Traditional Versus Digital Printing With iPads In Grade 8

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My grade 8 students have been experimenting with printmaking techniques, collage and incorporating the iPads. Some students had never printed before so they had the theme of “nature” and explored a variety of techniques from printing with zip lock bags, hot glue and polystyrene trays. The trays allowed us to look at how to achieve a clean print, avoid printing accidents, create 2 cut and 3 cut prints and how to apply the ink creatively using brushes, rollers and sponges.

Then the students used the iPads and the app Megaphoto to create abstract designs of their prints. We had previously learnt about abstraction in our painting unit so this reinforced the concept. Favourite designs were chosen and printed out.

These designs were randomly cut up and then arranged with the experimental prints to create a collage background. The students quickly discovered that it was much harder than they thought to create a successful collage. We had to review the rhythm, movement, focal point, balance, colour and the importance of overlapping shapes. Generally it is easier to start from larger shapes then use smaller ones to direct the viewers eyes around the page. Sometimes less is best and it is not necessary to incorporate everything.

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Two lessons were spent arranging but not sticking the collage because they had to photograph discuss and reflect upon their designs. Once the designs were stuck down then it was an option to dry-brush their work, add stamps/texture and rough it up a little especially if working on the cardboard.

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Many decisions had to be made throughout this task. Firstly some chose to start again and change their theme to mechanical because the last stage of this task is to carve a lino print based on the theme of mechanical/botanical and print it onto the collage. The lino print could contrast with the background or create harmony. Of course the final design was a tough choice and the background support was very flexible too from recycled card to foam board. So far these collages are looking stunning. We are hoping to have everything complete in time for the big exhibit on the 20th of May.

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To complete this unit the students will create an iPad presentation which reflects on the process, introduces the history of printing and links to their learning. They will also reflect upon their design by explaining the reasons behind their decisions and how they applied the principles of art. Unfortunately, this will not be done in time for the exhibit so when their work is complete I will add another post.

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