Printmaking – Hokusai to Warhol

Wood block and Lino-cut Printmaking

Relief Printing

Thank you  Messrs Hokusai and Warhol!


  1. Create a print using multiple blocks
  2. Utilize the elements and principles of design in creating a strong design.
  3. Demonstrate skill in carving the block and registration of colors.
  4. Show appreciation and awareness of the work of Andy Warhol
Prepare your students to work diligently on planning, carving, and pulling their relief prints. 

Planning a Print

Planning is a very important step in the printmaking process, and the success of your students prints will depend, in part, upon the time and effort they invest in planning. Make sure your students choose a subject that is easy to stylize, such as people’s faces or objects that are close. Simple is better. Have them make a sketch of the entire composition and have it fit the size of the block. Do this on newsprint and make many changes as are needed. Use only outline shapes and don’t use any shading. Anything that needs shading is going to be simplified to a shape.

1. What inspires YOU to create? What do you love? Make a list of 6 things that inspire you (animals, homes, travel, maps, modes of transportation, and geodes?)


2. Pick four items from the above list and create 4 sketches.


1. Place Tracing Paper over the sketch and try to separate the design into three plates. These plate should include the entire design and will print the complete outline of the block when finished. One is usually the background and one is the back colors to the subject and the third can be outlines. Plan for three blocks.

2. Trace out the shapes of each area and transfer to each block. Use a black felt pen to color in the area to be printed and leave the rest bare.

3. Use linoleum cutters, gouges and such to remove all the area that is not black.

4. Make a practice print by starting with the background areas and with the colored inks, mix new colors or make gradations with more than one brayer. place the block face down on the paper and with a board underneath the paper pull it around and remove the board. With the back of the paper showing, rub all over with the back of a spoon to press the ink and complete a print.

5. When dry, ink up the second block and carefully drop it using the edges of the first print as a guide. Turn it over and repeat the process for the next print. Repeat this for the last block and it will be ready to proofread.

6. Look at the blocks and see that they line up make corrections or make a note to move it over to one side if needed.

7. With a larger piece of drawing paper 80# or better, use a pencil and ruler to make a light line for the edge of the print cross it with another to form the corner. Line up the first print to this edge and then the rest in line with that. Use three, six or nine prints varying the colors and values in each block. We use color schemes or even the chromatic scale as Warhol did.

8. Each print must be done after the last is dry so this takes a while. You can print one in the morning, on at lunch and one after school. Some students print one after another without smearing but you take a big chance with that.

9. Use water based inks for easy cleanup. Don’t waste ink and if they make too much see if another student needs that color and share. Plan ahead the colors to use, change values and go opposite the normal colors to give interest.

Materials Needed

3 Linoleum Blocks
Linoleum Cutter blades and handle
Inking Plates
Magic Rub Eraser or Kneaded Rubber Erasers
Assorted Water-Based Block Printing Inks
Soft Rubber Brayers
Wooden spoons
Good Drawing Paper

some prints from Redmomd Jr. high
©, 2012.

©, 2012.

©, 2012.

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