Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gyotaku Inspired Collographs (5th)

A print before color was added

Students first learned about Gyotaku and collographs printing. They then sketch out some fish designs and picked one to be the inspiration for their final fish. I gave them a print out that had a variety of fish images on it for them to work from. After coming up with some ideas, students drew a fish on a 1'x1' piece of black tag board. 

On day 2 and 3 students cut and glued foam pieces over their tag board fish to create their collographs. I had them first focus on establishing an outline of their fish first emphasizing the need to include fins, tails, and scales in some way shape or form. A red signature seal was made when they finished on the third day. The signature seal was carved into a small piece of printing foam with a pencil. (They really got into the signature seal portion of the day making secret codes and discovering how to make letters not print backwards. Awesome creative problem solving opportunity for them. I kept my lips sealed and let them be the detectives)

Day 4 was printing day and time to add some color. I found it best for them to create a test print just to get the hang of the process. I had them do this on the back side of their final to save on paper. Once their final print was made, the fish was outlined and colored in with oil pastels (portfolio series oil pastels are my favorite for color mixing and blending, LOVE THEM!) The red signature seal stamp was the final step of the day. I'll post more pictures once the next 5th grade crew finishes! Definitely going to be doing this again. The kids loved it! 


  1. oh, i love this! i've been getting bored with my rubber fish. how did you make the backgrounds?

  2. rubbing watered down brown tempera on tag board with a rag or the scour pad of a sponge. I had some students create them before hand during extra class time. they got really into it coming up with their own techniques for making it look old!