Saturday, October 27, 2012

Have You Discovered This Yet?

The Free To Use group on Flickr.  The above is from Becky F.  'Nough said. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Amazing Kickstarter

Ok, so it's my son's graphic novel and clothing line design. But other than sheer maternal pride, why have I been showing this to my students?  Here is the link to the actual page.

1. Culture. They are sooooo lucky to have crowd investing (and the internet) available to them when they have a  fantastic creative business idea. (If only this had been around when I was in my 20s...)  Students need to be able to compare their culture to those of the past in order to appreciate it and to see what could come in the future. They need to understand the effect facebook, twitter, Kickstarter, etc. have on spreading ideas, and just how much they could benefit from them.

2. Careers, folks, opportunity. Are you creative? A budding entrepreneur? How are you going to be true to yourself after graduation? Explain how Kickstarter works. Show some successful examples. There is a link to the "most funded". One graphic designer designed a deck of playing cards. He asked for less than $7,000 but he already has $77,000 and is just half-way through his time on Kickstarter. Another was a sculptor who was accepted to be part of a show and wanted to raise $27,000 to cast his sculpture in bronze. His video was so moving. I wanted to help him, but I found it the day after it was over, and he succeeded. Don't let anyone tell you your idea isn't going to work.  Give it a try. Maybe it will.

3. There are many visual art examples you can show in the classroom. My son's is a graphic novel with a clothing line that creates teasers to the next edition of the novel. I have spent hours looking at others and am so amazed at how many creative, inspired, hardworking folks are out there. I think I will have students collaborate to come up with a creative business idea, video and plan on how they would promote it in addition to just placing it on Kickstarter.

4. From this video you can see a little of how a graphic novel is created. Ideas constantly recorded in skechbook, pages drawn and inked by hand (which is most of what you see on the above video), color added in Illustrator and Photoshop. Of course, the hardest part is tapping into your inspiration for the idea.

4. The marketing teacher at my school never heard of it. Things happen so fast, we need to help each other be aware of the great things out there.

5. Maybe this will give them hope that there is a career for artists.

Thank you for tolerating my maternal bragging. Check out the amazing creative people on Kickstarter, if you haven't already.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Student Teacher and the Paper Crane

Being a student teacher is overwhelming, I remember. I had a student teacher the first half of last year who showed great courage, innovation and was open to all I had to share.  He had a lot of enthusiasm, energy, a positive attitude, and, well...youth.  He has an MFA in painting, but of course, he had to come up with digital lessons for me.  With very little experience with photography, he came up with a lesson that was very successful.  [Note: Our dedicated classroom server crashed last year and the images are now lost in the great ether of memory. Some students were actually listening to me and backing up their work, but until I track them down or do this again, there is no example at this time.]

One of the challenges of teaching is how to add enough surprises and variety to keep the students motivated and excited, while at the same time not creating anxiety with too much to think about, and my student teacher pondered all those.

He came up with the idea of taking the students away from the computers for a little bit to make large white origami paper cranes out of the large 80# drawing paper. Origami paper cranes, the little exercise that seems to have a meaningful connection to humans, the subjects of great children's books and legends, still a subject of contemporary art.  The students got to practice their listening skills, because if you don't pay attention, the crane doesn't turn out right. And they laughed and got to know each other a lot more than just sitting at their computers.  

These paper cranes were now the subjects of their next black and white photo assignment that was simple and elegant: The paper crane must be in one of the rule of thirds power points or grid lines. You must have conscious and interesting lighting effects and shadows, with one being strong sunlight, one being soft, diffused sunlight,  and one being artificial lighting .  (Large white paper cranes make good subjects for demonstrating lighting.) And you must use interesting angles of view. 

I think giving them all a predetermined subject that was portable and cooperative created great innovation and enthusiasm and every student was successful.  This lesson idea is a keeper.