Have you ever noticed how when you walk inside your home on to a clean floor, your dirty shoes leave marks or footprints? You just made a print with your shoe!
Printmaking is an artistic technique. It is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper, from objects such as wooden blocks or metal plates that have an image carved into them.
A woodcut is a common way to create a print. First, the artist creates a drawing on a wooden board, remembering that the image will be reversed when it is printed. All of the portions of the drawing that the artist wants to be white in the final image are cut away from the wood with a knife or chisel. Ink is then applied to the raised portion of the finished wood block, a moistened sheet of paper is laid on top, and the paper is rubbed with the ball of the artist's hand. This can also be done with a machine called a printing press!
The design was by a Japanese artist named Hokusai, and cutters and printers made it a colored wood cut! How did they do all that amazing color? Multiple blocks were be printed together, one for each color. Can you count the colors you see and guess how many they had to use? For the sky above Mount Fuji, the colors of gray were all printed into the same block.
The artist then covers the plate with ink. The artist is sure the ink is in all the crevasse of the plate and clears the ink away from the raised parts. The plate is then printed onto the paper under a high pressure printing. In this print, the portions the artist left uncut are the white parts of the print!
Rembrandt, a 17th century Dutch artist, often used this technique. Here you can see a self portrait he created using etching!
Why do you think he has a lion? This is quite the unusual pet! according to the legend, Saint Jerome gained the trust and friendship of a lion after removing a thorn from his paw!
But wait, there's more!
Check out this video to learn more about printmaking techniques!
Can you make a print?
- Paint or ink.
- Sponges and an old cookie tray or foam plastic tray. (It's a good idea to put the paint on a sponge so that when an object is dipped into the paint, the sponge will only let off a little bit of paint … because a little is all you need.)
- Paintbrushes, water and water containers.
- A covered work area.
- Fruits and veggies of all kinds. Some good ones are:
If you have a white potato, Try cutting it in half and using a spoon to carve out a design on the flat side, then cover the raised parts with paint and print!
You can also do this activities with other objects such as flowers, leaves, LEGO's, or puzzle pieces. What else can you find that will leave a print?