SchoolArts Magazine

October 2015

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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the illustrations on the classroom pro- jector. In the beginning of the story, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry describes how, when he was six years old, he was told by the grown-ups to stop drawing and concentrate on his stud- ies—an experience that my students and I could all relate to. They were fascinated by this mysterious little boy who came from such a small planet and had traveled to many asteroids before visiting earth. Inventing Animals Students began the studio portion of the lesson by imagining what their own tiny worlds might look like, and what unusual, invented animals might live there. I instructed stu - dents to create animals that swim, fly, walk, and climb. Once they had a variety of sketches, they selected their favorites, coated the entire back of their drawings with pencil, taped them to a piece of watercolor paper, and traced over their lines to transfer the images. Students used fine-line permanent markers to outline their work on watercolor paper and add texture. Finally, students colored their work with watercolor pencil, brushed it with water to blend colors, cut it out, and set it aside. As they worked they referred to our invented animal checklist, which was posted on the board. Modeling Creatures The next step was to create a 3D animal using modeling compound, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, and rattle eyes. To save clay, students used Sty- rofoam balls as armatures. Wrapping clay around toothpicks ensured that the animals would have sturdy legs and be able to stand up. Repairs were made by using a low-temperature glue gun. By coloring the soft, white clay with marker and then kneading it to mix the color, students were able to create beautiful and unique colors. Once the animals were completed, markers and pens worked well to provide detail and texture. Creating Imaginary Worlds Students set their animals aside and started to discuss where each creature would live. They had the option of working in groups or alone. Some stu- dents created their biomes on canvas board; others used large cardboard circles recycled from frozen pizzas. A few students glued small rectangles of foam-core board together to create miniature stage sets. Cutting various sizes of Styrofoam balls in half, covering them with the modeling compound, and gluing them onto the surface turned out to be a great way to create an imaginary solar system. Pipe cleaners, clay, and foil were used to create land features such as trees and volcanoes. The planets were finished with acrylic paint. Moving to Animation Finally, it was time to bring our ani- mals to life through animation. We used iPads and wire stacking shelves as makeshift tripods by laying the iPad flat on the shelf and positioning the camera eye so that it peeked in between the wires, then we placed our tiny planets below. Students moved their creatures and planets only slightly before taking successive photographs in order to create smooth stop-motion animations. Once students had thirty or more photographs, they uploaded them to a flip-book app in chronological order, taking care to delete any pic- Invented Animal Checklist 1. Did you invent an original animal? 2. Did you draw it carefully? Did you use details? 3. Did you include textures to indicate fur, feathers, scales, wrinkled skin, or spikes? 4. Did you create an animal that you can cut out with scissors without losing any details? 5. Did you transfer your animal to watercolor paper, outline it with rhythmic patterns using both thin and thick lines, and color it with watercolor pencils? 30 OCTOBER 2015 SchoolArts

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