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Student Projects

Influential Imprints

Authors: Dan Allen, Jorge Cerna

Grade: 11th

Subjects: Art, Humanities

project photo: Influential Imprints
project photo: Influential Imprints
project photo: Influential Imprints
project photo: Influential Imprints

What have the History Books left out? How have our most influential leaders been misrepresented or not represented at all?

Students were tasked with researching a famous historical figure. Writing a revisionist history for that person and creating an intaglio print of that person or something to do with their life or struggle.


Students work in partnerships (groups of three and/or four) and come together to propose who they believe is the most influential person in American history. After the groups picked their leader, students then researched and crafted a presentation to explain their argument and persuade peers that their leader is the most influential. After all presentations were completed students individually voted on a scale from 1-5 to determine what they deserved based off of groups ability to deliver topic.



First students learned about positive and negative ground. Next students learned about continuity, figure ground, and closure. Students then showed their knowledge of topics by making scratchboards. Individually students chose a black and white picture printed it out and chalked the back to transfer the image from the printer paper to the scratchboard. Students transferred the image by tracing all the lines they saw in the image and either scratched out the positive or negative. Once students perfected their skills they applied the same knowledge to a copper plate. Students used whitening powder to clean their copper plate and put a hard ground on top of copper plates and did the same process as the scratch board and scratched out either the positive or negative ground of their image. After the etching was done students put their copper plate in an acid bath and cleaned their plates. Finally students put ink on their plate and put cardstock paper on the printing press to make a print.

Students’ fully illustrated essays were published into a class book entitled “Influential Imprints”. Students created research papers and intaglio prints to furnish the book.

  • Discuss how drawing and printmaking are more than a visual record
  • Distinguish between actual and visual texture in art works
  • Describe how patterns are created by repeating previously learned visual elements—line shape, mass, color
  • Define and identify the principles of design and demonstrate how artists use them to organize the elements within a composition.
  • Identify and illustrate the principles of balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial)
  • Indicate methods used by artists to express emphasis in a composition
  • Define and distinguish between scale and proportion
  • Define and illustrate the use of repetition and rhythm in a work of art
  • Recognize the connection between unity and variety in works of art
  • Solve a visual arts problem that involves the effective use of the elements of art and the principles of design.
  • Prepare a portfolio of original two-and three-dimensional works of art that reflects refined craftsmanship and technical skills.
  • Develop and refine skill in the manipulation of digital imagery (either still or video). Review and refine observational drawing skills

Students published a revisionist history book that is fully illustrated with their own artwork

Finding an interesting and compelling way to exhibit students’ research essays is daunting task. Using the “real world” as a starting point, we found that book illustration is a beautiful way to combine the needs of both artist and authors. Students discussed the need for the pictures to tell a story as well. And how pulling inspiration for their descriptive writings helped influence their images.

What were my strengths in this project?
Doing research is a favorite aspect of writing for me because I can read sources in order to find the ‘gems’ that can be used later on in writing or in presentations.

What was the biggest struggle/obstacle for during this project?
The biggest challenge for me in this project has been figuring how to write about Clara Barton’s flaws. While researching her I only found some shortfalls that Clara had. Among these included overworking herself and having the occasional affair with some man. I tried to research these affairs but very little information came up which would have been useful for writing an essay. Due to this I decided to write about Clara’s depression as the thing that is underrepresented about her character.

What did I learn about myself during this project?
It is important to think about the subject matter of an essay before writing it. You have to make sure that you have enough substance to analyze and choose quotes or citations from.