SchoolArts Magazine

JAN 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 27 they didn't have to conceive a grand idea to create an interesting and origi - nal work of art. "All the artists draw a different way," one student noticed. So, even when different artists all drew the same Kirby cover, they all made some - thing new and different. Many students felt liberated by the realization that their copies would actually be better if they weren't the same as the original. Something New Towards that end, I encouraged students to use the "bones" that they had drawn to create something completely new. The compositions of famous comic- book covers were already sketched into place. So, "What if you replace Spider- Man with your own superhero? Instead of drawing Tintin running with Snowy, what if you drew yourself playing soc - cer?" There was no shortage of exam- ples of celebrated professionals creating their own artwork in this way. My classes were ignited! The proj - ect took twice as long as I expected because so many students were invested in making their comic book covers as excellent as they could be. For me, the project was extremely ver - satile. In addition to the art skills men- tioned above, I used the lesson to teach students about analogous and comple - mentary colors, contrast, dynamic movement, emphasis, foreshorten - ing, inking, and brush techniques. I displayed the artworks in our school's art gallery. The reaction was refreshing. Parents and teachers com - mented on how original students' drawings were. "Children are so cre - ative, aren't they? How do they think of things like this?!" What's that famous art quote? "Good artists copy…" Rama Hughes is an art teacher at Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles, California, and a contributing editor for SchoolArts. rama@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K Mark Todd's comic book paintings, and Robert Goodin's "Covered" blog provided more diverse examples. These pieces of professional art proved to my students that their desire to copy from comic books was legitimate. They also demonstrated that those copies could be the foundation for something more ambitious or personal. How would my students use their comic books to inform their own unique work? Procedures I provided my classes with about 200 comic book covers printed from the internet. I provided a visual rubric with examples to show the amount of effort I expected to see. Students began by loosely sketching on tag board the basic shapes of their selected comic book. This step provided a rich oppor - tunity for me to discuss composition and proportion with my classes. At this stage, many students' drawings looked like loose, pale ghosts of the comic book covers sitting in front of them. Same Cover, Different Artist Then the fun began! Students were per- mitted to copy their comics as exactly as they could. I showed them examples from professional artists who simply recreated Kirby's comics in their own style. Students were relieved to see that Noam Sokol, The Brain.

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