Macro-Organism Etching – Value Gradation

13767266-katydide-cyrtophyllus-concavus-or-long-horned-grasshopper-or-bush-cricket-vintage-engraving-old-engrWater has always been important to Minnesota and is a key part of our history, culture, economy and recreation. There are more than 13.1 million acres of lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. In order to protect this vital resource, the MPCA monitors water quality, sets water quality standards and regulates what may go into the water. A big part of their study includes looking at the bugs or macro-organisms that live in the water. The presence or absence of specific macro-organisms can tell us about the quality of the water.We are going to identify and look at bugs while building our drawing skills.

1. Complete a “Grayscale Chart”  in your sketchbook using a 4B-6B pencil..
2. Choose an adult macro-organisms from a list of “water quality” macro-organisms found on this web site. Redraw it in your sketchbook.

Observe the studio demonstration on drawing with graphite powder. Use an eraser and 6B pencil redraw the bug. Artwork should be at least “as large as your hand” – about 8″ long by “whatever” wide – centered on your page. Place a sheet of typing paper on top of your drawing when storing the sketchbook to minimize the transfer of graphite to other pages.

Your goal is to create a realistic drawing of your bug with lots of dark and light (shading), details and accurate shapes.

Crosshatch Value Chart
Crosshatch Value Chart

Etching – 1. Complete a “Crosshatching Value Chart” in your sketchbook.

2. Based on your completed realistic macro-organism drawing redraw your macro-organism on tracing paper (taped on top of  realistic drawing) again but this time fill the a  4″ x 8″ rectangle. Distort the image to fill the space. Complete with shading and details, like before. Push yourself to find the “hot” white spots and the dark areas (where two objects meet).

3. With your drawing underneath the sheet of plexiglass, etch with scribe provided into plexiglass using cross hatching. Create dark and light areas through the crosshatching.

4. Observe printing demonstration.  You will need to work in small groups taking turns working the press, soaking and blotting paper, and inking and printing plates.


Critique: Once you have completed the drawing and etching of your bug answer the following questions on the page with your sketches.

1. What are the differences in your drawing and etched bug? How does the media used change the viewers understanding of what you drew?

2. Write a haiku about your bug.

Design Grading Rubric

Grading Rubric for etching print:

1. Clean dark lines showing gradation.
2. Residual ink in wiped off.
3. Clean border.
4. Straight on paper.
5. Minimum of two prints in group.

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