Printmaking in Art Class

Block Printing in Art Class

What is “space” in artwork? How does space affect color and balance? Art 1 students at The Lotus School have been experimenting with how to divide space in a composition. Linocut printing shows a clear distinction between negative and positive space. Students carved reliefs in linoleum blocks that they then used to block print their images. Some students played with multiple plates in a single print; others tested out their color theory by mixing ink colors and trying different combinations of ink color and paper color. By changing one color or reversing values, the feeling of the piece completely changes.

In class, we looked at the work of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, a Japanese woodcut print master who lived and worked in the late 1800’s. His prints layer plate after plate of colors that line up perfectly to create mind-bending pictures that look more like paintings than prints. The students were impressed with the amount of detail achieved in the traditional image-making.

At the end of each school year, everyone is invited to participate in a print exchange. Students and teachers alike make prints for everyone involved in the exchange, giving each participant a print of theirs and receiving one from everyone else. The variety of prints make for a nicely unique collection, as each artist’s style comes out in their work. Each collection leaves behind a collected artifact of that school year’s artwork.