Posted on 03/23/2018 at 12:00 AM by Blog Experts

At the Art of Education winter conference in February, Nic Hahn shared how to have students create a graphic collagraph. Her inspiration came from a book, titled, You belong here by M. H. Clark and illustrated by award-winning artist Isabelle Arsenault. Although this is a picture book appropriate for elementary students, the illustrations can be studied and used for inspiration by all students in PK-12.

Hahn (2018) shared the process on her blog. She used heavyweight drawing paper, and inexpensive stencils. For cutting her designs that she glued on her paper, she used both a scissors and an Exacto knife. Hahn then taped another lightweight piece of paper over the first paper, and using the side of a graphite stick, she rubbed across the entire page.

After completing the rubbing, Hahn used a variety of texture plates and went over the background of her piece using mostly graphite, but also water color pencils, using different plates to create different textures for her background.

A collagraph is the process of placing pieces of paper, cardboard, or other substances on top of another piece of paper. For example, Hahn used small pieces of painter’s tape that she tore into strips to make the semblance of a robin’s nest. Once the design is complete, it is then transferred to another piece of paper by some method. Hahn has used graphite along with water color pencils to create one object to which the eye is drawn, similar to the process used by Isabelle Arsenault.

YouTube has several thousand videos about different ways in which your students can engage in the art of collagraphy. Collagraphy is tied to the new Iowa Fine Arts standards. It is aligned to the anchor standard of “Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. The standards would be VA:Cr1.1, VA:Cr1.2, VA:Cr2.1, VA:Cr2.2, VA:Cr2.3, and VA:Cr3.1. If this is not a process your students have tried, you might want to encourage them to do so. Because of the different texture plates, students can use the same design yet end up with very different pieces of art at the end.

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