints was much higher and that students really understood the process and concepts. Way to go 3rd graders!