I took two classes of grade 9’s through the process of linocut printmaking. If you don’t know what that is, visit this website and watch the flash animation on woodcut – they are basically the same thing.
The most difficult part of the process for the students was the cutting of the stencil. They were using the hard linoleum and lino cutting tools. I know the title is scary, but despite that I had only about three students need band-aids for their fingers. Students needed to use the proper tools and safety precautions while cutting. Students were worried about cutting the wrong areas out, and to minimize that, I had them colour the areas to be cut with a black sharpie.
We made portraits of famous people, inspired by the works of Warhol. Some students chose contemporary people like “Twilight’s,” Edward and Bella while some were content to stick with the clasics – like Shirley Temple. This project was successful because of the ‘hands on’ aspect. Many students who aren’t into the sit and draw approach were extremely focused on this project.
Printmaking is a very indirect process. You are always reversing images, thinking backwards and doing things to later see the results. The way to get past all of these challenges is to plan out the final result very carefully, be safe and be patient.