For this project you will create a design that incorporates an insect. The insect can be the focus of your design, part of the overall design, or hidden in the design waiting to be discovered. Be sure and choose an insect with an interesting shape and pattern. The color of the insect will not be important since you will print it in black on a colorful background.
This design should also include a lot of designs, patterns, or texture. By the time it is ready to print, most of the foam will be covered in some time of line work. Do not worry about trying to be realistic. This is a design and not intended to capture a realistic image.
Clean Up The ink will clean up with soap and water. Each time you use a brayer, trey and foam plate, they will need to be thoroughly washed with soap and water. If they are not cleaned properly, the next print will have major issues with dried ink transfer and blotchy printing. The ink will fill the indention you have created in the foam causes your lines to be lost.
Important Tip When you print, your image will be backward from the original design. Keep this in mind as you plan your composition. We will not use any words for these projects. For future use, words would need to be backward when impressing your matrix so that they can be read when printed.
Brainstorm and Research Begin by creating a list of possible bug choices. Remember you are looking for interesting shapes and patterns. You may also want to think about the setting for your insect. Is it in a tree, leaves, flying, etc. Also include patterns and designs in your search. Look for line art and design. This project will not have any shading. Everything will be created with line and solid shapes.
Visual Development Now that you have completed your research, it is time to work on your design. Start by creating 3 sketches that include a bug, nature, and line design. You don't need to be detailed at this point. Take a photo and turn your sketches in to Schoology.
Once you have completed your sketches, makes some decisions about what you want for your final design. You will create a rough draft that will be transferred to the foam sheet (See Photo 1). One of the great things about printmaking is that you can print a copy and then continue to work on your design. For your rough draft, draw out the main elements of your design and not finish the background or some of the interior details.
Use a tool or a blunted pencil to press down your lines. Your lines should be deep without tearing the foam. Keep edges sharp and clean. At this point your are keeping the design simple.
Next create a print of the unfinished design ( See Photo 2 below) and use a sharpie to add designs to the background (See Photo 3 below). It may take several prints to get it just right. Using your prayer and a print trey, roll out a thin layer of ink in the trey. It should make a clicking noise from the friction of thinning out the ink. Roll the ink over the plate. Place your practice paper over the top of the wet foam plate. Gently rub the back of the paper being careful not to move the paper creating a blurred image. Peel off the paper and allow it to dry. Make several prints that you can experiment on with Sharpie.
If the overall design is too simple or to complex, the design will not be a success. You may want to leave some breathing space just around the edge of the main images to help them stand out from the background. Think about varying line thickness. Use different types of line like curved, zig zag, and dashed. Finish the rough draft with all your corrections to transfer to the foam plate (See Photo 4 below)
Take a photo of your rough draft and one of your practice prints together and turn in to Schoology.
PHOTO 1 - 1st Rough Draft
PHOTO 2 - Rough Draft Print without background details.
PHOTO 3 - Rough Draft Print in process of adding background details with Sharpie Marker Design
PHOTO 4 - 2nd Rough Draft with more flowers, leaves, and background pattern added
Final Design Once you have something you are happy with, you can transfer the rest of the design to the foam by coloring the back of your final practice prints with an ebony pencil. Lay it on top of the foam and trace the rest of your design. Using a tool or blunted pencil, go in and press the rest of your design. Keep edges sharp (See Photo 5 below).
You will want to create a 2nd practice print. If there is anything that need touched up or fixed, it should be done at this point (See Photo 6 below).
PHOTO 5- Foam Plate with incised lines
PHOTO 6- Final Practice Print
Watercolor Background Paper For the finished piece, you will use watercolor paint to create a colorful wash (See Photo 5 below). We are going to use a technique called Wet on Wet. This is a technique that is a hallmark look for watercolor paint. Wet on Wet requires that you use a high quality paper, which tends to be very expensive. Because of the paper cost, you will only be given one piece of paper for the piece you will turn in for a grade. You may want to try the technique out on scrap paper first. The results will not be as good as the final paper, but it will still give you some experience with the concept.
Color Choice Before beginning, decide on the colors you will be using. This technique requires that you work quickly so all your decisions should be made prior to beginning. Limit colors to 3 or 4. The colors used in the example are green, yellow and blue. Make sure you test colors before painting on the final to make sure they make a pleasing color when they mix together.
Salt Option To create texture, salt can be sprinkled on to the wet paint. Allow the paint to dry completely. Brush off salt so that it leaves a texture on the painted surface.
Painting the Background Have all of your materials out and ready to go. The watercolor paint is a concentrate so you must add water to it. Never use full strength paint. Watercolor is made to be transparent and not opaque.
Wet the paint first by dripping water over the paint drops. Paint should be fairly watery.
Using a large, clean brush, cover the entire surface of your paper with a thin layer of waters. It should wet the paper but not be so heavy that there are puddles on the surface.
Working quickly, begin dropping colors on top of the surface of the paper. The paint will begin spreading around on the wet surface on its own. Continue to drop colors allowing them to spread together. You don't need to totally cover the background, but most of it should have some color. The paper can be tilted slightly to encourage color movement.
There is some room for manipulating where colors will go so that a certain color may fall under a particular area of your print. For example, if your bug is red, you could make sure there is some red in the general area where the bug is on the design. Overall, the colors create a flowing. abstract design.
If you choose to add salt, it will be done after the colors are added but before the paint is totally dry. Group the salt so that it is not evenly spread across the paper. You only need a light sprinkling. Place the paper in the drying rack so it can dry flat. Once the paint is dry, brush off the salt so that the surface is smooth.
PHOTO 7 - Watercolor Background
Final Print While your painting is drying, you can create a few prints on the color papers found in the scrap bin. This will give you a backup should your final piece have major issues.
We will be using black ink on the final piece. A small scoop of black will be placed at the top of the rolling trey. Take the brayer and begin rolling it up and down spreading the ink across the surface. This will create some friction softening the ink so that it spreads well. You want a nice thin layer and not a heavy application. As the paint thins, you will hear a crackling sound. Roll the ink over the the foam print getting a thin even coverage. You need to work quickly so the ink doesn't begin to dry. Once the plate is fully covered, position the final paper above the foam. Once the paper is laid on top, it can't be repositioned. You will want to get the paper centered as much as possible. Gently lay the paper on top of the foam being carefully not to let is shift back and forth. Once the print is on the foam, gently rub the back of the paper to press it down. Again, avoid allowing the paper to shift. If the paper moves, your print will be blurry. You can also use a clean brayer to roll the back of the paper. I find that I have better control with my fingers. Make sure you rub the entire surface especially the edges. Areas left untouched will not have a strong ink presence. Gently lift the print off the foam and place it in the drying rack to dry.
PHOTO 8- Final Print
Refinement We will be doing a 2nd print using a different type of matrix or block. Since there is not a lot of options for refinement once the print is complete, take time to consider how well your design worked for this medium. Did you have enough or too much line work? What did you do the well and what did you struggle with? Set a goal for the 2nd print to show improvement from the first.
Reflection Download the rubric and take a photo of your finished piece. Turn in your completed rubric and photo to Schoology to be graded.