A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints

Students research an endangered species and then create a collagraph printing plate that they use to make an edition of 3 prints that expresses their understandings about the issue.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 10


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


artist proof brayer burnish colour edition of prints printmaking


Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Tempera Paint Crayola Scissors Crayola Washable Glue Sticks Crayola Construction Paper - Variety Colours - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Pencils Onion Skin Tracing Paper Tag Manilla Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 2 pieces per student Brayers or Soft Paint Rollers Wooden Spoons Plastic Trays or Plastic Placemats Recycled Newspapers Recycled Magazines Paper Towels

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A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step One

Step One

  1. Find pictures on the Internet of the endangered speciaes you have chosen.
  2. Download one you like.
  3. Resize it to fit on your 22.9 cm x 30.9 cm tag manilla paper.
  4. Print the picture and cut it out.
A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Trace the outline of the animal onto a piece of tag manilla or other cardboard.
    - Instead of tracing the outline you can also simply draw it.
  2. Pay attention to the size of your shape.
    - You need to balance the positive and negative space on your paper.
    - The animal shape will fill the positive space.
    - Whatever is left over will be the negative space.
  3. Place the paper on top of another sheet of tag manilla. 
  4. Cut them both out together.
  5. Draw details on one of the cutouts.
A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place a piece of onionskin tracing paper on top of the cutout.
  2. Trace the whole thing.
A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Place the tracing on top of the other cutout with the drawing side face down.
  2. It should be the reverse of the original drawing.
  3. Draw over the lines.
    - You can draw a line directly on top of the traced lines or scribble over the lines to transfer the lead pencil to the tag manilla.
  4. Remove the tracing paper. You should have two drawings that are a mirror image of each other.
  5. The original shape is shape A.
  6. The reverse is shape B.
A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Cut out details from shape A and glue them to shape B.
  2. Glue a strip of tag manilla to the outside edge of your shape.
  3. Keep adding details until you are satisfied.
  4. Make sure everything is glued down well so pieces do not lift off once you start printing.
  5. This will be your printing plate.
A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use a soft roller to spread the paint onto a plastic surface.
  2. Make sure you get an even coat of paint on the roller.
  3. Place the printing plate on a page of an open magazine.
  4. Roll the paint over the surface of the printing plate.
  5. Make sure to apply an even coat of paint.
A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Carefully lift the inked plate off the magazine page.
  2. Turn the page over to a new, clean page.
  3. Carefully place the inked plate onto the new page.
A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Place a piece of paper on top of the inked plate.
  2. Rub over the surface with your hand.
  3. Use a wooden spoon to burnish the print.
  4. Make sure you apply even pressure to the entire plate.
  5. You need to transfer the paint from the plate to the paper.
A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Gently pull the paper away from the plate.
  2. Repeat the process to make 3 prints that look the same to complete your edition of prints.
    - An edition of prints means that every print in the set of prints made looks the same.


A WORLD WITHOUT – Making an Edition of Prints - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Make 3 more prints that look the same.
  2. Use a pencil to number the prints in the order that you made them.
    - First print - 1/3
    - Second Print - 2/3
    - Third print - 3/3
  3. Sign them and give them a title. 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a collagraph printing plate;
  • create an edition of prints to communicate their understanding of an endangered species issue;
  • use colour to express ideas;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • experiment with ways to work with their artist proofs and/or the printing plate, e.g.,
    -  draw over the artist proof print with oil pastels or construction paper crayons;
    -  glue the printing plate to a piece of coloured construction paper;
    ​-  draw shapes around it with Crayola No-Run School Glue glue;
    -  colour in the spaces using crayons or markers.


  1. Create a sample.
  2. Provide time for students to research an endangered species and find an image of their species they want to work with, e.g., at wikimedia commons   
  3. Collect empty cereal boxes if you plan to use them instead of tag manilla.
  4. Collect newspapers and magazines for the printing area.
  5. Make sure you have a drying area for the prints.
  6. Download the image of the famous print Enchanted Owl by Kenojuak.
  7. Watch a 1963 National Film Board documentary of the printing process at Google Doodle.


  1. View and discuss the image of Enchanted Owl by Kenojuak.
    - simplified form
    - unique interpretation of the owl
    - use of colour
    - balance of positive and negative space
    - wrting on bottom of print
  2. Explain the printing process and what it means to make an edition of prints.
  3. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a sturdy collagraph printing plate.
  2. Create an edition of 3 prints to communicate your understanding of an endangered species issue.
  3. Use colour to express ideas.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students. For example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a sturdy collagraph printing plate
    - created 3 prints that look the same
    - used shape to contribute to the meaning of the image
    - used colour to express an idea
    - created clean prints with no smudges
    - numbered the prints correctly
    - signed and titled the prints in pencil
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Have students examine the photograph of their animal and decide what details they will include in their print.
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Demonstrate how to cut out two pieces of paper at the same time.
  6. Remind students that lines and patterns will be created by the spaces left between shapes and the differences in levels of paper.
  7. Observe students as they work.
  8. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once editions of prints are complete display them for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge.
  2. Ask students to look closely at the prints and to choose one edition that interests them for some reason.
  3. Share thoughts about the work.
  4. During the discussion include references to: 
     balance – the use of positive and negative space
    -  colour – how colour has been used to communicate a message
    -  uniqueness of the form – how student made the image their own
    -  technical accomplishment – how condition of the paper, cleanliness of paper, signature and numbering, and attention to detail contribute to technical accomplishment


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the prints, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Endangered_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download – Endangered_self-assessment.pdf)