Linoleum Carving with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan
Learner Outcomes: .................................................... ....................................................
Color: Understand that color can be transparent and opaque
  Understand that color schemes can be analogous, monochromatic, and complementary
Design: Realize that contrast in value causes eye movement over a picture
Line: Understand that line is used to represent the world around us
Space: Appreciate that positive and negative space is used to enhance esthetics
Texture: Appreciate that texture is used to enhance realism
  Appreciate that texture is used to enhance aesthetics
Materials: 25 sheets of linoleum (the soft kind like an eraser is so much easier)
  25 black markers
  25 carving tools of various widths
25 carving trays (if you have hard linoleum.)
  25 paint brushes
  25 glue sticks
  printing ink in desired color
  4 or 5 styrofoam trays
  4 or 5 brayers
  4 or 5 barens
Vocabulary: Transparent, Opaque, Value, Line, Positive and Negative Space Texture
Create at least two possible designs that could be carved onto the linoleum. It works best if there is a border - even if it is a straight line. Consider positive and negative space. When the designs are completed, color everything black with a marker that will NOT be carved out from the linoleum. Check to see if there is balance, too much black, or not enough. Select the best sketch of the two sketches to continue with.

Redraw the design onto the linoleum surface or transfer using the "Homemade Carbon Paper Method". Never heard of it? Well, it is a great little trick. Using soft leaded pencils, color the back of the sketch. Next, place the sketch on top of the linoleum. Tape it in place on the left and right with little pieces of masking tape. It's not difficult to transfer the design to the linoleum. When you trace on top of the sketch, the pencil lead on the back of the page will transfer the art to the linoleum. You don't need to push hard.

Again, color in black everything that will NOT be carved out of the linoleum.

Place the linoleum on the carving tray. But, if you use the linoleum as soft as an eraser, you don't need a try like the handy dandy one seen in the photo above.

Helpful hint: Stress how important it is to always carve away from your hands. If a student points the carving tool towards his/her hands, the tool will eventually slip and there will be blood.

Upon completion of the carving, it's time for printing. You don't need a brayer and baren for each student. If you have four or five stations for students, that usually is enough for the class because kids work at different stages. Put a little printer's ink on a Styrofoam tray. Roll it out evenly with a brayer. Then, evenly apply the ink to the surface of the linoleum carving. Place the paper on the surface of the linoleum and press evenly up and down with the baren. Try not to push from the side or the print will smudge.

Helpful hint: If you lift the corners of the print while it is still attached to the linoleum, you can check to see if you need to press more in any areas. Also, for parts of the print that might not have fully received ink, it is possible to take a small paintbrush to touch up with printer's ink. Whatever you do, you will probably have to print several times before you get a satisfactory print.

Suggestions: If you only print with black ink, it is possible to also color with colored pencils after the print dries.

This idea can be used any time of the year but I like to use it for making Christmas cards. Students can make six prints, on white paper, and then mounted on red or green cards as desired.

I like to print on white paper, but it is interesting to print on colored paper too. If you get a lot of good prints, you can experiment with things like the sunset effect on the home page.

Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.