Yr 6, William Morris – printing – Arts & Crafts – Europe

Observational Drawing

There are three types of observational drawing: landscape, figure and still life. Observational drawing is drawing what you see in front of you.

Collect a range of flowers, fruits and seed heads for example poppies. Arrange them into a pleasing composition, using the viewfinder look at the different viewpoints and then make three / four drawings in your sketchbook, from one of these drawing you will develop your motif for your printing plate.

Are you drawing all of the object or just some of it?

What are you interested in the whole shape or the fine detail?

What patterns can you see?

Subject specific vocabulary: pattern, motif and shapes

Top Tips

1.Look at what you are drawing. Your eyes must continually move backwards and forwards from what is in front of you to you drawing.
2.Draw from real objects, provides you with a rich source of information, 3D to 2D.
3.Avoid tracing, don’t do it – it lacks depth and detail.
4.Work with grids, this will help with size, position and proportion.
5.Keep the outlines faint (lightly use your pencil), and as your drawing develops the lines will too.
6.Value, use a good range of tones. Observe the light and dark areas.
7. To show surface quality and texture, use mark-making: hatching, cross hatching, dots, lines…
8.Consider which aspects of the still life are to be included or omitted.

What is printing?

Printmaking can be both simple or complex. The essence of the printmaking process is ‘repetition’ , you can make many copies from one block or plate. A printmaker will design their artwork and then transfer it onto a flat surface (block or plate), ink is then applied followed by transferring the design onto paper or fabric.

William Morris (1834 – 1896)

ArtistWilliam Morris
MovementArts & Crafts
Education Exeter Collage and Marlborough College
NotesA key figure in the Arts & Crafts Movement, Morris championed a principle of handmade production that didn’t chime with the Victorian era’s focus on industrial ‘progress’.
The Strawberry Thief, William Morris, 1883

What shapes and colours are predominant?

How does the design stand out from the background?

What colour scheme has been used? Is it harmonious or built up of colour contrasts?

How has the design been arranged? Is the design symmetrical?

Can you identify the lines of symmetry?


TitleThe Strawberry Thief
ArtistWilliam Morris
MakerMorris & Co.
PlaceLondon, UK
Dimensions (size)height 60.5 cm x width 95.2 cm
ObjectFurnishing fabrics
TechniquesBlock printing
NotesMorris was inspired to draw this design after finding thrushes (a type of bird) stealing fruit in his garden.

Despite the fact that this design was one of the most expensive printed furnishings available from Morris & Co., it became a firm favourite with clients.


  • printing block
  • brayer
  • inking up
  • tonal
  • observational
  • symmetry
  • repetition
  • rotation
  • translation
  • motif – a decorative image or design, especially a repeated one forming a pattern
  • asymmetrical
  • bold
Printmaking tools.
The process is still the same today!
Blackthorn, 1892
Honeysuckle, 1892
Daffodil, 1895
Evenlode, 1883
Rose, 1883