Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lesson Idea :: Cartoons in the Round :: 3D Design

As an art teacher I get bored easily with lesson and project ideas. Does this happen to you?

For this reason, I do my best to not repeat lesson and project ideas if I can help it but if that has to happen, create an iteration of time to happen such that there is at least a semester or even entire school year in between repeats.

That being said? A favorite of the 3D Design class I teach is clay sculpting cartoons. I like to do this with them as a bit of a final/finale project and (in turn) a reward for all that they have learned and hard work they have invested through the whole semester. And while I usually love/hate dealing with clay because I have a shared studio classroom, by the end of the semester I usually have full confidence in the skillsets and individual investments of each student to know that they will not waste any of their time or high quality materials that they are provided.

The last time I did this project was at the end of the Fall semester of 2010. It is such a favorite project that I try to let at least one 3D Design class do it per year but as it ended up happening, it didn't work out last year because of the budget. This year though, I was able to make it happen and it was quite a success. Here are the finished pieces from this year...

This one started out as Bambi but structurally it just wasn't working it out so I helped the student artist to steer it this way.

I had the students do a few different things this year than I have in previous ones. One of the major ones was they were required to make armatures and then cover them with clay in order to ensure that each of their finished pieces were a little more structurally sound and less likely to break apart. Doing this sort of worked in teaching them that the inside part that you don't see is just as important as the outside that you do see but not all of the armatures worked out so well. I attribute this to the fact many of them didn't use clay thick enough to fully encase the armatures and as the clay shrunk when it set, the armatures were popping and pushing out in weird ways.

Some of the things that remained the same though were the fact that we used boneware clay as we always do, we fully utilized clay sculpting boxwood tools that you can buy in a class set for a really reasonable price, and the students were each required to draw a front view, side view, and aerial view of their design ideas in order to help them better visualize what they would eventually have to do and then for me to be able to help them if they had issues rather than relying on their verbal directions that go something like this, "Well... it kind of has this thing that goes around and then comes back again and it's kind of big but not really." o_O  Seriously. I cannot help a student artist who is going to give me that kind of information to go from in order for me to be able to help them.

All of this being said? I continue to very much like this lesson idea to keep using it in years to come.

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