Sue Lindemulder, Art Teacher

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Dragon by Rey Chang

Music: Chutou Ge (Song of the Hoe )

III The Chop, Relief Print, and Ink Drawing

A four to five day lesson plan for 8th grade by Sue Lindemulder


  • Sketchbook (staple 6 to 8 sheets of newsprint or Xerox paper together)
  • Pencil
  • Black ink pen (use felt tip, Pilot, or black ballpoint --- each will give a different line width and density --- students might be encouraged to use more than one for variety in their work)


  1. Have students research the differences and similarities between western and eastern dragons. Look for examples in masterpieces of artwork like Saint George and the Dragon. Children's literature is a great source for pictures of dragons. Students may have books at home that could be used for inspiration.

  2. Students need to fill their sketchbook with pictures of dragons. Fill the page but do not extend the picture beyond the page. Show the dragon from different views. Is the dragon fearsome or friendly? Is it guarding or sleeping? Is it flying or fighting? One page might be filled with enlargements of one portion of the dragon (i.e. the claws or the eyes or even the texture found on the body, to be used as reference). Work only on the front of each page. Add more pages if necessary.

  3. Develop patches or examples of pattern that might be used on the dragon. Scatter them on the sketch pages. Almost any shape can be used. Pattern or texture is a regularly repeated shape or limited group of shapes. These are usually small and compressed. Use several different patters in each dragon for variety. A dense use of texture is necessary to overcome the underlying color of the relief print.

  4. Choose the best sketch and make adjustments or changes. Trace over the contour lines (the major lines or edges). Do not worry about detail or pattern at this point. Tapes the chosen sketch to the back of the relief print and trace using a light box. If a light box is not available tape to a window. A flashlight held outside will help if the light is minimal. A place of glass can be placed over two stacks of books with a flashlight placed beneath. If none of these is possible trace over the lines of the sketch several times with a number 2 pencil (or darker). Invert the sketch over the relief print and heavily apply pencil to the back of the area that is to be transferred. The pencil will transfer to the printed surface.

  5. Using black ink trace the lines that have been transferred and then fill in the detail and texture. Add texture until the dragon is visible when seen from about five feet away or further. Students usually need to use three or four more times the amount of texture than they think they need.

  6. Use a red marker; apply the ink to the base of the chop. Stamp the image in the lower right hand corner just below the print. When dry sign over the chop.

California Visual Arts Standards, for the eighth grade used include 2.1, 4.1, and 4.3

Examples of completed student work:

by Julie Kim

by Jonathan Shao

by Nick Gallardo

by Rey Chang

by Julia Chang