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The Corner Toolkit  >  Themed activities  >  The Corner goes Strait Home  >  Collect

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TSI inspired prints


Using children's prints featured in Dr. Barbara Piscitelli AM Children's Art Archive at State Library of Queensland, created by children of Erub Island in the Torres Strait as inspiration. This activity will see children designing and creating their very own prints. Like many Torres Strait Islander print-makers, we encourage children to tell a story or use their imagination or memories as inspiration. 


Print making is a very common art practice among many Torres Strait Islander artists. Most Torres Strait Islander artists such as Dennis Nona, Rosie Barkus and Alick Tipoti are inspired by marine life, cultural stories, and family histories which they incorporate into their print designs.  

Key Concepts

Key Language

Stories, inspiration, printing, designing, drawing and imagination.


Printing foam 15cm x 15cm
Newspaper or cover sheet
Drawing tools eg: pencil, eraser and sharpener
Printing tools eg: plastic fork, paddle pop stick, tooth pick
Water colour/Acrylic paint
Paint roller or brush
A4 paper

Activity steps

Step 1: Story-telling

Explain the printing activity to the children and show them the finished prototype. Ask children to think about what sort of story or picture they would like to tell in the design of their print – explain that most Torres Strait Islander print-makers are inspired by cultural stories, marine life and family/cultural history.

Show images of prints by Torres Strait Islander print makers and Children prints from Erub featured in Dr. Barbara Piscitelli AM Children's Art Archive at the State Library. Look at the similarities and differences noting that design can be very simple. 

Check the gallery of prints by children from Hope Vale, North Queensland for inspiration.

Strategic questions:

Step 2: Design

Using a pencil get children to sketch their story onto the printing foam, explaining different types of drawing techniques such as sketching and shading:

Sketching: To make a rough drawing or design
Shading: Darkening or colouring of an illustration with parallel lines or a block of colour.

Also explain that when their print is being printed that is will be displayed in reserve on the paper eg: any text they wish to include in their drawing will need to be written backwards.

Strategic questions:

Step 3: Etching

Explain to the group the properties of each of the etching tools and explain different qualities for each:

Using these tools children will trace, etch, outline and shade their drawings.

Step 4: Painting

Choose a colour for the print, using the paint roller or brush children will need to paint over the printing foam lightly.

Strategic questions:

Step 5: Printing

Once the printing board has been painted, assist the child in turning over the board onto paper, gently press down – holding down the paper ask the child to carefully lift up the printing foam off the paper. This will create their very own print on paper.

Strategic questions:




Last updated: 23rd September 2011

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Themed Activities:
The Corner goes Strait Home

For more information please contact the State Library of Queensland's Literacy and Young People Service at