Sunday, September 23, 2012

ipad drawing lesson for students and adults

The Background:
 ipad drawing apps are plentiful.
They interest me for both my personal work and my high school teaching.
This is what I have been doing and am now teaching to my Yr 8 classes.

I use Sketch Book Express with the students- but Sketch Book Pro is worth the $1.

To Begin:
It is pretty simple to begin with a line drawing like Twiggy.
In the first lesson or two I get the students to use a specific pencil (no 4) 
and then they practice brush shortcuts.
"Just play with variation of thickness and opacity".

App + App = image development:
Filter Apps like Instagram, Camera Bag and my favourite BeFunky allow students to manipulate their saved image. Through these simple apps they make visual choices regarding cropping, saturation, frames, filters and more.
The students now have two images and are building up a portfolio.

A Step Further - Using screen shots and Layers:
Once you have a basic line drawing - you can add a layer.
Here I simply took a screen shot of a 1960s fabric and imported the photo as a new layer.

I erased parts of the fabric layer so that my 1960s woman was visible underneath.

A Third Layer- Colour:
SB Express is limited to 3 layers- SB Pro has 5 layers- much better!
So now with the hair I have added a third layer on the bottom for my colour.
 Having the drawing layer, the screen shot layer and colour layer separate is really important.
 When teaching this to a class, the students need to be aware all the time WHICH layer they are working on.
 The benefit of adding colour onto a separate layer?
Students can delete the layer if it isn't working.

So here we are - almost finished.
Once again, export the image to the photo library
 and extend the image by employing filter apps to manipulate the image. 
When teaching this is a great opportunity to have discussions
 about what is successful and why?

In the classroom- some points:
  • Get the students to 'save a copy' regularly during the process as Sketch Book doesn't have this feature in built. 
  • For younger classes and classes lacking confidence begin with a screen shot of an image and trace over the image on a second layer. One class I am working with began with screen shots and photos of a still life. Then they traced over these images - this engages all students extremely well, they don't fail and their confidence improves- BAM!

This is all pretty new to me and I am learning still.
What I do know is that ipads and tablets are now part of education
and the way I see it they are extremely applicable in Art.
 I love the potential, it is exciting don't you think?

It is also an addictive introduction for students into the power of digital apps and the further potential of more powerful software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

I am so interested to hear what anyone else is doing in this area.
Do you have a favourite drawing app?
What is your favourite filter app?

My user name on Instagram is elleandlou


  1. That's fantastic Lynda, those tech savvy Grade 8s would be loving your Art Class. I love that you say "ipads and tablets are now part of education." Technology is part of life and we have to use it or get left behind.
    Hmmm I must practice what I preach.
    Kate x

  2. The use of iPads, graphics tablets and computers in general is definitely the way to go in schools and is an area I still find exciting, even though I'm retired (former Primary School teacher and Computer Co-ordinator). It is extremely pleasing to hear that these tools are becoming the norm!!! I used to love using Art programs with the kids. My favourite with the upper Primary kids was 'Art Rage'. From memory, it didn't have layers, but the kids could trace a picture as you described and then choose a medium to apply colour... paints, crayon etc. I'll have to check out 'Sketch Book Express' for my iPad... not that I can draw. I'd be tracing like your less confident students... LOL!!!

  3. Snap teach! I will check this out! No fancy iPads at my school though :( nice to meet you Instagram buddy! :)

    1. Likewise Pippa -i just love what you and Kylie are doing. Do you teach?


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