A little tiny hand written chapter book by second grader Sofia was presented to me (Mrs. Fuglestad) one day in early February. I LOVED it. It was so full of visual imagery and imagination that I thought it would be the perfect story to try to animate with a technique I've seen but never tried, paper cut stop motion. I talked to Sofia and she recruited Lindsay to meet with me during lunch recess to design, color, cut, animate, narrate, and edit this fanciful story. After 6 weeks we are happy to present, Strange Magic below or here.
Aliens are a truly magical subject for artmaking. They allow the student artist to be creative in it's design by breaking rules of figure drawing, color, and form while also providing the necessary benefit of forgiveness since an alien doesn't have to be drawn realistically. Here are two ideas that extend an alien drawing digitally incorporating music and animation: Idea one: aliens on instruments & Idea two: alien beatboxing.
Idea one: Aliens on Instruments
I began designing an animation challenge for my students after a large dose of inspiration from the animator, musician, and illustrator, Andy Martin. This project would include aliens, repetitive movement, and instruments. If kids can manage this project we'll finally be able to get the band back together! Seriously, students could each contribute a creature to a group animation movie set to music that demonstrates an understanding of flipbook animation, movement, sound, and creative figure drawing.
To animate an alien playing an instrument I created layers that helped isolate the moving and non-moving parts using the Do Ink Animation and Drawing app.
1. I drew the alien head, body, and legs.
(hint: lock the layer when finished so you don't accidentally change or erase it when animating)
2. I drew the alien's instrument then locked it.
3. I drew the arms that played the instrument, copied the slide, erased, and redrew to show movement.
Performance: Lenny and the Leonids
Listen to my favorite alien band's first hit below composed in garageband, animation in DoInk, and edited in iMovie.
Idea Two: Alien Beatboxing
I designed four more aliens in an attempt to try beatboxing. This idea requires that each alien moves its mouth in some way to match the sound it creates.
I used the DoInk drawing and animation app again to make my alien designs move their "mouths" to express their sound. I kept it very simple so that I could generalize the concept later when I layered the music in. Below is a test run of each flipbook design in composition mode. I had to adjust each alien's flipbook motions so they weren't moving their mouths too fast. Later I learn that this was pretty important for matching the mouth with the sound later. But, this was my first time, so I tried to time it better in the movie editing stage.
Next, I pulled out my laptop version of Garageband and tried to make a sound for each creature while keeping a steady beat. I had lots of trouble blending my sounds, getting the timing right, and figuring out effects. What I ended up doing was putting on headphones, laying down a drum beat as one track (which I later deleted), and matching the beat with my new sound recorded to another track. That helped me keep the beat better. I labeled each track by creature color to help me keep track of what's what when I did my final animation. I tried to match the DoInk composition timeline to the garageband timeline as exactly as I could. Luckily both interfaces allow you to look at fractions of seconds so you can bring in the creature at the same time the audio begins.
Below is each alien animation timed with their beatbox sound. Next, to put it all together into one composition using the DoInk animation, garageband sound track, and iMovie.
Performance: Alien Beatboxing
Below is the Dance my 7 alien friends choregraphed quickly. I was able to capture it using Keynote and iMovie with the song they chose from incompetech.com.
Resources: Video and handouts
Andy Martin and his planet animations are the inspiration for animation challenge. There are twelve planets to explore with different creatures on each. Planet one's aliens make music with their voices as they gather. This idea would be fun to explore as well.
Bonus! Alien Remake of a Fugleflick
I used a guitar playing alien and two of his duplicates to recreate a old fugleflick appropriately called, Deep Space. This fugleflick attempts to explain how to create the illusion of space in a 2D place with foreground, middle ground, background, and overlapping. The song was performed by three 3rd graders many years ago. View their movie here. You'll probably notice the moving lips in this video. I recorded my mouth moving to the words and masked them into the video using the Do Ink Green Screen app. The whole movie was created using both the Do Ink animation app and the Green Screen app. I lined it up with the music from the original song using iMovie. View the results here.
Take the Deep Space Quiz
using edpuzzle (found via NICE MiniCon session by Shannon Schroeder-Thanks!)
More about this project:
1. Fifth graders used this template to help them create their self-portrait flying on the iPads using Sketchbook Express. They deleted the template and emailed just their final drawings. See the gallery of images here.
2. Students were inspired by the story, Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold while creating a landscape that was to show depth, overlapping, and a high horizon line. See the gallery of images here.
3. Students used Keynote to animate the digital figure and landscapes. I created a tutorial showing all the steps to help them. View it below or here. I put screenshots from their animation movie on artsoniain this gallery.
4. Students helped sing and compose an original flying song using garageband on the iPad (using the built-in instruments) and the desktop version to add voices.
View our Entry for the What's Your Story
Internet Safety Contest
(Won the 2nd Place Prize)
View this musical tribute to the hard working teachers at Dryden and the students they love to teach.
Tricia Fuglestad, NBCT 07
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.