Wow!! I have been blown away by this lesson. Last summer I went to the exhibit Spring into Summer with Andy Warhol and Friends! at the Bruce Museum in Connecticut with my mom. When I saw Andy Warhol’s series of Endangered Animal Prints, I knew I wanted to try something similar with my fourth graders this year.
After working abstractly for quite a while, I thought this lesson would be a good way to balance the curriculum because students are challenged to work observationally and experiment with various color combinations and layering.
As I was making a PowerPoint of some examples of Warhol’s prints, I came across this lesson by Mr. Stoller at Thomas Elementary. I used some of his images when presenting this lesson to my students, but gave them more color options and used Pacon Fadeless Paper to print on. I also set out pieces of painted paper for students to use if they wanted a more textured effect. (The prints measure 6″x6.”)
In my intro, I described Warhol’s commission (as described in the above link), defined endangered species, and showed students examples of prints from his series.
I printed out a variety of images of endangered animals ahead of time and students looked through my selection, or asked me to look at the WWF Species Directory and print out a picture of an another animal on the list. They were surprised and curious at the different levels of conservation status–from near threatened and vulnerable to endangered and critically endangered.
After drawing their animal with pencil, students taped their drawing to a square piece of Styrofoam and traced the outline of their animal with a pencil. Then, they lifted up their paper and carved their lines using a carving tool.
Next, students were ready to print layer one. I reviewed how to use the printmaking tools and students got to work. For the first layer of ink, students are limited to one color, but could choose different colors of paper if they wanted to.
After printing at least four copies of the first layer of their animal, students washed off their Styrofoam, dried it and reattached the tape. (Before printing, I had students trace the outline of their tape with a Sharpie so they would know where to attach it.) Students used the same method as above to trace the eyes, nose, mouth, fins, fur or other details of their animal and then carve the lines with pencil.
Then students cut out the outline of their animal and began printing their second layer of ink.
Some students loved the printing process so much that they printed a third layer of ink to create a background or to change the color of a specific detail of their animal.
The last step was to create a background and/or add details. Students had three options for this step:
- oil pastels to add brighter colors;
- colored pencils to add fine details;
- or collage papers, including tissue paper, painted paper and construction paper.
Below is a sample of students finished prints.