Fun Beginner Linocut Lesson
My artistic background is in printmaking so getting to share my favorite medium with my students so fun. I've done several different lessons with students to introduce linocut printmaking and over the years with varying levels of success. This is my favorite beginning printmaking lesson. I've shaped this lesson so that students can get really great results no matter their skill/experience level. This linocut print project is in part inspired by the beautiful azulejos that cover buildings in Portugal. A good friend of my husband lives in Lisbon and we got to visit his family several years ago and I was so surprised by the tile covered buildings and the intricate patterns of the tiles- known as azulejos- this term comes from an Arabic word meaning "polished stone." The Moors brought the word to the Iberian Peninsula along with the tradition of tile work. This Moorish influence is evident in many of the tile pattern designs. I really wanted to replicate the look of these tiles in a printmaking project with my Drawing and Painting 1 classes and to use the project to explore pattern in global art traditions.
To start the lesson students create a stamp of their name using this easy to cut linoleum. This mini project teaches them to carve their images backwards to print correctly and how to plan, sketch, transfer, carve and print a design. During this time in class we also discuss printmaking as a medium and I share with them examples of intaglio, lithography, woodcuts and silkscreen print and photos of the processes.
We discuss pattern design, different forms of symmetry and several global art traditions that include repeating pattern. I like to set out a stack of reference books of different kinds of patterns for students to be inspired by as well as shape stencils and rulers. I give students a handout that guides their design process and requires them to draw at least 3 possible designs before deciding on one to carve. The easy to cut linoleum can be carved on both sides so if students finish early they can do an extra design and it is nice for them to already have a drawing ready to transfer and carve. The template on the handout matches the size of the linoleum so students just trace their design with tracing paper and transfer it to their linoleum and carve out their design.
Once students have their design carved they can experiment printing their design on different sizes and colors of paper with different inking techniques. The variation that students can create is so inspiring!
I'm a high school/middle school art teacher with 16 years of experience. I'm here to help art teachers free up more time and space in their lives through lesson ideas and ready to go content rich, engaging curriculum.