Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Giveaway Results

As promised here are the 3 winners for the "You Can Do A Graphic Novel" giveaway.  I had 55 comments and 3 emails.  You place is determined by the date and time of your entry.

As determined by:

Here are your random numbers:




So the 3 winners are:

  #27:     Misty who said:
Think of all the possibilities! Thanks for a chance to win this wonderful book.

  #13:    Indaguy who said:
What an awesome book! I would love to win a copy!! The kids in my art school would love to do a graphic novel of their very own! Thanks for the chance to win!

and last but not least
   #3:  Tam who said:

Hi Gail ~

Please enter me in the giveaway. I love this idea & think my 6 year old would love it too. Thanks for another great resource for kids! Tamara

So please email me your addresses so I can arrange shipping of you new book!


Thanks everyone for entering!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dominoes For Dad: Father's Day Project

In coming up with Father's Day projects I was thinking about my own Dad who just loves to play games with his kids and grand kids.....so I came up with some game ideas.

First up Dominoes.

Here are 2 types of dominoes.  One made out of flat pebbles and one out of cardboard. I'll go thru both .....


Let's start with the cardboard ones. You'll need:
- nice stiff cardboard
- ruler and pencil
- scissors
- white paint
- sharpies
- mod podge
- wax paper
- container to keep your pieces in
- supplies to decorate your container (more on that later)

Take your stiff cardboard and using the ruler mark out 28 rectangles.  The younger grades may require some help with this part, bear in mind that they don't have to be perfect, in fact they are kinda charming being a little mis- matched!

Cut them out.

Paint white on both sides.

  Now with a classroom of kids your are saying "How can I keep them all straight?"  That's where the art board comes in handy.....the paint on top of their board and just move them onto some wax paper in the corner.....

Let dry.

Using sharpies or markers draw a line thru the middle, you can use that ruler again.

Then start making your 28 dominoes. You can use different colors as long as the number stays the same color( i.e. all 3's are purple)

Here is a little chart if you need it.

Now another thing you can do is on the back of each Domino you can put different names for Dad. 

Poll the kids to see how many you get and then add some ones in foreign languages or names of popular "Dad" characters.

Now this step is optional but it adds a finished look and makes the cardboard quite robust.

For the pebble dominoes you need to find 28 flat pebbles.

My kids are always bringing a rock home so raid the rock collection if you need to.

Now put on the dots.  You can use white paint with a fine brush....add a little water to make it flow well.  You could also use a paint pen or a sharpie.

Again, seal with Mod podge for a nice shiny look.

Now on to the container.  Check your recycling bin and pick out a good home for your dominoes.

Paint it a nice color for a base.

I found this nice photo from the Graphics Fairy and then the kids can print out the label by hand or with the computer.

Glue and then seal with ....you guessed it Mod Podge.

You can decorate it with paper dominoes.

You could also use some original artwork.

You could even decorate it like a pizza box!

I  lined the pebble Domino box with felt for an extra added touch.

You can include instructions on how to play Dominoes if needed.

That's it.

All you need to do now is play.

P.S. You have until midnight to enter the book giveaway, results tomorrow.

See you then.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Art Elements: Rule of Thirds in Composition

I thought I would add a few of these lessons on the basics...I'm going to call them Art Elements.

In my experience I find that people, myself included at times, can easily get intimidated by art.  Now I'm very passionate about art but very practical. That's why my tutorials are step by step with pictures because I know what it's like trying to figure this whole "art" thing out. I'm always learning!

........anyhow enough of my rambling.  The picture on the left is Emerald Lake .  One of the amazing places I like to visit that is close by,( in Canadian terms).

This is a picture that my husband took, (I have trained him quite well) as a reference for painting. Composition wise, with a few changes it is terrific.  Now why does this work.....

Now there are lots of "rules" out there about composition. (the Golden mean, magic x, no 2 intervals should be the same, etc.) but I usually talk about the "Rule of Thirds".  I like to get the kids thinking about fractions.

Basically, when you look at your picture you want to imagine that it's divided into 3 equal parts both vertically and horizontally.

Now often students want to put the focal point of their picture in the center.

But for a viewer it is more appealing, dynamic, etc. if it's put in, what I'm going to call, a sweet spot.

The "sweet" spots are the intersections of your 3rds.

If it helps you can imagine that red square or rectangle, (depending on whether it's portrait or landscape orientated), and look at the corners of it.

So let's go back to our Emerald lake picture.  Here I've taken a sketch I did of it and let's divide it up.

Now looking at our "sweet" spots we are immediately drawn to 2 of them.  The mountain and then, (on the diagonal...the eye loves those diagonals) the lodge.  O.K. the lodge is a bit off the sweet spot but your eye is drawn down to it.

We also have that nice dark shadow opposite it which makes it work as well.

If I use the "magic X" rule this works here as well.  You divide your picture up with an X in the middle.  Your focal point needs to be anywhere on one of the arms of that x but not in the center.

Another thing that makes this composition work is the placement of line.  We have that nice mountain horizon line in the upper third of our picture. (again works with the "rule of thirds").  I talked further about Horizon Lines in this post.

We also have that nice bridge to follow with that bump of the lodge( lower third of the picture) and connecting them that wonderful dynamic diagonal tree line.

So what would I change.....not a lot but maybe work with a longer piece of wc paper so I show slightly more of the lake pushing the lodge closer to the sweet spot...but really this is pretty good as it stands. 

Let's try another..... here is a sketch of a picture my husband took of Montmarte in Paris.

I'm not showing the photo as a very weary looking traveller is in it.(me)

We divide up our sketch....the church is in that upper sweet spot again......

and we have some people near our lower sweet spot.

and hey we also have a nice shadow on the bottom....in the actual picture the palm tree by the flag is reflecting a ton of sunlight and unfortunately I didn't capture it....when I attempt this painting I will add it.

Now both of the sketches I've shown were vertical but the "Rule of Thirds" works for horizontal composition as well.

When you look at this sketch I did in Maui imagine a red rectangle in the center.....what's going on in the sweet spots?

Hope this helps and I didn't just confuse things.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Faux Bark Paintings

So I was trying to get a paint effect that would simulate birch bark and this is what I came up with.

In the past I have done the crumpled kraft paper which you then iron but...... it either leaves your painting all crumpled.......or you have to paint on the crumpled surface which is difficult.

This is much easier.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway

 Well it's the Victoria Day weekend in Canada again and what better way to celebrate a holiday weekend than with a giveaway.

"You Can Do A Graphic Novel"  ,is written by Barbara Slate and is quite an interesting little book.  When I first received the book and gave it a quick once over I was a little skeptical but as I settled down to read it thoroughly I realized it's possibilities.

I have been working on some curriculum projects that combine Creative Writing and Visual Arts with a colleague of mine and I can see how well this book fits in with these ideas.

Although Barbara is detailing the process of creating a Graphic novel she walks you through core writing skills like creating characters, developing plot, how to write to keep people interested, and then pulling it all together with drawing/illustration.

It's written in a very comfortable way and you could easily work through this process in a classroom setting, from elementary on. She even has a teacher's guide available.

Both my boys are in love with graphic novels and have been so since pre-school.

Here is a comic that my middle son completed when he was 5.

It's poster size (22x28) and he was so proud of all the work he put into this that I framed it.
He came up with the story, the characters (the Uglies), painted the backgrounds and even added some text.

It helped him develop his storytelling skills in a fun way and kept his interest from start to finish over a couple of weeks.  Not easy to do with a 5 yr.old.

So now to the giveaway.  I have 3 copies ,that's right 3 chances  for you to win.

If any of you are interested just leave me a short comment on the blog or through email and I'll enter you into the giveaway.  This giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S.A. and Canada. Sorry all my international  friends but thems the rules!

I am off to the cabin for the weekend so I'll leave this giveaway open until the end of Monday May 30th.  I'll announce the 3 winners on the following Tuesday.

Good Luck and I'll see you next week.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Aztec Sun Stones

This art project is based on the Aztec calendar stone or sun stone. 

We are finally getting some warm sun around here.  The grass is green the leaves are popping out so I thought the Grade 2's could make some extra sunshine for the hall display.

We are going to use a neat printmaking technique to achieve a nice old worn look to our "paper" sun stones.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Making Toy Parachutes: Creative Thinking Project

I was driving my 2 boys home yesterday and we started talking about parachutes, both literal and metaphorical.

- asking ourselves what kind of parachute would a tortoise (uugh!....no spellcheck in sketchbooks) have and why?.....an octopus...a dinosaur...you get the idea.!

The kids we coming up with such great ideas we had to try some of them out.

Of course we had to make it into an art project!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Perspective and the use of the Diagonal

One of the most important skills you can teach in art is perspective.

It's also one of those skills you need to continually practice.

Now the classic lesson is to do single point perspective, the focal point is dead center, horizon line is straight.  The kids give it a try and are excited to see the illusion of distance occur before their very eyes.
However,  in the real world this is not a common view point, unless you are driving in Saskatchewan. (just kidding!!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stepping Stones for Mother's Day

Well I'm in the thick of the Mother's Day crush, (it's almost worse than Christmas!).
Grade 1: Frames
Grade 3: Clay Polar Bears
ES2: Painted Scarves

and if you happen to be a mom of a Grade 2'er from my school please avert your eyes.

Here is a sampling of the garden stepping stones they made.

 I did not take step by step photos for this one partly because I was covered in concrete.  Cameras and concrete don't seem to mix well.


- concrete, one bag will cover 2 classes, don't use the quick setting, 20 minutes set up, type as you need some open time for this
- water
- a  large pail you are not attached to, I used an old laundry detergent one, or if you are very ambitious a old wheel barrel.
- old recycled yogurt container for pouring
- gloves and mask while you are mixing
- a big stick, shovel, or paint mixing stick to mix up your concrete
- some disposable bowls, I used Chinette and Dixie
- petroleum jelly, especially If you are using Chinette bowls
-  a variety of glass gems, tumbled glass pieces, shells, pebbles,and/or glass beads


PrepHave the kids draw out a simple design ahead of time.

1) Set out your bowls, if you are using chinette smear a little petroleum jelly in the bowl to keep from sticking.  Set out your materials that the kids will be using in containers around the work space.
2)  Wearing your gloves and mask, pour a little bit of water into your pail, this will help keep the dust down a bit, pour some concrete into the pail.  Add water until it's the consistency of oatmeal.  (Caution: it doesn't take much, it's like making icing, so add your water in small amounts). 
3) Using your yogurt container scoop out some concrete and place in the bowl, leave a little room at the top as it rises up a bit after the kids start placing in their materials.
4) Thump each bowl a few times to get the pebbles in the concrete mixture to settle to the bottom, grab the rim and shimmy it a bit to get a nice level top.
5) I asked the kids to make a design, but some just wanted to stick as many materials into the concrete as they could.  Others started off with a great design but could not hold back from adding "more".  Simple designs seemed to stand out the best.  Make sure the kids push the materials into the concrete a bit.  You don't want to submerge items but you also don't want to have items just sitting on the top especially the glass gems.  You also don't want materials to be to close to the rim of the bowl as they just tend to break off.  Try to leave a 1/2 an inch.   

Leave the stepping stones to fully set up for about 24 hrs.  You can then remove them from the bowls and turn over to get the bottoms to fully dry out and cure for another few hours.

Wrap in newsprint or tissue and you have a wonderful keepsake for Mom!