Identity part 3 – printmaking

Students are introduced to the practice of screen printing through a portraiture case study of Shephard Fairey.

Students will use the structural frame to influence print making subtly challenging the audience using post modern techniques.


  • 5.1 develops range and autonomy in selecting and applying visual arts conventions and procedures to make artworks
  • 5.2 makes artworks informed by their understanding of the function of and relationships between the artist – artwork – world – audience
  • 5.3 makes artworks informed by an understanding of how the frames affect meaning


5 weeks.

Driving question

How do artists challenge their audience?


Students develop a screen print portrait that poses to challenge the art audience. They will follow the practice of screen printing and appropriate techniques to layer an artwork into a new composition, shaping meaning through referencing art history.

  • Information and communication technology
  • Civics and citizenship
  • Literacy


All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

Students will:

Students will:

  1. watch the video Shephard Fairey, the Artist behind the iconic Barak Obama campaign and official inauguration poster
  2. adapt the YouTube into a play and perform it for the class
  3. play the improvisation game a Day in the Life as Shephard Fairey and discuss as a class
  4. investigate the Shepard Fairey on political art website containing interviews and an example of 'prelude'
  5. review the Shepard Fairey Poster exhibition held in 2010 at the Australian National Portrait Gallery. Using this website as a stimulus
    1. pretend they are collating a collection of portraits for the 'National Gallery of Australia'. In their art journals reflect on what individuals would they include and why are they significant?
    2. create a concept map of the iconic figures mentioned above Consider the issues and relevant movements within the world at the present point in time
    3. create a list of their top ten celebrities or iconic figures with images and explanations beside them.
  6. sketch a black and white image of their chosen favourite iconic figure or celebrity from above, on an A4 to A3 sized paper.

Students may use programs such Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Take them through the steps of creating layers to simplify the image to a construct of filters to show contrast within the redesigned image as in the Shephard Fairey example below. For assistance with this, use the Introduction to Photoshop worksheet (PDF 4.34 MB).

6 repeated images of Barack Obama, each processed using different filters and layers. 6 repeated images of Barack Obama, each processed using different filters and layers.
Image: Example of artwork

There are different ways to develop your stencils for screen printing in the classroom. One method is to trace or print the design onto an A4 sized label. Cut this out and stick it directly onto the silk screen.

Students will:

  • write notes on the process and procedures in their visual arts process diaries
  • create an annotated checklist of the process
  • draw a comic about a character completing the screen printing.

Watch the videos below about various processes and procedures of screen printing.

  1. Image transfer to stencil
  2. Stencil cutting
  3. Setting up the silkscreen and Intro to Stencil Screen printing
  4. Printmaking in layers.

Students can follow along with each workshop and make their own art. Remind students about the Work Health and Safety (WH&S) policies and procedures for how to work with and handle equipment and materials.

Written responses are documented and shared within collaborative discussion facilitated by the teacher.

Students are to:

  • document the process of their artmaking within a journal. This can be their visual arts process diary, or an online blog through sites such as Google classroom
  • photograph or sketch the process used
  • write a response about the process.



Students are to:

  • add text into their silk screen design to add an additional layer of meaning
  • write a review of a particular piece of Shepard Fairey's artwork with particular focus on colour and composition.

Life skills


  • LS 7 explores how ideas and interests in the world can be represented in their artmaking.

Students are to follow the instructions for making a screen print in the YouTube Introduction to screen printing. The design can be altered for their making, at the teacher's discretion.


Feedback is formative for the duration of the project.

This sequence and accompanying worksheets are available as word documents below.


Please note:

Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Visual Arts 7–10 Syllabus (2003) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017.

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