This year, I am really loving Scratch-foam printmaking with students. I especially love introducing scratch-foam to new students. Often, when kids start art lessons with me, they come because they love drawing. They feel very confident drawing but don’t have as much experience with other media. Scratch-foam printmaking starts with line drawing, but introduces a whole variety of new concepts including repetition, contrast, and positive v. negative space. It is wonderful to see all the different directions kids can take this medium.
Escher inspired printmaking
One of my ten year old students has an absolutely amazing ability to conjure up the most expressive and hilarious animal characters from her imagination. She scribbles them onto the paper in seconds flat. It seems that even the quickest, seemingly careless doodle she makes is overflowing with personality. It makes me so jealous. I showed her some work by MC Escher and she came up with this radial design of her cast of characters perfectly interlocking like puzzle pieces. My favorite character here is the grumpy bull wearing a triangle hat.
Printmaking on vellum
Another one of my students is seven. He has quite a remarkable ability to draw from reference images which is how he drew the fish that he used in his print. This students imagination is always ready to catch a spark and roar into action. On this day, an illustration of a trout caught his eye and off he went. For his print he really took advantage of multiples. He made just one fantastic fish on scratch foam and printed it on three layers of translucent vellum to create the illusion of a school of fish in water.
The most elegant bird print
This beautiful symmetrical design was created by another ten year old student. She draws with such elegance and grace that it is hard for me to believe her age. She worked for weeks on this print. She spent time finding the right reference images to suit her needs, getting the drawings right, and mixing custom colors for each bird. It is rare that children (or any of us, for that matter) are afforded that kind of time to get things just right. I loved to see her work so calmly and with such a focused vision week after week. The result was just lovely. I hope to be a little more like her when I grow up.