Students will be listening to books and focusing on their illustrations this week at every K-5 grade level. Illustrations are the drawings inside the books that help you understand the meaning of the stories, visualize the text, and give you a peek into the author's mind.
A long time ago I responded to Ian Sands on twitter asking for digital images of children's art that he could offer to his high school students to play with as they learn to animate. Some of his students selected my students "He Came with the Chair" paintings. The animations turned out SO adorable and inspiring-see example below or check them all out here. It has been one of my goals to figure out an elementary level lesson with a straightforward app that would give my students the experience of animating their own artwork in the same style. I think I might have figured it out. This technique isn't perfect, but, it will work.
If we had Procreate app: like photoshop
The Brushes Redux app (free) allows you to work with layers like photoshop; select and match colors, use different textured brushes, and save each layer individually-all things needed to make these animations. However, the app does not allow you to select parts of the image. That's how the feet were moved in the animation below. The artist selected the feet, rotated them a bit, and redrew the surrounding space to match. This is the element my students would need to work around unless we purchase Procreate app for the classroom which has all the tools we would need. Sounds like I should write a grant.
Alternative plan: Brushes Redux (free)
This alternative solution for making animated GIF using Brushes Redux is to redraw each change in the piece of art. You need to choose a piece of art that has colors, textures, and elements that can easily be REDRAWN since you can't select and move. So, let's look at these portraits of George Washington by second graders. They each have clear and solid black marker lines and a clean opaque paint. It would be easy to redraw the eyes, mouth, nose, or even the wig or shoulders. Here is my first run through:
After importing your original image into a layer of Brushes Redux, you need to size it and never change it again. Consistency is really key for making the art look like it is moving. I deleted the extra transparent layer and chose the DUPLICATE button (double square +) from the top bar in the layers. I could only see the top layer so the bottom one didn't distract me, but to make sure I didn't draw on the wrong layer, I LOCK the bottom layer when I'm done with it (touch the lock symbol next to the image layer). I can use the eyeball feature to reveal and hide layers to check on how my changes are looking from one layer to the other. I would try to keep this animation simple by not exceeding 5 layers/drawings. It's hard to see all the layers in the app at one time when you get beyond 4. That can confuse your little artists. When you're ready to save your work: 1. close the eyeball on each layer expect your original (bottom layer), choose save to photos. 2. Open the eyeball on second layer and save to photos. 3. Repeat this until finished. This makes the images in the camera roll stay in order.
Now students can go to ezgif.com on their iPads and upload their images into the GIF maker. You'll see above that my five images are made into a sequence of 8 so that it will loop nicely. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are the drawings. I copied 4 and placed it after 5 so I could start reversing the sequence, followed by a copy of 3 and 2.
Let's spell this out clearly for little artists:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2 (sequence for 5 images in animation)
1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2 (sequence for 4 images in animation)
1, 2, 3, 2 (sequence for 3 images in animation)
Here is how it looks: (I used the crop tool to trim off white edges)
Quick Video Overview:
Use this video to introduce the project and help students see what the process requires.
Thinking this through: (my notes)
Another approach I might go with is to add structure the process since everything about it would be new to young learners. We could all work from the same gallery of images so we can tackle similar problems together. If we worked on, for example, these Wild Things from 1st grade, I could demonstrate how I would animate the eyes, mouth, and the horns. They might make other creative choices, but the problem-solving I demonstrate would transfer easily to their creative solutions.
The fifth graders' 3/4 pose portrait paintings are perfect for this animation lesson by making subtle changes in the expression. It forces the artist to think about what faces do to express emotion and map out a sequence of drawings to create this expression. This is a different form of expressionism (HA! Art teacher humor).
The fifth grade Light Up Robot painting is fun to animate with moving and blinking.
These first grade Lima Bean Monsters are perfect for this idea with their big features.
First graders are making a Wild Thing painting inspired by the book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. We've done this project in the past and it has been very popular. Below are two first graders I caught wearing their wild things in the art room. Their families purchased it from Artsonia's giftshop. How fun is that?!
Click here to see a gallery of student Wild Things on Artsonia.
Watch the Wild Things March across your screen in the movie below.
Visual Texture Fugleflick
To learn about visual texture (drawing something the way it would feel if you could touch it) is explained in this musical Fugleflick video created by first graders below.
Digital Warm Up:
Students used the Create A Monster App to invent their own digital monsters. See this gallery on Artsonia.
Or, students can pose as if they are with their wild thing using the Green Screen app by DoInk. The movie below was from many years ago using photoshop. This is soooo much easier to do with the app (whew!).
Wild Thing Bookmark
Click HERE to view students' bookmarks
We are the 2nd place winner of the ISTE Technology in Action Video Contest.
See my post for more info.
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,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.