Monday, November 28, 2016

Drawing Boot Camp Year 2

Last year I tried out boot camps to introduce new media to my high school graphic design students- the idea is to let them test and learn about the different media quickly instead of doing a multi-week project focused on building skills. You can read about what I did last year HERE.

This year I tried a few different things, listed below.

  1. Contour line drawing- hands or objects, just focusing on the lines. I brought a ton of still life objects in to the classroom from which the students could choose. I have a collection of old cameras, objects from nature like shells, starfish, and nests, old cooking utensils, etc. Students spent at least a day just drawing from observation using pencil.

  2. Perspective- one and two point comparison. Assess prior knowledge- what is perspective in drawing? Use block or cube to demonstrate.
    Show tip in a minute perspective video
    Do a demonstration of one and two point perspective (block letters and cubes)
    Students spent the class period practicing perspective drawing.
    • Block letter name or word
    • One point perspective street
    • Floating forms
    • Two point perspective building
    • Set up scene with building blocks and draw with one or two point perspective

  3. Shading- differences in pencils types, hatching, rendering, following contours, blending stumps, start light and build to dark. Create value scale, practice shading a sphere, or shade the drawing started for the contour drawing day.
    Let's just pretend my pencils are still organized.
  4. Ink techniques/Composition- patterned animal. I knew students would need a project that they could work on in a different classroom with minimal supplies while we took school pictures for 4 days. This was pretty much a confidence booster for students.
    Select animal, draw contour large to fill the space. Optional: take a quiz to choose animal that fits personality. Can add a few anatomical details- eyes, edges of appendages, but should initially look like a coloring book drawing. Next, the students started adding patterns. I talked about how to create a pattern, how to divide space and make composition logical within the animal chosen.

  5. Color- colored pencil layering and blending, following contours, creating textures, shading with complements, cool colors recede and warm come forward, oil pastels blend to look like paint. Students chose a colorful magazine swatch to match with either colored pencil or oil pastels.
  6. Charcoal/chalk pastels- Demonstrated charcoal starting with ground and drawing back in with eraser. I talked about how to hold the stick, how to blend, how to fix and protect. I compared and contrasted to dry pastels and explained the difference between oil pastels and 'chalk' pastels. Students explored one or both media for the class period.
  7. For the last part of boot camp, students were to make a completed still life drawing using any of the media covered. They had the option of working back into a drawing started during boot camp or starting something new. A couple students decided to try the ArtProf challenge of creating a charcoal self portrait from observation and I let them substitute that.

Probably half of the still life drawings have not yet been finished (or not turned in) and we're nearing the end of the semester. They had time at the end of boot camp to finish up the patterned animals and still life, and I said they could come back to one if they finished another assignment early later in the semester. I encouraged students to bring in an object that was meaningful or interesting to them for their still life drawings but most didn't, and then weren't that engaged with the object they chose from my stash. Or at least not engaged enough to spend multiple class periods on it. I don't know exactly how I will handle that part of boot camp next year, but I was pretty pleased with how it went introducing media and practicing some skills. Soon I will share about what we did for painting boot camp this year and then move on to our first themed project- Unsung Heroes!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

New Kwik Stix!

I have written before about my love for Kwik Stix so when they asked me if I'd like to try out their new products- Kwik Stix "metalix" and "neons" I jumped at the chance. I think these are one of my almost 6 year old's favorite art supplies, right up there with sharpies.  We had a lot of fun testing out the new colors/finishes and we got a jump start on making some Christmas projects.
I think the Metalix are my favorites of the new finishes but my son loves Neon. Either way, it's fun to have more color options to mix in with the 12 color set we have. Kwik Stix dry super fast so they aren't very messy to use. More important to me than being "neat" is that they are bold! They are about the size of a small glue stick so they are easy for little hands to hold and make a big impact. This art product would be a great stocking stuffer.  The Neons, Metalix, and basic color sets are now available in Target stores and if you're more of an online shopper, I've also seen them on Amazon and the basic colors on Dick Blick
We started with Christmas trees. My son wanted to make the whole living room so he also included a chair in his artwork.
I wanted to see how the colors would layer so I did each color in mostly one line.
We're into recycling around here so I pulled out a granola bar box and we made some colorful Christmas ornaments that we'll hang on our tree if we can still find them when it's time to decorate. :)

Thanksgiving is my husband's favorite holiday so we also made a turkey on a board that we'll turn into a hanging decoration. He drew the turkey from observing a photo in an old bird guide book.

Back to more Christmas- I got curious as to how the colors would look on colored construction paper. I took a picture from two different views so you can see how the light plats on the Metalix.
Why not go ahead and try it out on black paper too? The silver shows up really well on black. The other colors don't show up quite as well on such a dark surface.

Guys, I know I keep using the word excited, but this was new to me and I think it's brilliant. One of my art teacher friends, Casi Jo, texted me a couple weeks ago and said that you can use Kwik Stix for printmaking, so I had to test that out, too. We used the foam printmaking sheets you can order super cheap (or you can recycle a foam meat tray) and my son made his image by pressing his drawing into the surface with a dull pencil. Next, he chose a color and went over the whole surface with a Kwik Stick? Stix? Anyway, the next step is to just cover the plate with a piece of paper, rub it making sure to get all the edges, and then peel the paper up to reveal the print. You don't even need to soak the paper or spray the surface! So easy! Just be careful on the edges of the plate because your fingers will lift off the paint. Try working from the center out.

We had so much fun testing out the new Kwik Stix! I can't wait to see what this company develops in the future.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Presidential Campaign Designs

Ever since I took the Visual Culture & Studio Practice class from UNK as part of my Master's program, I've been thinking about assignments that could come up in election seasons. With this year's presidential election generating crazy amounts of animosity, I thought it would be good to try to avoid drama in my classroom and get students to think about the actual qualities they would want in their ideal candidate, instead of their name or political party. My computer graphics class seemed like a good place to tackle presidential campaign designs.

Besides the big ideas of reading images and thinking about political issues and character traits instead of labels, I also wanted students to see the difference between logos and posters, because a lot of people tend to make logos that have way too much going on in the design! We did a critique toward the end of the assignment and gave suggestions to several students on how to correct that mistake.
Is Harambe a "thing" at your school like he is at mine?
The lesson plan is below, and you can also "keep" it on the smARTteacher. The slides presentation, planning sheet, and rubric are linked at the very bottom.

Katie Morris
Jackson Heights High School

Lesson Title: Presidential Campaign Design Package

Rationale: This lesson is intended to teach students graphic design principles, how to visually communicate a message, and how to “read” images in our visual culture.

Essential Questions: How do images affect us? How do you read an image? What is the goal of a campaign poster? How can we design images to communicate a message?

  1. The students will discuss a variety of campaign posters from the past & present.
  2. The students will evaluate the effectiveness of campaign package designs- logos, posters, and websites.
  3. The students will brainstorm qualities they would want in an ideal presidential candidate and the opposites.
  4. The students will create a campaign package including a logo and poster that communicates the qualities they would want in a president.
  5. The students will participate in peer critiques about their work.
  6. The students will write an artist statement explaining their idea and purposes for their design choices.
  7. Optional: The students will work in groups to plan, direct, act in, and edit a campaign ad for a made up presidential candidate.

Procedure: This lesson is estimated to take 10 class periods, or more if the students create a video.
Day 1: The teacher will start with a disclaimer that though we will be discussing political ads, we will focus on the design choices and what they communicate, not making negative comments about politicians we don’t agree with. Discussions should be respectful and on-topic.
The class will view a slides presentation featuring different campaign ads, historic and modern. They will discuss design elements and what/how they communicate. What do the designs communicate about what kind of president they would be?
Next, students will brainstorm a list of qualities they look for or would want in an ideal candidate, as well as their opposites. The class will share their thoughts and discuss. The teacher will explain the assignment: design a campaign package- logo, poster, possibly a website (blog), and video- for someone who is NOT currently a politician. The idea is to focus more on the ideas about what would make a good president instead of on a real person. The poster designs could be sincere or satirical- using the opposite of the good qualities to poke fun or make a point.  The teacher will remind students of the differences between a logo and a poster. A logo is much simpler and more versatile. The logo could be used on a t-shirt, bumper sticker, website, poster, anything that will brand the campaign. The logo should be incorporated into the poster design.
The students will brainstorm ideas using the planning sheet, sketch, and begin.
Days 2-6: Student work time. The teacher will circulate to check progress and help troubleshoot.
Day 7: The students will participate in a peer critique. Each student will share their progress and consider the feedback of others in the class.
Days 8 & 9: Student work time.
Day 10: When the students are finished they will self-assess with a rubric and write an artist statement.
Later: The teacher will set up a display of the printed posters. The class will view and discuss the exhibit. The teacher will ask how the display could affect the students in school who see it.

National Visual Arts Standards

I can use contemporary practices to plan and make art or design about an aspect of present-day life.

I can examine, reflect on, and plan revisions for works of art and design in progress by applying relevant criteria.

I can discuss how an exhibition can impact awareness of social, cultural, and political beliefs and understandings.

I can analyze how visual imagery can affect understanding of the world.

Assessment: The students will self assess using a rubric. Their scores will be combined with the teacher’s scores for the final grade.

Slides presentation:

Planning sheet:


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Chopped: Art

I love watching Food Network, especially the shows where chefs use their creativity and think outside the box (or basket?). I always thought that there were a lot of possibilities to bring some of those competitions into the art room. My 8th graders recently participated in a "Chopped" challenge on their 3rd day of school to get them used to the idea of collaboration and problem solving, and to introduce them to the location of supplies I moved around in the art room over the summer.
To familiarize the students with the concept of "Chopped", I played a video of a round of Chopped. I recommend some of the Chopped: Junior videos. I explained the concept to them: work with your partner to make art out of the "mystery ingredients" that I had prepared ahead of time. I tried to talk like the Chopped host "also available to you are the tools and supplies in the art room". 

I only have 6 students in my 8th grade class so I drew names to put them in three partner pairs. I presented the bags, which some also used as "ingredients", set a timer, and let the students start. The groups that had the best communication did the best in the competition. The first team to be chopped became judges with me in the next round. I tried to get them to commentate with me and they were feeling a little shy, but they did help me to choose the chopped champions. 
Maybe you're thinking, ok, but what if I have more than six students? (I know that my class is tiny!) Well, I have some suggestions. You could make bigger teams, set the timer for shorter rounds, or stretch the completion to more than one day. My students asked to do it again the next day but I didn't have mystery ingredients prepared so I might do it again toward the end of the semester.

 I used paper bags to hold the ingredients. I honestly just pulled stuff out of cabinets in the classroom, things that didn't necessarily go together so the students would have to think a little more. Some that I used were donated rolls of receipt paper, tongue depressors, clothespins, safety pins, pipe cleaners, a ball of yarn, rubber bands, and toothpicks. I wish I would have thought to plug in the hot glue guns ahead of time so they would have been warm.

I think this game was a hit. It had a little more structure than a task party (which sounds super fun but I don't think my students are ready for it yet) but it still got the students active and their creative juices flowing. I will definitely do this again, even with high school or upper elementary.