Lessons: Digital Art-Surreal Story Illustrations

At our school we have an enrichment and intervention block that allows teachers to work with small groups of students to focus on areas for improvement as well as enhance student learning with enrichment activities. Last year I had a one hour planning block during this time once a week, and I chose to use that one hour block to do art enrichment activities with students that would make direct cross curricular connections between art and grade level subject areas. One of my fourth grade teachers agreed to do a creative writing and digital art collaboration. Students worked in pairs or small groups to create imaginative short stories. They wrote and edited their stories during their language arts block, then I worked with small groups of students to create digital illustrations of fantasy elements from their stories. I was inspired by the series When My Baby Dreams of Adele Enersen and these photos from Giggle Berry Creations.

Originally I started out by taking small groups outside to create large chalk drawings on the basketball court blacktop outside my classroom. Students drew and posed, and when they were ready I climbed to the top of a ladder and photographed their scene.The photo below is the best example I have, taken on a cloudy day.



We found that this worked great on semi cloudy days, but on our first sunny day the cast shadows from the sun in the afternoon took away from their work. I used fundraiser money to purchase five iPads for my art room last year, and we decided to try out taking photos on the iPad and editing them using the ProCreate app. First students posed for their photos by lying down on the floor. I took the photo, then the students changed the color setting of the photo to black and white.4Rfantasy photo 003 bw

To create the fantasy elements of their illustration, they added a second layer to the image in ProCreate and they used a stylus to draw in details like clothing and scenery to help tell their story.Photo 2013-04-05 01.54.44 PM

Students enjoyed getting the extra time to do an art project, and they loved working with the iPads. This was one of the first iPad projects we did in my art room and it was a great success. Here are a few more examples of the finished artwork.

Photo 2013-04-05 02.11.05 PM Photo 2013-04-05 11.55.23 AM

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