Words as Image is our first real creative project of Art, Design and New Media. We began by looking at the State of the Union for the past two years in a word cloud. Very quickly, you can notice the tone of the speeches and detect subtle differences between the two...just from the wordle! (Here's the original post that gave me this idea.) After that we collectively figure out which online word cloud generators work best. This changes all the time depending on our Java updates and from browser to browser...and is a good way to reinforce that we have to remain flexible and adaptable in the 21st Century! Which is exactly how we discovered this amped up word cloud generator (which puts wordle to shame and would only run in Safari, not Chrome - our usual browser).
The students pick a favorite (school appropriate ;) song and create a word cloud that matches the feel of the song. The group discussion (critique) for this lesson is always fun because it includes listening to a minute (or so) of each song!
Color as a theme could last for an entire semester or more - this lesson is our first introduction and a solid foundation for future color inquiries. There are so many amazing online resources - here are just a few that I love and are great jumping off points for discussion and learning:
Colm Kellerher: What is Color? - TedEd (he has a companion video too - about color perception)
Is your red the same as my red? Vsauce
Color: A Matching Game
Online Color Challenge
And of course, this year we had the whole fascinating blue/black vs. white/gold dress - which was conveniently very timely for this lesson!
After all this discussion about color I introduce Adobe Illustrator and all it's "robustness." (I clue the students in that robust is code for complicated with high functionality!) We start easy - the assignment is to think about color temperature (warm advances, cool recedes) and create a balanced non-objective design use the AI tools shape, fill, stroke, arrange. Concepts and skills joined for creation!
The silhouette is the first project using the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator. The students learn about anchor points and converting anchor points to curves, enclosed shapes, putting borders on paths and layers by completing a worksheet. After that they are ready for tracing a profile picture of themselves and turning it into an antique style silhouette. We read about how silhouettes have been a popular form of art for centuries and discussed what it is that makes each ressemblance so recognizable. Everyone creates a "classic" silhouette (like Trevor's) and we will likely revisit this to personalize it a little more (maybe adding text to the shape...?).
Artistic concepts, growing skills and student creativity combined - results in these amazing digital self portraits!