Creating a Personal Symbol

Creating a Personal Symbol

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After studying the work of Keith Haring, these high school students created their own personal symbols on woodblocks. The symbols were then printed on to an item of clothing and incorporated into a banner.


Students will be able to create a personal symbol.

Students will have complete a positive and a negative etching from a 4" x 6" piece of linoleum or wood.

Students will learn how to apply their design to fabric using printmaking methods


Scholastic Art & Man Magazine:
Keith Haring: Working with symbols. (1998, April/May). Scholastic Art, 28(6), entire issue.


4" x 6" (10.2cm x 15.2cm) Newsprint
Item of clothing (ie: tee-shirt, hat- you can get a 6 pack of white tees) 4" x 6" (10.2cm x 15.2cm) Linoleum for printmaking (or clear pine)
Woodcutting tools
Water-based, acrylic printmaking ink
Fabric medium
Inking plates (also used to maintain position of plate while carving)
Items of clothing students would like to print on
Several yards of a solid color frabric (for banners)


Students create three 4" x 6" drawings, using Haring's style, to develop personal symbols.

Students choose their favorite symbol and transfer it to a 4" x 6" piece of Soft Cut (linoleum).

Students carve a positive image of the symbol on one side of the soft cut and then a negative image on the other side of the soft cut.

Students print a pattern using the soft cut and fabric inks onto an item of clothing they have brought from home.

Students print a row each of the positive and negative side of their soft cut onto a banner.


Describe your symbol.
How did you come up with your symbol?
Does your symbol relate to any of the symbols your classmates created? How?
Is there anything you would like to change about your symbol?
How did making a symbol personally affect your design choices?

Describe the entire printmaking process from designing your image to pulling a print.
What were the tools you used? How did they function?
What did you learn about making a print?
Why is making a print better at times than just making one drawing?
Can you think of some examples of printed things? Things you might see everyday? Are these prints considered art? What makes your print art and printed newspapers or milk cartons not art?

What did the work of Keith Haring help us to understand about making our symbols?
What do you think Haring was trying to talk about by using symbols?
Symbols are accessible to many people, how does this relate to prints being a viable source of reproducing an image many times?


Each student printed a row of positive and a row of negative designs onto fabric. this created 3 banners to display around campus. The work received overwhelming praise!