Saturday, September 23, 2017

Don't Let the Pigeon Make a Print

I closed out the 2016-2017 school year with an ode to Mo Willems and his fabulous "Pigeon" series of books.  A favorite in our school, just about every child knew both the character and the author. Because of their popularity, I didn't have to work too hard to motivate the kids to make these adorable pigeon prints.

First we read a few of the stories. If I don't have time to scan the book and then edit it onto a PowerPoint for my Smartboard, I'll use my visualizer to read the story.  I just like the idea of having the images as large as possible for the kids to see.

After the reading, I did a quick demonstration on how to draw the pigeon, by June, the kids didn't need a guided drawing for this, just a demo was sufficient. After they drew their picture on paper I did a follow-up demo that showed them how to trace over their drawing with a pencil using hard pressure onto a Styrofoam printing "plate" and then had them re-trace the indentations on the plate in ballpoint blue pen, creating thick lines. 

Day 2 consisted of printing.  Always a whirlwind, I have a love/hate relationship with printing day.  Even the most even-tempered classes get a little bonkers during the cleanup part of the activity. Between putting prints in the drying rack, putting the brayers in the sink, disposing of the inked up magazine pages and newspaper AND hand-washing....and you know their hands are a MESS after making 2-3 prints, it's a whirlwind of organized chaos (I use organized loosely here). I have forty-minute periods and I truly don't know how an art teacher can do it in less than that. 

On day 3 the students colored their prints,  I had them use white ink on black paper with construction paper crayons on top, a technique I've used before on a Dr Seuss inspired printing project  Because the prints were only 6x9"  and didn't take very long to color. I had them add a decorative frame.  

The process of printmaking is just as impressive as the end results and so when hanging these I included the plate, the not-so-good print, and the finished artwork.  It's important for everyone to see just how much work goes into making a finished print! (If only they knew how much work goes into it for us too!)

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