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Lesson Plans

Re: The computer as a tool for creating art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Tue, 12 Nov 1996 18:47:41 -0500

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<<If you are using computers with your students, how do you utilize the
computer as a tool for creating art? I'll compile all the responses and offer
them to the group.>>

Thanks for asking this! I have to do an informal report on art & technology
to my classmates in December ;-) Unfortunately I have to play devil's
advocate and argue *against* technology.

I use the Mac with my kids this way:

- scanning of line art they have done in "real" media
- bitmap (strictly b/w) image manipulation of their images (touchups, moving
stuff around, tweaking) using Photoshop
- colorization of the bitmap images using Photoshop
- combining images with words into narrative storyboards using Quark Xpress

Interesting Note: the kids had little interest in creating art "from
scratch" on the computer. I suspect that would be very different if we had
stylus and pads available instead of clumsy mouses. 99% of the time they
worked from a base of art created in real media, then modified it someway on
the Mac, like fixing or moving sections of the art. They range in age from
10 to 19. I didn't force the issue about creating from scratch, but
encouraged them when they started to noodle around and practice without a
base image.

We meet for 6 hours a day on Saturdays and have a lot of time to tweak
things, and teach each other new tricks. Most of the time, I'll show one or
two kids who are ready to learn a specific skill or tool. Then later, when
other kids develop to the point of wanting to know the skill, the kids who
learned it earlier show them how to do it.

We just got done with a two-year project to write, illustrate and design a
book for the Young Voices International Campaign. We did the entire thing
using old-fashioned layout collage techniques, and then put the spreads
together using the Mac. I tried to marry ideas of things they were familiar
with in the real world (collage) to concepts on the computer (layout using

When it came to the point of adding a second spot color to our layouts, we
made black-and-white printouts of all of our spreads, got out 10 purple
crayons, and scribbled in our color ideas on top of the printouts, shared
each others' ideas, and then collectively input the best color decisions into
the computer! A great way to let the youngest ones and least-computer-crazy
teens in the group participate in significant design decisions.

If anyone is interested in meeting these extraordinary young authors and
artists, we are throwing a huge bash at NYC's Cooper-Hewitt National Design
Museum this Friday from 4-7 pm (that's the 15th of Nov.) They love to talk
about themselves and will autograph books after a brief press conference.
E-mail me for details.

Alison King
Teachers College Art Ed

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