D is for December/D is for Digital Art

In the 5/6 art room we’ve had a great week or so learning to create digital art on iPads. During a frenetic time in the world outside the room, this focused work has been cozy, calming, and generally pretty quiet. After introductory tutorials in person and provided as a reference in Google Classroom, the students have been engrossed in their work, taking breaks to ask questions or help each other solve problems.

Cozy, quiet, digital art making...by elves?
Cozy, quiet, digital art making…by elves?

“After a period of intense concentration, working with materials that fully engage their interest, children appear to be refreshed and contented. Through continued concentrated work of their own choice, children grow in inner discipline and peace.” – Maria Montessori (The Absorbent Mind, 1949)

Fifth grade students practiced digital art making by creating a singular digital snowperson using Sketchbook Express App by Autodesk (free) through exploring the tool palette, flood fill, templates, opacity, and radius. The tutorial is here.

Avery G.
Avery G.

Once the practice drawing was submitted to Google Classroom, students were given complete freedom of choice as to a snow scene they would create. The only criteria: include at least three snow creatures and some surroundings that indicate space. here are some examples of the work, which is now up on Artsonia.

Sixth grade students have been engaged in Rotoscoping with iPads to create self-portraits. While it may seem simple to trace over a photo, there are many tools and concepts to practice and learn when working with digital art. I believe this practice leads to better observation and eventually better execution of similar projects with traditional media. Working with layers, opacity sliders, color pickers and the various tools in Sketchbook Express App by Autodesk (free) prepares young artists for working in programs like Photoshop or Illustrator when they get older. The tutorial is here. These works are in the Rotoscoped Selfies gallery on Artsonia.

When finished with their self-portrait, students have been choosing “Someone I Admire”, taking a screen shot of a photo of a celebrity and using it for a digital portrait. This has provided an opportunity to talk about appropriation in art, although most images students have encountered do not have the photographer’s name included. Here are some of the entries in the “Person I Admire” gallery on Artsonia:

When we return from the holiday break we will be using our new studio lighting (more on that later) to do some close looking at objects and drawing them from observation. Until then – Happy Holidays to you and yours and remember: Styli Make Great Stocking Stuffers

One comment

  1. Great post! I can’t wait to share this with my students, I’ve downloaded Sketchbook Express and will begin to practice during break. Now if I can just figure out how to gain access to enough iPads so they can all work at once.

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