Projects that Inspire

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Still Life Projects

Eighth grade and sixth grade students have a wide range of skills but exposing them to artistic techniques at every age is important. Here are more formal still life images of flowers, a sphere, and a cup painted by eighth graders and candy still life images that engaged sixth grade students.

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Building Drawing Skills

Here are two projects by some of my 7th grade students. I wanted students to expand their observation drawing skills. To achieve this, I first had students draw Blind Contour Portraits of one-another. This is a drawing exercise that builds hand-eye coordination. I like to think of it as the art version of playing catch. To do this, draw as many details of an object as you can without looking at your paper. This teaches your brain to track your hand without looking. Next, I had students slow down and really observe objects (toys). Drawing a basic shape skeleton first helps achieve correct proportions. Once the proportions are correct then it's time to add details. Toys make great drawing objects since they're often simple in design (it's easy for students to identify the shapes they see) and my students enjoy finding toys to draw. Draw what you see, not what you think you see.

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Changing Perspectives

This is an 8th grade project that challenged my students intellectually. Inspired by cubism, students used photos of themselves from three different angles. They collaged these photos together to create a distorted portrait. I enjoyed seeing how this really pushed my students. It was interesting watching students who often struggle with technique excel at this project as they were able to simplify their style to create distortion and add meaning to their portraits.

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Digital Illustration from a Photographic Reference

For this project, students used Google Drawings and photographs to create their own illustrations. Students had to identify and make a shape for every value of color they saw. Some students develop a simple style and others a more detailed style.

Animation!

My area of expertise is animation. There is so much you can do with animation in an art classroom. Here are a few examples of ways I've been able to include animation in my classes.

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Imaging a Painting Moving

Here a group of students worked together to bring to life an impressionist painting. They, of course, added their own creative flare! The music was done my colleague's choir students. This collaboration was a great experience as it highlighted what multiple minds can bring to the table.

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Cardboard Shoes

Students made cardboard replicas of shoes! This is a challenging project as all of the parts start out as flat pieces of cardboard and must be transformed into a 3D shape. A stop motion turn-a-round of their sculpture is a great way to show all of the detail that went into creating this piece.

Character Jump Animations

Making a character jump might sound easy, but it's not. You not only have to know how to program a character so that it's simple enough to animate but you also have to know the body positions to create a believable jump. The links at the left show examples of students who were able to do this and add a little personality that makes them fun to watch.

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Parody with Art Room Materials

Students worked in groups to create short animations that parody something familiar. Materials found in the art room make these animations clever and fun!