Line printing is an easy and effective way to create bold and clear signs and posters. It is also a great way to practice the many skills and concepts involved in letter formation and writing.
"My name is a palindrome." Hannah, age 6
This sign was created during a parent workshop
When designing and creating signs or posters, children practice and explore:
- Awareness of signs and posters as means of communication and persuasion.
- Ways to communicate a message with few words.
- Symbols and icons
- Proper spelling
- Planning, spacing and layout
How can you tell if a sign or poster is effective?
- What is the message?
- Is the message clear? Can I read it easily?
- Do the other art elements – lines, shapes, colors – add to or enhance the message? How?
- If they detract from the message, ask yourself, Why?
Planning the Wording
Following a discussion of effective signs and posters, challenge students to act as designers to advertise an area of the classroom or a special event. Brainstorm words to use to get the message across. This is a good exercise to do as a class or in small groups.
- Figure out the fewest and most effective words to use.
- Check the spelling!
- Practice sketching layouts.
- Allow time for students to practice working with the line printing tools to construct the letters and words.
Discuss the potential of the line tools by breaking down an interesting or difficult word into its components. Review techniques for printing letters.
Planning the Layout
Planning a sign or poster requires time and space for concentration and problem-solving. It usually takes practice working with the space allotted and the printing tools, without ink, to figure out and adjust the position, placement, and spacing of letters and words.
Olivia, age 8, planning the placement and spacing of her letters and words.
Olivia holding her finished poster.
Practice constructing and spacing the letters (no ink) until you work out a pleasing and effective arrangement. A few minutes (and this is usually very fast!) practicing without ink saves a great deal of time, countless mistakes, and a lot of paper!
*To facilitate planning and practicing, keep paint off of the table until you have seen children practice constructing and spacing letters and words.
*Taking time to think and plan before beginning a task is a lifelong learning skill.
Practice and Print
Practice printing on newsprint or practice paper.
Printing often takes up more space than anticipated!
Then take a critical look at your work with a friend.
Figure out how to improve. Print again.
Here you see a third grader correcting the spacing and the reversal of the letter “d” on his election poster.
Offer another color for decorations and embellishments.
*In order to keep the focus on the message, the lettering and the layout, offer the second color only after the corrected printing of the words is complete.
Sixth Grade Election Posters
During the presidential election of 2004, 6th-grade teacher Tom Weiner asked his class to research both sides of an election issue, and to work in pairs to design a poster for each side. Students then brought their poster designs with them when they came to the art studio to print their posters. Lionel Claris, Tom's student teacher and a graduate student in the Teaching of Visual Arts class, guided students in printing their posters. After practicing himself, Lionel discovered that it was possible, quicker, and easier to print all the letters using only the small line tool. Watch 6th graders printing their posters (Notice that they are using only the small straight line tool).
Click the link below to download a PDF featuring a Smith College student mural project that shows how Thinking with a Line cane be used to create classroom murals.