Whittier International School, Edith McDonald, Grades 1 - 5, 6 hours.
On January 19th, 2017, I met with Edie and helped her for the first time in her art classroom. Every grade had a different lesson, so we went over clay, digital illustrations and tempera paint. We started with clay. It was great to have each student create four thumbnail sketches of what they wanted to create with the clay initially, before given the clay. This is good to make a habit of, because this is a normal studio practice as professional artists. It also really helped with taking something 2D and turning it into 3D with their hands.
Digital illustration was fun! The students use chromebooks , which are a great choice because it's restricted to google-only programs. The students use a free program called Sumo Paint. Even though it's a free drawing program, it has powerful tools similar to Adobe Photoshop. Having a digital illustration course is so wonderful to have in this day and age, allowing the students to explore art in many forms. Because I focus on digital art myself, I was excited to see the potential of this particular course. The students had just started, so I'm hoping to see a growth over my time spent with them. Along with anything digital, we ran across some technical difficulties, but nothing we can't fix!
Another class began working with tempera paint for the first time. Edie mentioned that they worked with watercolor pans previously, so they got to experience a different kind of paint. I have to say, working traditionally will always be fun for students of their age. Painting requires you to move your whole body. Edie had the students use dry brushing first and later wet the brush to get the different feels of how you could use tempera paint. These kids were very energetic and happy with how the paints were different from last week.
From my observations thus far, it seems most students prefer working traditionally, but that may be because working digitally is very different. Most students started working with a mouse, but previously, they worked on the trackpad of the Chromebook. I think having a dedicated day of teaching the basics of Sumo Paint may help and also having examples of digital art. I feel the students who were working with Sumo Paint didn't know what to expect out of the program, but I hope to help them realize that digital illustrations are also as powerful as traditional paintings.