New Art Guidebook


This is a new Art guidebook for teachers, parents and other supervisors of children from Grades 3 to 6. It will contain lessons in elements and principles of design, drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking for children as well as other important information for teachers. Its purpose is to supplement Art programs in the schools or will work as a program in itself for children who have no programs in their schools. This book is now in the editing stage and hopefully will be ready for publication in 2011.




(not completely finished as photos and sample work need to be added)

Styrofoam Relief Prints


Grades: Primary and Elementary


Find prints by Albrecht Durer, Andy Warhol, David Blackwood, Christopher Pratt. Research printmakers from other cultures. Discuss how their prints are made, i.e. materials, tools. Discuss the meaning of Glossary terms related to printmaking.

Relief is the oldest form of printmaking. The earliest relief printmaking on paper goes back to the woodcuts of China, dating back to the 8th Century. Woodcuts appeared in Europe much later, in the 15th Century.

The basic principle of relief printing is to create an image on paper from the raised surface of a block. The artist draws onto the block and then cuts away the areas that are not to form part of the image. These areas are the negative parts of the image, or the spaces around what we consider to be the image. The ink only reaches the areas the artist does not touch. The block is inked and a piece of paper laid over it. The artist then either rubs the paper using their hand or with a hard, smooth object such as kitchen spoon, or runs it through a printing press. The image produced on the paper mirrors that on the block (plate) except it is reversed. Woodcuts and linocut are the most common examples of relief
. There are many different ways to create prints, but engraving is most like the method we'll use. In this type, the artist cuts a design into a metal, wood, or plastic plate with a tool called a burin. This is a form of relief printing that makes use of readily available styrofoam meat and vegetable trays. Rather than metal, plastic or wood, we can recycle polystyrene trays from the grocery store to make prints.


Demonstrate critical thinking about their own and other students’ works.

Perceive the reversal effect in making relief prints.

Produce signed and numbered copies of relief prints.

Show respect for materials and keep their area clean.

Discuss any problems encountered and how to remedy them in future.

Know how to properly sign prints.


Materials Needed:

  • Tempera Paint or water-based printer’s ink (about one container of paint/ink for three or four students. Add one drop of liquid soap or three drops of glycerine (available at pharmacies) to thicken the paint
  • Styrofoam meat packing trays (printing plates) Make sure they are washed with soap and hot water.
  • Scissors or other cutting tools
  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Water containers
  • Mixing tray
  • Soft rubber brayers (bought from art supply stores) Use paint rollers or 2 inch paint brushes if rollers aren't available
  • Something to roll the ink out on, such as a piece of plexiglass, smooth ceramic tile, an old cookie tray or a piece of glass with tape around all edges (called inking plate)
  • Newspapers to put on desks


Relief, prints, block, plate, prints, incise , plate, engraving


Discuss images to draw such as animals of the jungle, birds around your home, fish that you know, insects, fantasy creature from a book or video. Demonstrate to students how to make a relief print. Discuss the kinds of textures found in these animals/creatures and how to get those textures on styrofoam by pressing different shapes into it. You will need a clean area where the actual print is made. When using the roller with ink or paint each child will need his/her area covered with newspapers.

1. First cut the edges off the trays with scissors or other cutting tool making a flat surface.

2. Next, make preliminary pencil drawings on paper. Pick the best drawing and make a light drawing of it onto the styrofoam (plate). If you include letters, you will have to make them backwards, because your final print will appear in reverse.

3. Now you can deepen (incise) the lines with your pencil, pen or other tool such as a nail file or scissors. The lines that you deepen will appear white (or the colour of your paper) in your print. Press other objects into the styrofoam for textures. Your printed image will appear in reverse!

4. Squeeze a small amount of printing ink (or paint) onto the plexiglass, glass, tile or cookie tray (plate) and roll with brayer (or small sponge paint roller) until the ink is evenly distributed over the roller’s surface.

5. Roll brayer over the Styrofoam tray a couple of times covering the whole foam surface.

6. Place scrap paper on top of the styrofoam first to make sure too much paint is not being used. Ink or paint should not be too thick or too watery. Press lightly and pull the print. If this is suitable repeat with good papers. Make sure no paint gets in the part you incised; that should be white (or colour of your paper you are putting your print on). One application may give you three or four prints. Trade your brayer colour with someone else so you won’t have to wash off brayer each time you want a different colour.

7. Repeat until you have the number of prints you desire.

8. Let prints dry.

9. Students number their prints, such as:

(bottom left, eg. 1/5)... title them (bottom middle)    and sign (bottom right)

Example: 1/5       Cattle Call       James Smith



Make a greeting card, such as birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s using the same technique. Fold a sheet of construction paper in half and print your design on the front. You can then write your own greetings on it.

Experiment with different kinds of papers and colours.



Have students discuss their prints in terms of subjects, design, and technical aspects.

Refer to outcomes and discuss them with students to see if they have learned them.

Have students pick their best and mount it on a coloured background for display.

Students should be able to tell whether they thought their prints were successful and explain why or why not.

Did students use materials properly and clean up their area when finished?


Sample Lesson #2



Grades: 4 to 6 (Integrate with Language Arts)




Talk about the art movement called Surrealism and how Salvadore Dali and Rene Magritte created surreal paintings by taking normal or real items and putting them in unreal settings. This movement in art began around the mid 1920’s. Surrealist artists’ works feature the element of surprise and they get their inspiration from dreams and fantasies. Everything looks realistic but could never come together in real life. Often these paintings or drawings are set in unnatural surroundings or are dreamlike. Discuss dreams and fantasies with students. Canadian artist Bill Ritchie’s prints display human characteristics in animals and landscapes. For example a person’s hand and face are seen coming out of a caribou’s antlers, and people’s heads are part of a crow’s body. When painting this style of artwork you need to use colours that show the mood of your painting. For example, if you were painting a scary or sad picture, you could use cool colours such as dark blue, black or a dark purple. If you were to paint something that’s happy you could use oranges, yellows or reds which are warm colours. (Insert painting by Dali and student’s work)

Analyze painting by Dali. Discuss his style. Ask: What is the most important shape or object of the painting? Do you think colour is important in this piece? Why? Or why not? Why did he use the colours he did in this painting? Do you think Dali had fun doing this? Is this a good title? Explain. Do you like this painting? Why? Is this painting balanced? How?




Create works of art that are original and represent personal expression.


Execute a surrealistic painting using an unusual background.


Describe the function, purpose, and meaning of a specific surrealist style painting.


Critique a work of surrealism with reference to the elements and principles of design.



8.5” x11" white paper, sharpie markers, watercolors, water, brushes, crayons, black construction paper, scissors, glue, pastel and colored pencils, assorted old magazines



Surrealism, fantasy, landscape, warm colours, cool colours, overlap, collage


Procedure# 1: Drawing


On your sheet of paper use your pencil to lightly divide it in to three equal parts horizontally.


On the top part put in some clouds for the sky, the larger clouds being on the top, and the smaller ones being on the bottom area of the sky. Use your imagination and make animal or fish shapes or whatever you choose, in some of the clouds but not making them too obvious until someone looks closer at them.


In the middle section draw several different sizes of trees, some grouped together, some overlapped. Do something strange or unusual with the trees such as paint faces in some, some of the trees might be hands growing out of the ground, again without them being too obvious.


In the bottom section draw a road in the middle and grass and flowers on both sides of it. If you wish, do something unusual with the flowers and blades of grass. Use your imagination.


Colour your drawing with unusual colours, for example, a green sky, purple trees, blue grass and so on. Use coloured leads or watercolour paints. Use a sharpie marker to outline any important area.


When finished, look at your drawing to make sure the unusual objects don’t stand out too much.


Give your drawing a title.


Procedure #2: Collage


Students use old magazines to create a landscape. Find pictures from magazines that are suitable for their collage. Find pictures of a real sky, a real landscape background. Find other pictures that could make this landscape dreamlike or unusual. Cut out pictures. Arrange these pictures to make a surrealist collage and glue them on a sheet of construction paper.



Get students to talk about a dream they had and draw it as they can remember. Use warm or cool colours to express the feelings this dream gives them. Use coloured leads or markers.




What is the most important feature or object in you drawing?


Did you enjoy doing this drawing? What did you like least? Why?


Students look at and compare the similarities of other students’ works with their own.


Would you like to do something like this again?