Seventh and eighth grade students learned about Illuminated Manuscripts from the Middle Ages. We discussed hand-written books, the invention of the printing press, and then need for visual art as a means of teaching the illiterate. Each student then used the knowledge they gained during this research and discussion stage to design an illuminated version of their own first initial.
I encourage students to find visual images that represented their interests and personalities and suggested they consider alliteration when possible. These directions led to some very clever and creative illuminations.
After designing their letter on paper, students transferred their design to a block of linoleum and carved out the negative spaces around their letter. Students created a series of prints using a variety of colors and framed their favorite pieces in a repeating series.