Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lesson Idea :: And so they prayed - Illustrations :: 2D Design

This lesson idea is not my own and was inspired by the book I so love called Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists. The book suggests a creative exercise that challenges you to draw something silly or funny that someone says. I have seen this sort of thing elsewhere on the web (but I can't seem to find it to connect it here) and I have always loved the idea of this but I have never done it. This year and this semester's 2D Design class seemed to be the perfect time to take the idea for a spin.

One of the biggest challenges for me were collecting silly quotations said by kids that could be colorful and interesting enough to yield super imaginative drawings. You would think such a thing as this would be easy but actually it wasn't. A lot of the collective I found online featured "kids say the darnedest things"-type items that included bad language or otherwise very suggestive things that is just inappropriate for my high schoolers to attempt to take a part and then reassemble. After struggling to find maybe a handful of appropriate things I considered using my almost five year old daughter for fodder and consulting this small book that I keep with silly/funny things she has said or done. Surprisingly, only a few of them fit the bill for what I was looking for. Many of them were darn near impossible to try and imagine much less visually interpret in mixed-media works. The ultimate winner for me was when I stumbled upon a collective of cute and silly prayers that kids have said and people have submitted to online collectives. It was totally appropriate for my purposes because 1) it was faith-based and I teach at a Christian school and 2) none of the prayers had anything inappropriate but all would definitely guarantee some colorful and imaginative depictions.

Below are some of what the 2D Design students came up with along with the prayer snippets that they randomly picked from a bag. The goal was for them to be as literal as possible with their visuals in order to properly illuminate their prayer snippets. They used watercolor and ultra fine sharpie ink pen on aquabords.
"Dear God, thank You for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy."

"Dear God, did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?"

"Dear God, did the unicorns miss the ark? Too bad the skunks didn't miss."

"Dear God, I heard the moon was made of cheese. Tonight half of it is missing. Did you get hungry?"

"Dear God, I heard the moon was made of cheese. Tonight half of it is missing. Did you get hungry?"

"Dear God, I know you see everything. Please don't tell my mom about my bad test grade!"

I don't know that I will attempt this project idea again but if I do I might likely do it as one of the first project endeavors for the 2D Design or Graphic Design class. It seems to have great potential to serve as a bit of a pre-assessment sort of tool for the purposes of gauging skill/technique in beginning artists and it also is fun without sacrificing the opportunity for the students to really gain something important from it which is to force themselves to think in the most colorful and imaginative ways possible.

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