LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story

Students use a Styrofoam board and washable paint to make a relief print for a story about dinosaurs they have written.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


brayer illustration line motif pattern repetition shape texture


Crayola Washable Paint Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Styrofoam Tray or Scratch-Foam Boards - 15.2 cm x 22.9 cm (6" x 9") - 1 ½ per student Ball Point Pens - 1 per student Soft Paint Rollers Plastic Trays Old Magazines Paper Towels

Shop Crayola Products


LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story - Step One

Step One

  1. Make 4 practice drawings of dinosaurs and plants.
  2. Choose the one you like the best for your print. 
LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Draw into the Styrofoam using a ball point pen.
  2. Add more details, lines and dots to create texture and pattern.
  3. This is your printing plate.
LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place 2 magazines beside each other.
    - One will be for rolling the paint on your Styrofoam plate.
    - The other will be for making the print. 
  2. Place the Styrofoam plate on a page of one of the open magazines.
  3. Place a piece of paper on a page of the other open magazine. 
  4. Pour 2 primary colours of paint into a plastic tray. 
LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Gently roll the soft roller into the paint to mix a new colour.
  2. Cover the roller with paint. 
LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Gently lift the inked plate off the magazine page. 
  2. Place the inked Styrofoam plate face down on the printing paper.
  3. Turn the clean magazine page onto the back of the inked plate. 
LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Roll a printmaking brayer over the magazine page that is covering the Styrofoam plate.
    - or you can rub your hands over the page
    - press hard over the entire plate
  2. This will transfer the paint to the paper. 
LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Turn the magazine page back.
  2. Gently lift the Styrofoam plate off the printing paper to see your print.
  3. Place it in a safe place to dry. 
LITTLE DINOSAUR – Printmaking, Illustrating a Story - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. A motif is a design or shape that may be repeated in a work for decoration or to help tell a story.
  2. Make a smaller design of a dinosaur motif to help tell your story. 
  3. Print the small motif on each end of your big print to complete your illustration.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a styrofoam relief print using washable paint;
  • create an illustration for a story about dinosaurs they have written;
  • use repetition of line and pattern to create rhythm;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • use primary colours and white to mix a variety of colours and tints and use them to make a series of prints;
  • work with another class and teach their peers how to make prints.


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students experiment with relief printmaking using found objects using the Exploring Line lesson plan available on this website.
  2. Download and display the Colour, Line and Repetition posters  available on this website.
  3. Gather and make available picture books about dinosaurs, for example, Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs, by Kathleen V Kudlinski; Big Book of Dinosaurs, by Alex Frith; First Facts Dinosaurs, by DK; and National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs, by Catherine D. Hughes.
  4. Have children find answers to their own questions about dinosaurs through and inquiry-based learning project. As part of their research have them write stories about their favourite dinosaur. 
  5. Create a sample.


  1. Place students into small groups.
  2. Provide each group with a picture book about dinosaurs.
  3. Ask students to look at the illustrations in the book very carefully.
  4. Provide each group with the Plus/Minus/Interesting chart. (Download - PMI_Chart.pdf) 
  5. Ask groups to list the things about the illustrations that go in each column.
  6. Discuss ideas with the whole class.
  7. Make a list of the characteristics of illustrations that appeal to them the most drawing attention to the use of colour, line, pattern, and space.
  8. Explain that they are going to create an illustration for their story.
  9. Show students the printing plate and the print you have created. Ask them to discuss what they notice about the print compared to the Styrofoam printing plate. (Design is reversed, effect of line and colour.)
  10. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a relief print using a Styrofoam tray and washable paint.
  2. Create an illustration for your dinosaur story.
  3. Create rhythm by repeating lines and making patterns.
  4. Mix 2 primary colours to make a new colour. 
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  6. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

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 dinosaur print
    - included details that illustrate my story
    - created ryhthm by repeating lines
    - created patterns 
    - mixed 2 primary colours to make a new colour
    - kept the artwork in good condition
  3. ​Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Demonstrate how to draw into the Styrofoam and how to make the print. 
  5. Remind students that the design will be reversed when it is printed
  6. Observe students as they work.
  7. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all the prints are complete ask students to share them in partners or small groups. 
    Ask them to:
    Look closely at the illustrations.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
    - Talk about how line and pattern are used to create rhythm.
    - Discuss how the illustrations help to tell the story.

    - Talk about what was difficult about making the print and why.
    - Tell what was satisfying about making the print and why.
  2. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.
  3. Display the illustrations along with the stories so students can view them throughout the next few weeks.


  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 artwork, 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. (Download – PRINT_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download – PRINT_self-assessment.pdf)