Left: Andy Warhol-style portraits are created. The goals are to learn Photoshop tools, art history, and color harmonies. This work was
created by Katelyn Putelis. Right: Personal collage by Chris Richard, titled Vision of Reality.
cameras and scanners available to
import images into the computer.
There is very limited use of the
Internet as the final products are
expected to be artistic originals.
Blending modes are a way to make
collages slicker. They soften harsh
edges and seamlessly integrate
images. The collage no longer looks
like objects cut and pasted together.
Blending modes are found at the top
of the layers palette. These modes
allow layers to be merged or blended
in over twenty different ways. I have
students try each blending mode
and print them in thumbnail form
on one sheet of paper. This is a good
reference since it is hard to describe
what blending modes do. A visual
is much more meaningful. Students
also learn that textures and small
objects can be scanned and utilized
in collages, which allows for more
One particularly engaging assignment requires that students use a
photo of themselves and change
their proportion compared to the
environment. In the example pictured, Justin decreased his size to
about the height of a pencil. Once he
extracted his image and put himself
into the new background, he also
needed to add a shadow to create
If desired, students can extend
their work by writing artist statements.
One of the culminating projects is to create a personal collage.
In this assignment, students are
required to utilize many of the tools
and techniques learned throughout
the course. The personal collage
• at least ten layers
• three layers of texture
• three personal items (for example:
keys, calculator, shoe, etc.)
• a photo of the student (it can be
any part of the student, an eye, a
hand, a face, the whole body, etc.)
• at least one scanned item
• at least three blending modes
• typography (could be type as a
background texture, or type flowing around objects, etc.)
Other criteria being graded:
• Composition of the project: students learn about the golden section and the rule of thirds. They
are asked to consider this when
creating their work.
• Overall effect: just merely fulfilling the requirements isn’t enough.
Students must look at the synergy
of the overall project.
• Mastery of Photoshop tools and
• Beardsworth, John. Photoshop
Blending Modes Cookbook for
Cambridge, MA: O’Reilly Media, Inc.,
• Pring, Roger. Photoshop Filter
Effects Encyclopedia: The Hands-On Desktop Reference for Digital
Photographers. Cambridge, MA:
O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2005.
• Worth1000.com Artists. I’ve Got
a Human in My Throat. Boston,
MA: Course Technology, Inc.,
Kristine Cobb is an art teacher at Shrewsbury High School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. email@example.com
Students apply media, techniques,
and processes with sufficient skill,
confidence, and sensitivity that
their intentions are carried out in