Some Doodles – Finger puppets

I was trying out an idea I had for making finger puppets using cardboard. I made this one to show the class and I am very happy with how it turned out!


Some doodles – Modigliani self portrait

I teach art at Camps Bay Primary School. Last term we had 2 Belgian students join us as student teachers. The one student lead a grade 5 class in doing self portraits in the style of Modigliani. They sketched themselves in pencil first while using a mirror and then used oil pastels to add colour.

I like to try my classes artworks before they do it themselves and below is what resulted! I loved doing this as because of Modigliani’s strange style, there is no pressure to try and make it look exactly like the real thing!

My own self portrait done in Modigliani's style in oil pastels.

My own self portrait done in Modigliani’s style in oil pastels.


So I recently got a post at a school in Goodwood, Cape Town. I’m trying to teach 14-15 year olds about the ‘creative arts’. Fundamentally this boils down to trying to get a bunch of disinterested teenagers to either do some visual art or drama. Though convincing 30 or so kids going through puberty that they enjoy drawing can be tough (to say the least), I am at least confident and passionate about  the  work itself! Trying to get the shy learners to have to act in front of a room full of their peers is another matter. When I was in school I was painfully shy! I would have hated to be forced to act! Ahh.. The challenges of life: They do indeed make life interesting (and one may say: worth living) but they do suck to go through nevertheless! 🙂

If you have noticed the absence of regular updates on the Moles and the Earthworms, this is why. Everyone told me that a first year of teaching can be tough…And they were right. :/ What I can say though is that I intend to post more regularly on some of my experiences that I have in school.  And hopefully after a bit to spend some more time digging and reporting what I find.

A design project 03

So I had my superhero photos ready. I chose the two that I thought were most attractive/ communicative. These I pulled into Photoshop, made it B&W (by making a solid black layer set to color), added a dark vignette, played with the levels a bit and added a simple filter. I felt that this would be easy enough to teach in any class as it only really requires one computer. They looked like this:

I added a vignette, upped contrast and possibly put a slight blurring/De-focused filter on it.I made it B&W by putting a black layer over it set to color mode, played with the levels to up the contrast, added a vignette and sharpened it to the extreme!

Having chosen my background image and decided on my superhero characteristics, I needed to think about the font I would use as well as finalize a logo. These would then have to be traced (manually again) onto paper, cut out and then pasted down onto the printed image. I never enjoyed doing this when I was at school or university as I do struggle to be neat and careful with it.

The final image, when I was done, looked something a little like this:

The final image, advertising my new superhero "Golden Raptor" and his super powers

The final image, advertising my new superhero “Golden Raptor” and his super powers

So that was it. Doing this project reminded me of some of the constraints of a student in school. When I finished school and varsity I went with the computer way of doing things and didn’t look back. I forgot about the battle of keeping things neat and tidy when working with scissors and glue! :/ Whether learning to do things by hand first is better is a moot point. In South Africa, it is not possible to move onto computers earlier as many of the kids don’t have access to one and doing so would just widen the gap.

A design project 02

So I had an idea of some of the cool, eagle-like abilities that I wanted my superhero to have. I started brainstorming and jotting down some ideas. I soon came up with a pretty cool superhero. I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the wings (they’d be impractical for a superhero to walk with – and he can’t fly ALL the time) but I was happy:

The Superhero I envisioned

The Superhero I envisioned

I now had to dress up like the hero… No mean feat, and you will laugh!

The temptation was there to just take a pic of myself and add in the extra details in post using Photoshop. I had to be firm with myself however as I wanted to see what it would be like to do this project as a learner in school. All I had at my disposal was what I could find around the house…Some paper, toilet rolls, towels and clothing! Not much to go on.

I started by wrapping paper around my one hat and putting this on backwards. I then taped blue play dough to my face and stuck the beak on with this. Finally I scrunched half the inner toilet rolls in each eyelid, took three butter knifes between the fingers and, wearing a long sleeved black top in the sweltering heat I was ready!

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Evil doers be ware!!!

Tomorrow I’ll reveal the final poster…

A design project

In learning to teach design and art, it is important to be able to do design and art projects. With this as the motivating factor I decided to try my hand at doing a design project…the old school way. This meant as little use of computer and technology (as possible).

The project I chose was one I had got from a very experienced design teacher at Frank Joubert art school in Cape Town. It basically involved producing a poster for a made up superhero which advertises his/her/its strengths and weaknesses. Unsaid in this is that you have to first conceptualize your hero, come up with a cool name and some powers. The other very interesting thing that the project wants is that you should then dress up as the superhero and feature on your own poster! 😀

Deciding on a focus superpower wasn’t too tough for me, I’ve always wanted to be able to fly. 🙂 I immediately thought of an eagle type and got some reference:

A basic google images search gave some cool reference.

A basic google images search gave some cool reference.

I then analyzed these images and saw a some cool features:

Some notes I took after looking at the reference.

Some notes I took after looking at the reference.

Not to overload this one post, I’ll continue with the project tomorrow. 🙂