Two-Dimensional Ideas on Paper: Prints from Nature

Two-Dimensional Ideas on Paper: Prints from Nature

The craft NATURE PRINTS was adapted from the project “From the Yard/Nature Prints” found in All-Around-the-House Art and Craft Book by Patricia Z. Wirtenberg and published by Houghton Mifflin Company in1968

Materials:

Leaves, bark, twigs

Printer’s inks or poster or acrylic paints in various colors (cheaper to use)

Drawing pencils (optional)

Rice or bond paper in white or various light colors (works best with poster/acrylic paints)

Brown wrapping paper or construction paper for use with printer’s inks

Brayer (or roller)

Piece of glass

Newspaper

Solvent for cleaning brayer and glass if using printer’s inks unless using water-soluble printer’s inks

  1. Collect fresh leaves from the trees or bushes in your neighborhood or yard. You will need some to experiment with and some for the last print. Other objects such as tree bark (if it’s easy to peel off) and even some twigs will work along with the leaves, too.
  2. Cover your work surface with newspaper. Lay down the glass and brayer on the work surface. Select the paints or inks that you will use. Acrylic or poster paints are less expensive than oil-based printer’s inks and easier to clean up after use.
  3. You can squeeze one color for each leaf or squeeze two or three colors side-by-side on the glass. The leaves in the samples shown used one or two or three colors at one time.
  4. Roll the paint or inks on the glass until the pigment covers the brayer. If you are using more than one color, let the colors run into each other. Roll the brayer over the leaf several times and turning the leaf over, lay it on a piece of paper like rice paper or bond paper. Use your hand to press the leaf so that it prints on the paper. Paper that is not too thick or too thin is the best to use if using acrylic or poster paints. Printer’s inks can use a slightly heavier paper like construction or brown wrapping paper.
  5. Remove the leaf and see how it printed on the paper. Experiment until you have a print that you like. Experiment with other materials from nature combined with the leaves.
  6. To create a mixed media design, color the whites of the leaves or the background paper or outline the printed leaves with colored pencils. See the two samples below.
  7. Frame the print or using old note card stationery, make note cards or poster cards of the printed leaves. They make a thoughtful gift for people who still write notes!
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About marion

I first wrote and sketched as a child growing up in Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, New York. I received her first recognition for my creativity when I won the New York City Schools Art Award and participated in my first art exhibit in downtown Manhattan. I was fourteen and a half when I moved to Cyprus with my family. I experienced culture shock but I continued to write about and sketch the sights and sounds of another country and many other things. I am a creative person. I write children's and Young Adult fiction and nonfiction. I write historical and Coming of Age Young Adult novels. I also write picture books and art books for elementary school children. I am in the process of writing a fictionalized biography of a member of the Belgian Resistance who also fought for the US Army during World War II. I worked as a freelance editor for two local companies: College Prowler and SterlingHouse Publisher. I also worked as an assistant literary agent for Lee Shore Agency. I was attending Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Program at the time and the experience was invaluable. My course work toward my Master of Arts degree in turn helped me at work. As an assistant literary agent, I reviewed all incoming manuscripts, cultivated a relationship with the writers we contracted and marketed our books to book publishers for sale. I “freelanced” my editing skills which included working with the manuscript acquisitions editor, selecting book covers with the art department, writing the book jacket blurb, reading film scripts and executing general office duties as assigned. Oh, by the way, I edited books, too. I even utilized Adobe InDesign for the editing that I did for College Prowler. I’ve also reviewed published books and conducted research. I have published nonfiction articles and books online and in print. As an artist, I have exhibited my mixed media drawings and collages nationally and regionally and have worked as a freelance designer and calligrapher. I have a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and a MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

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