Planning Backwards Model*

Teaching Artist Practicum

Name of Project:   Printmaking with Foam: Japanese Mountains Print Demo 

Grade Level or Age of Participant:  6-11

School, Teacher and Classroom:   Lesson taught at the MIA with students who had missed the original experience printmaking experience

Teaching Artist:  Abigail Engle

Visual Arts Content or Standards: (ages 6-8) Artistic Process: Foundations and Artistic Process: Respond

Overview of Project

Students will use sheets of foam to cut out a mountain range similar to the ones seen in the MIA’s collection of mountain ranges on rice paper.  The students will then apply printing ink and make a print on rice paper to create a sense of scale and distance in the prints.

“Big Ideas”/ Essential QUESTION(s)

What choices do artist have if they are working in a specific technique or cultural context?

How does color play into the appearance distance?

What colors reinforce a sense of deep space?

Student Outcome Objectives

Students will:

1. Remember what was taught in the classes before.

2. Applying their knowledge into an individual artistic idea.

3. Create a piece based on the application of the student’s idea. 

Prior Knowledge

Some knowledge of how to 'draw' with scissors

Experience seeing and talking about the Japanese wood block prints in the MIA's collection

Lesson Preparation Timeline 

3 Weeks Before – Get material list and do inventory

2 Weeks Before – Gather Materials

1 Week Before/Day of Lesson – Prep classroom, prepare workspace,  set out materials/ 

Examples of Artwork

Japanese Mountain Rice paper prints (Japanese Galleries at the MIA 


There will be a short conversation by the students about the success and intention of  their prints as they finish considering atmosphere, space and the illusion of distance along with  a presentation to parents at the artist reception at the conclusion of the class.


- Paint smocks/shirts

- Pieces of 1/8" foam to cut into shapes

- Scissors ( left and right handed)

- Printmaking Ink, wate rbase in a variety of colors

- Brayer rollers

- Rice Paper, 9" x 12", with torn edge

- Waste paper to place under rice paper when printing

- Markers

- Trays for rolling out ink

- Student will make a chop with their signature in a Japanese fashion to sign their prints.

Learning Activities and Timing

  1. Review intention of project and trip into the museum to view Japanese woodcuts in earlier class.

  2. Demo of what will be taught, describing what technical and creative decisions being made throughout the demo. (5 Minutes).

  3. Pass out materials – foam, scissors, markers (3 Minutes)

  4. Cut out mountains (5-10 Minutes)

  5. Pass out printmaking materials – paint shirts, ink, brayers, trays (5 Minutes

  6. Roll Ink onto trays and then foam, place paper, 'burnish' with hands, check print by carefully lifting one corner and replacing, and 'pull' print (10 Minutes)

  7. Clean up and put work on drying rack (5-10 Minutes). Sign with chop after print is dry.

Teaching Artist Reflection

Anticipate that there would be problems with making sure that the students had enough time to slow down and observe how their pieces were turning out.  Also anticipate some trouble keeping this age of children all working on the same thing, as some move faster and slower through the steps of the lesson. Do not hand out materials before the demo is over and demonstrate clean up at the end of the lesson so that students can clean up after themselves responsibly.