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2008 Unit B

Grade level: High school
Discipline: Visual arts 2D

Teacher name
Email address
School or District
James Rinderle
Collegiate Academy
Laura Bauer
Moravian College
Annette Bradshaw
Cochranton Junior-Senior High
Kevin Goss
Elizabethtown Area High School

Title of unit: Japanese Influenced Portraits
Overview: For this unit students will explore cultural and visual research on Japanese culture (spiritual, historical, geographic, arts, etc.) and identify evidence of direct and indirect influences in a portrait (self-selected medium) and create a self portrait showing Japanese influences.
Time needed to complete the unit: 10-15 class periods

Big idea: Cultural influences are revealed in portraiture, directly and indirectly.
Essential question(s): How does Japanese portraiture reveal cultural influences?
Summative task: Students will produce a self portrait with evidence of research in direct and indirect Japanese influences in a two-dimensional medium.

PA Academic Standards
Content Indicators
(What students will know)
Process Indicators
(What students will do to demonstrate knowledge of the content)
(1) R11.A.2.1 Identify and apply the meaning of vocabulary in nonfiction.

(2) M11.D.1 Demonstrate an understanding of patterns, relations and functions

(3) 9.2.11E Analyze how historical events and culture impact forms, techniques and purposes of works in the arts.

(4) 9.3.11.A Explain and apply the critical examination processes of works in the arts and humanities.

(5) 9.4.A Evaluate an individual’s philosophical statement on a work in the arts and its relationship to one’s own life based on knowledge and experience.

(6) 9.1.11.B Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principles to produce, review and revise original works in the arts.
1) Students will know terminology that describes portraits, Japanese culture and relief/woodblock printmaking.

(2) Students will understand that portraiture deals with approximate proportion.

(3) Students understand the direct and indirect influences of Japanese history, beliefs and values have on Japanese art.

(4) Students will know the steps of the Feldman Approach to evaluate an art work from an Imitationalist, Emotionalist or Formalist perspective.

(5) Students will know the effects that viewing Eastern art has on their own work

(6) Students will know that self portraits can communicate personal qualities.
(1) Students will participate in a review game/puzzle/iPod assessment. ( to evaluate their knowledge of vocabulary acquired during the unit.

(2) Students will show (present in a critique) evidence of correct use of mathematical proportions the development process through sketches, image collection, reflective writing as they prepare their composition.

(3) Student will research and present aspects of Japanese culture and its correlation to Japanese art.

(4) Students will participate in a critique session using the hats of criticism forum or the Feldman Approach.

(5) Students will evaluate the work of their peers in a classroom critique.

(6) Students will create a self portrait relief print using two dimensional medium that illustrates Japanese influence and personal qualities.

Teacher materials needed:
(1) PowerPoint slide show of portraits w/ examples of self-portrait of time/culture/style
(1) KWL chart
(1) Presentation Handout (describing expectations for research presentation)
(2) Storyboard Materials
(2) Rubrics (student and teacher copies)
(2) Tracks of Japanese music (i.e. Taiko drumming, Shakuhachi, etc.)
Artlex Art Database:
Artcyclopedia Artist Database:
Met Museum Timeline of Art History:
Podcast of Japanese Landscape & Gardening:
Scholastic Art&Man magazines on Japanese Woodblock/Hokusi
Everything Woodblock:
Philadelphia Museum kit on Japan:
Floating World of Ukiyo-e Online-Exhibit:
Student materials needed:
(1/2) Pencils
(1/2) Sketchbook
(1) Rulers
(1/2) Technology Resources
(2) Sketchbooks
(2) Computer/iPod Lab Access
(2) Pencils
(2) Various Art Materials (pertaining to student projects)
(2) Rulers
(2) Inks
(2) Brayers/Printing Press
(2) Printing Paper
(2) Wood/Linoleum/Soft-Cut/Styrofoam
(2) Chisels/Carving Tools
(2) Aprons
(2) Newspaper

Unit vocabulary: Brayer - rolling tool to apply ink to plate
Baren - The circular tool used to apply pressure to the paper.
Printing Plate-device that carries the image to be printed and is applied directly to paper
Genga - 'Original drawing'
Sankaku-to (Gouge) - Triangular chisel ('V' - shaped)
Suri - "Printing"
Woodblock-a print made by cutting a design in side-grain of a block of wood
Edition-signed and numbered series of prints
Kento - Register marks
Portrait-a work of art that represents a specific person
Self-Portrait-a portrait an artist makes using himself/herself as its subject
Asymmetry-when one side of a composition does not mirror the design of the other
Background-the part of a picture or scene that appears to be further away from the viewer
foreground-the area of a picture or field of vision that appears closer to the viewer
Bijin – terms for "beautiful women"
Bonsai - The art of cultivating dwarfing trees and means " tray planting" introduced into Japan by China during Kamakura period with Zen.
Hanga – Japanese word for prints
Ikebana - The art of flower arrangement.
Sumie, Sumi-e, - Pictures drawn with Chinese ink, using only the variation of its density and shade. It arrived to Japan from China during Kamakura period. Fit to the taste of samurai who loved the simplicity along with Zen, it became the main stream of Japanese pictures. Initially the religious theme predominating, it shifted gradually to the natural subjects such as mountains and rivers (Sansuiga).
Shodo, Shodou - Originated from China, the calligraphy had been considered an art that every intellectual of east Asian countries should master. Until the beginning of Heian period, in the 9th century, Japanese style had been virtually same as Chinese because of frequent diplomatic and cultural missions. Since then Japan has developed her own style (Wa-yo), in particular after works of a genius Japanese calligrapher, "Ono no Tofu". The appearance of Japanese own characters, "kana" had also strengthened this difference.
Irezumi, Shisei – Art of Japanese tattoo had been widely practiced among Japanese people in former times. This custom had gradually disappeared by Chinese influence because for them it was a kind of punishment applied to criminals. Modern tattooing as an art appeared during Edo period, first among criminals then hard labor workers to show their courage.
Kakemono - Picture put on a luxurious role paper and admired while vertically hung on the wall. Introduced during Heian period to Japan as a practical mean to represent Buddhist figures, it had become a medium for any pictures or calligraphy thanks to a development of "tokonoma" in Muromachi period. Being easily interchangeable following a seasonal change, it has become very popular in traditional houses. Don't confuse with "makimono" which should be scrolled horizontally.
Kimono - Japanese clothes were born in the middle of Heian period when the newly-risen samurai class adopted "Kariginu", literally "clothes for hunts", of the court's aristocrats because of its commodity for moves.
Nishikie - Polychrome Ukiyoe art technique invented by Suzuki Harunobu around in 1765. Initiated by Hishikawa Moronobu at early Edo period, until this date Ukiyoe had only one (Sumizuri-e) or few colors (Tan-e and Benizuri-e). By superposing dozens of different color printing, each color showing light and shade, he succeeded to create the world's first full color printing. Since the invention of Harunobu, Ukiyoe had risen to the biggest popular art of Edo period.
Ukiyoe - Woodprint art appeared in Edo period. Thanks to a long warless state and prosperous merchant activity, this form of art had been extremely popular in Japan. The preferred subjects were at the beginning the face of actors and beautiful girls, but shifted later to the famous landscapes and travel scenery. Katsushika Hokusai and Ando Hiroshige were among the most famous artists. Ukiyoe means "pictures of the floating world" in Japanese.
Unit warm-up: none
Assessing Prior Knowledge: KWL Chart

Lesson 1

Instruction (Lesson plan)
Formative assessment
The teacher will introduce students to themes and terminology in Japanese art and assign investigation topics (nature in art, expression, dress/costume, etc) to cooperative groups for presentations.
1) The lesson will be introduced with a Multimedia (power point or a/v) presentation of self-portraits (vary cultures/ traditional/ contemporary) using appropriate vocabulary accompanied by visual examples. Slides can be printed for discussion activity of observed direct and indirect characteristics of portraits using a KWL chart to organize and guide learning. Special learners make visual vocab flashcards.
2) Preview Woodblock printing process w/ Japanese exemplars w/ images and distribute project rubric. Show woodblock printing process podcast.
3) Set up Cooperative Research Groups with assumed roles (i.e., reporter, critic, etc.) for topic exploration (e.g., Japanese art + Nature, Dress, Society, etc.). Students will prepare a visual presentation in a form of their choice and 5 review questions on topic. ESL students may work in smaller self selected audiences for group presentations. Special Learners could work on a Timeline activity. Gifted students would take the opportunity to explore a particular topic or plan for method of display.
4) Students discuss Western & Eastern examples using Critical Analysis.
1&2) Assess prior knowledge using KWL, then use to assess knowledge of direct and indirect influences under "L"
3) Assess presentation for direct/indirect influences, vocabulary and administer an assessment of understanding of influences and vocabulary from presentations & research.
4) Discussion using Critical Analysis student checklist for participation and understanding of traditional Japanese influences and aesthetic implications.
Accommodations for special learners
Accommodations for ESL students
Enrichment for gifted learners
Specific Learning Disability (ADHD, Autism, Speech/Language)
Common Accommodations:
Cooperative learning: research groups for specific sub-tasks in presentation for cuing and motivation
Rubric & Process Instructions: Post for self prompting of expectations in a visual manner
Podcast: provide for a personal "visual" review of woodblock printing process as needed
Student generated Flash cards: provides images and vocabulary for repetition for learning
Autism & S/L Disability:
Produce a visual timeline of Japanese art work in a specific period to present as a display
KWL chart
Cooperative learning: Place students into research groups for presentation
Present vocabulary terms with visual examples
Allow students to self-select audiences for group presentations
Research a specific Impressionist artist and examine the body of work for direct and indirect Japanese influence.
Research a contemporary Japanese artist for their influence.
Relate Japanese examples to real life examples
Research their own family geneaology for cultural context.
Compare 2D with 3D Japanese portraits.
Plan a presentation of research work (e.g. web, school announcements, etc.)

Lesson 2

Instruction (Lesson plan)
Formative assessment
The students will use information gathered from classroom discussion and research to express direct and indirect Japanese cultural influences in their self-portraits.
1) Individual teacher/student conferences will be held. The student will share sketches and personal insights. The teacher will make appropriate suggestions regarding medium, content, etc.
2) The teacher will present a storyboard on proportion and the griding process, using repetition to emphasize essential content. The students will begin to layout their ideas using this process.
3) Teacher will demonstrate woodcut (relief) methods from plate preparation up to and including print multiple images. Personal safety while working will be emphasized. Teacher could demonstrate methods of multi color printing
4)As students execute self-portraits various Japanese music styles will be played.
5) When finished with their self-portraits the students will evaluate their work using a student rubric.
6) The teacher will display the artwork in the school or community. The students' sketchbooks and finished self-portraits will be displayed.
1-6) Student/teacher discussions, progress journal checks & class critiques to confirm understanding of grid use, portrait proportion, cultural connections and printmaking methods.
Accommodations for special learners
Accommodations for ESL students
Enrichment for gifted learners
Specific Learning Disability (ADHD, Autism, Speech/Language)
Common Accommodations:
Storyboard: Use to visually explain proportion through the use of a grid system
Allow extended time for final self portrait
Place students near teacher or in an area of the room with limited distractions
Small practice/sample work
Specifically for Autism:
Student selection of own medium to create a final self portrait
Soft-Cut material instead of wood.
Storyboard: Use to visually explain proportion through the use of a grid system
Student-teacher conference with teacher (more frequently or as needed)
Repetition of instruction
Self selected media
Multi-colored print using more than one printing plate
Experiment with other processes i.e. paper making


Below Basic
Japanesese Influence
Evidence of direct and indirect Japanese influence is apparent in the composition in highly unified manner (i.e., floating world, layered references, imaginative, etc.).
Evidence of direct and indirect Japanese influence is apparent in the composition. (i.e., Japanese pattern, landscapes, asymmetrical arrangement, flatness of space, etc.)
Only evidence of direct Japanese influence is apparent in the composition (i.e. simplified forms, symbols, etc.)
No evidence of direct or indirect Japanese influence in the composition.
Medium Techniques
Medium is pushed to its limit with unique, expressive and personal style (i.e., multi color, correct registration, clean margins, identified correctly, etc.)
Medium is used with some personal experimentation of techniques (i.e. distinct positive/negative lines, color and shapes, clear print, etc.).
Medium is overworked or used typically to complete what was required. (too much or too little removed, stray marks, muddy, etc.)
Medium is applied in an undeveloped manner with a lack of technical understanding (i.e. many visual imperfections, missed procedures, etc.)
Work shows obvious evidence of planning in study and preliminary sketches that shows deep understanding that culminates in a successful self portrait.
Work shows evidence of planning in study and preliminary sketches that culminates in a successful self-portrait.
Work shows evidence of planning in study & preliminary sketches display references to the self-portrait.
Work shows a lack of planning with few preliminary sketches and weak connections to the self-portrait.

Unit accommodations for students not proficient on summative task: Students will receive a one-on-one critique from the teacher. The teacher will make suggestions to improve the students' work and allow the student additional time to improve/ make adjustments to their work.
Unit accommodations for ESL students: none
Unit enrichments: Students will create a multi-colored woodblock print series related to Japanese culture.

Student Work Samples and Teacher Reflection

James Rinderle - This lesson was presented to an art studio one class. the class consisted of mostly freshmen, with little or no experience in the printmaking experience. i decided to have them work in acrylics as the medium since they were just coming off an assignment in which they work with acrylics. I allowed them to also use themselves or a parent as the main figure in their composition. I divided the class into groups of four and assigned them a topic to research and present to the class. they could use powerpoint, displays or a short video they created. The presentations were of Japanese culture, history, dress, and woodblock printing. We viewed and discussed examples of Japanese woodblock portraits. Each student started out by creating thumbnail sketches using a photo of themselves or a parent. Color was added to these preliminary drawings with prismacolor colored pencils. The thumbnails were critiqued by the class and modified before the actual work was started.
I plan to reteach this assignment with woodblock printing as the vehicle for creation but I would have students do a setup assignment in woodblock first. The class really enjoyed learning from each other about the Japanese culture.

Below Basic

Laura Bauer -

Annette Bradshaw - The lesson took students much more time than originally planned.
We discussed the idea of self and how it could be represented directly with Japanese influence. Students researched the culture as well as looked at the history of woodblock printing and the “floating world” examples. We then took time to share how the Japanese culture could have indirect influence in our lives and self-image. Students were interested in this idea, but when it came down to representing their ideas and rough drafts, most all had succumbed to iconic symbols.
When constructing the lesson, I wanted the students to experience woodblock printing with more than one block for simple color prints. As the preliminary sketches of their ideas were prepared, some included much intricate detail. Carving the block of wood proved difficult. Once students realized that the carving process did not give them the detail that they wanted to achieve, we simplified the lesson in using just one block of wood.
A student teacher placement arrived at that particular time and I wanted to finish the lesson. The student teacher recommended a medium that the University’s printing students had used before. As I came to find out, there are several brand names for the same material…..a compressed PVC board in varying thicknesses. It was costly but I was able to pick up scrap pieces for them to try since the wood carving was not going as I had hoped. The students could choose to start fresh on the PVC board, or continue with the wood. The results that are displayed were completed in varying ways. Some tried using the PVC but used a reduction printing method. Others continued with the wood block, but added color with color pencils. Other students chose not to add any color at all. Student written reflections reiterated their frustration about the carving process, but the majority was satisfied with their results of their portrait.
I will do the lesson again, but I would like to create additional lesson plans incorporating Japanese history, culture and heritage etc. to optimize the assemblage of student self-image directly or indirectly.
I hesitate showing my own examples because I do not want to influence the outcome with limited solutions of the task. I will use the student examples and do other research to find artist illustrations for future classes in discussion and when presenting the rubric. I will opt to use an easier carving material if choosing to simulate woodblock printing. And, I will also allow for more time to complete all objectives and include in the curriculum.

Below Basic

Kevin Goss - Second semester art students were inspired for this unit by researching Japanese Ukiyo-e prints available on the Library of Congress website. We discussed and looked at other artists who exhibited Japonisme, the influence of the Japanese culture and aesthetic on their work (e.g. Cassatt, Toulouse-Lautrec, ect) which led to a discussion of this same phenomenon today (e.g. Manga, feng shui, ect.). Students were encouraged to dissect compositional and contextual elements of the Ukiyo-e prints and make connections to they way they see themselves. Stimulating their senses and discussion about how these qualities are part of the fabric of Japanese culture was facilitated by podcasts of Kabuki theatre, Geisha dance and music. Students used Photoshop, working in layers to simulate the line quality and simplified colors Ukiyo-e. Filters, paint and photo layers and cloned prints were used to create a self-portrait. Students were very engaged in the activity and deepened their understanding of Japanese culture.

Below Basic