SchoolArts Magazine

December 2016

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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32 DECEMBER 2016 SchoolArts A L L L E V E L S I n 1963, Ivan Sutherland produced Sketchpad, a device allowing users to manipulate objects on a cathode ray tube. While much has changed since the earliest tablets allowed artists to use painting techniques to create directly onto computers, all digital drawing programs mimic some of the familiar properties and techniques associated with physical media and tools. A t this point in time though, the tactile experience of working with charcoal on paper cannot be repli - cated through digital media, even i f they share the same name. While the output of certain tools may feel familiar, the whole construct of the creative environment of a tablet is unique in terms of gestural poten - tial, sensory feedback, and even s creen size. We discussed the functionality of the camera, explored different angles and compositional strategies, and played with a number of facial expres- sions that we could link to the com- munication in our work. By taking a number of photographs and using the camera roll as a place to reflect on these images, students were able to select a solid starting point. Exploring Tools Next, we explored the various tools in the digital drawing app Art Set. Using the tools and experimenting on their selfies, students discovered that some of them produced opaque marks, while others were capable of produc- ing thin, transparent marks. Certain tools were suited to fine precision work, while others were more effec- tive across large expanses. Working in Layers For this first layer, we used only tools that allowed our photographs to stay with us, shining through our marks as a guide for the next part of the process. Students quickly realized that the colored layers were changing as they mixed hues with others, and they grappled for control—doing and redoing, undoing and doing again. This iterative approach is something that often develops fluidly when digi- tal media are used; it's the power of the undo button. Cathy Hunt PROCESS PORTRAIT The Starting with Selfies Recently, I've been working with stu- dents to produce images using digital drawing apps. This task starts with a selfie, and students quickly discover that producing a self-portrait requires a lot more thinking than firing off a quick snapshot. Connecting students to a familiar photographic process quickly extends into valuable oppor- tunities to discuss image construction and visual language. Digital Connecting students to a familiar photographic process quickl xtends into valuable opportunities to discuss image construction and visual language.

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