kids

Time for a Drink

We went downtown to the library to pick up a movie for the night.  Such a beautiful evening downtown Plymouth. Perfect weather, and people were out enjoying the evening.  As Lorene and I sat talking near the fountain, a little guy was walking with his dog nearby.  His dog was a large lab who could easily lead if he wanted. But this dog followed with each tug of the leash, very cute. They stopped at the fountain. It was like the boy was explaining a fountain and what it was for as the lab silently gestured questions...a nice night out. 

Ethan's FT-Mig3 Scratch Build

Almost finished and ready to fly, still need battery, receiver and extra propellers and wheels. Flying with the local RC club on Wednesday nights.  Summer is half over and he has been focused.  He is doing a great job.  My trooper!

Natalie's new dress

After shopping with Mom and Grandma, she shows off her new dress. Natalie you are so very beautiful! Dad moment....

Library Visit tonight

I will be trying out another session with the Canton Library tonight.  I have developed simple paper models as a basis for designing a King or Queen's throne.  These are small four inch tall models that allow for a good deal of creative design freedom.  Students will design a character and identify the key characteristics that they want to embody in the design of his or her Throne. The Public Library has been very helpful as I develop this trial course.  Wish me luck.

Another little Adventure...

Another little Adventure...

A storyboard narrated by Natalie about our Dungeons and Dragons adventure.

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Sketching In Public

I have always been interested in sketching on site.  But I have never felt very comfortable. Now there seems to be more and more people involved in this on line. "Urban sketchers" is a great site to see the rough and loose style of capturing the moment.  I love the level of indication and quick gestures.  I LOVE THAT IT'S BEAUTY COMES FROM NOT BEING PERFECT.  I used a fine line marker for initial sketches, then a brush pen for the darks. I blended with a simple water brush pen all on a moleskin pad.  

I did these with my son at the local library and later at our coffee shop on the way home. We had a really good time together.  Away from TV and Computers just sharing some food and talking. Listening to others around us, and paying attention to our surroundings. Just focusing on the moment...very nice.  Well time for bed. Hope you like these.

Ethan in his coat, as I tried to ask him about school or reading...conversation with a 7th grader can be challenging :)

Some of the students at the library were learning about the legal system from our neighbor. She is a lawyer and works with high school students.  So busy with Ethan and sketching I didn't even notice her until she came over to say hello.  Later at the coffee house a guy in headphones and a women with long dark hair on their computers.  Each sketch was only a few minutes but I am loving the ink brush pens and simple lines.

Sketching Birds with simple shapes

Just a short tutorial of the type of work I bring into the classroom.   Visiting the K-5 level classes I try to encourage a quick sketch technique based on using simple shapes and line. I always start with a warm up session before we begin.  In these examples I am using Manga Studio and a calligraphy pen tool for thick and think lines. In class I will use a broad tip marker, or a brush pen, on newsprint .  For the under drawing I use a prismacolor blue pencil or any soft lead.  

The hardest concept to convey seems to be the rough experimentation.  I want the kids to fill the page with gestures, eyes or feather studies.  Often this is the hardest part, as they like to darken lines, erase and get detailed a little to soon.  I try to encourage small studies on a single page.  Often I will draw lightly and messy, just to show how I am playing with options before picking what I like and going back to darken the lines.  They really seem surprised to see me scribble over a drawing or draw an "x" over parts.  Then they see how the under drawing really disappears as the marker comes out and the dark lines become dominant. 

Have fun and keep sketching....

Simple studies on details.  

 

Break down the key elements of the character and practice a variety of options.  

 

Often your first idea can be improved upon and even simplified for a better effect.  

 

Just play with shapes and see where is leads. Have fun.

Drawing faces with simple shapes

When visiting classrooms I like to focus on simple shapes.  Drawing faces and expressions using variations of circles or ellipses. Students in K-5 classes like to see how quickly and effectively they can capture emotion and expression.  Start off with some quick warm up exercises like drawing circles or parallel lines.  The shape of the head can vary from circles to boxes to boxes with a pointy edge.  Eyes are easy as circles with a simple addition of eyebrows. The mouth can be a minimal curved line, or a big open mouth smile.  Lastly, the hair can give a great deal of character and diversity.  I like to encourage experimentation with the class, showing a number of different ways to experiment.  Most importantly they need to relax and draw with their shoulder for loose flowing lines...(the mouse sketches below are from a previous handout used in class)

 

Hot Dogs and Stars

    My  favorite part of camping.  Eating outside under the stars.  Warm fire and yes, franks and beans.  Two items I usually don't eat at home.  But for some reason, they seem to be perfect for camping out.  Afterward, we usually go for some marshmallows and chocolate.  A lot of nights spent watching the fire.  The kids are young enough to not object yet.  I am sure this will be "boring" soon enough.  But until then....

Dinner time camping

This is the first panel of a single page.

     Camping is fun but with pre-teen kids sometimes the obvious is not so obvious.   Often our lunch or dinner had a few lines like this.  As the kids sat surrounded by the unloaded supplies from the car. The lazy question was bound to pop up.  I don't imagine we are alone with this.  I just think it funny, sometimes it feels like a reflex question more than anything.

     The answer, "turn around and look" or we say " No, we weren't planning on feed you both until we got home....is that a problem?..hehehehe

Clay Sculpting in Plymouth

Take your kids someplace and make stuff.  They need to learn how to work with different materials.  They need to understand that reality is what happens between the planning and the making.  Flexibility means to work around the mistakes. Experimentation is what we call "work". Experience means you are better at working with your mistakes, and care less about them.  Art is a perfect medium to explore all of the above.  Creating something of emotional value is a skill we need to grow in our children.

Art

Spending Saturday making a sculpture.  Using materials that really allow experimentation and exploration.  Making something of emotional and personal value.  Telling a story with each decision.  Ethan and Natalie did a great job and had a lot of fun.....

He started with a sketch.  He is detail focused and was able to put it into 3D. Next steps will be color and glazing! 

Bed Time story

The bed time story, late at night after the campfire is dying out.  It is always one of the best parts of camping.  If you are not to tired out of course.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to keep my eyes open.  Natalie is always the first to fall, but Ethan, seems to only get more awake. Finally they are all asleep.  Everyone but me.....

Schlubber?

      Our girl's end of year grade school project. To create and sell a "product" to her classmates. Natalie wanted to make "Schlubber" which, as she puts it, "Is a cross between flubber and slime."   

     What is the story?  It can be stretched and formed a little. It can't be eaten.  Its not playdough or silly putty. 

    We spent an evening talking and sketching ideas.  One idea was give Shlubber "personity".  Maybe it (he/she) had a face and a bit of a story?

 Shlubber needed to be saved.  Trapped somehow in this plastic bag hoping to be saved, to be loved.... 

Sketching out Ideas ....

schlubber-wrapped-op.jpg
 

Sketching ideas or the lack of... always leads to something...if nothing else, happy accidents

Tenting

We always work together to set up the tents. It takes a bit of practice to get it all set up before dark.  We are still working out the bugs in the system....

We bought new sleeping bags this year.  They couldn't wait to test them out. From outside the tent I heard the yell "Worm Wars!"...They were flopping about in the bags on the air mattress.  They didn't sleep much....

After Dark - the trail

I never get lost in the woods.  I always know where I am ...wink wink. Its the trail that moves.  Like fish in a stream the "Trail Trout"  swimming through the dirt and the well worn trails.  Every so often they change direction and take the trail with them.  

And the "Mudd Bears" that lie on ground sleeping all day.  If you happen to walk on them while on the trail, they let out this crazy sound.  Its the Mudd Bear, always the Mudd Bear....never Dad....

It's Been A While...

Been out of my head for a while and found it difficult to write, sketch or post. I am sure this happens to many.  Not sure where to go next.

My last project had to do with our summer camping trips.  We spend time in Northern Michigan along the big lakes.  It is very beautiful and allows for great quiet getaways. We spend time with the kids, tenting and hiking in the woods.  I think I like the cookouts the best.  Hot dogs, beans and s'mores are all better outside under the stars.  

Last year we went out in the woods and Nat asked about the animals.  We made up a few of our own.... hope to show more of these in the coming days.  

This Topic is no good...

     Visiting my brother in MN for Christmas. (We had a great time!)  My nephew told me about his high school art project.   Create an image around the theme of "human reflex" meaning reflexes like sneezing, kicking, blinking and coughing. this topic. But at times a topic, no matter how broad, can seem confining.  There were comments about this being a difficult or limiting topic. I see this with my kids also.  

     I think some of the biggest issues with creativity come thinking to literal.  Art can teach abstract thinking that allows a loose interpretation of a task.  This may open up a new way to approach a problem.  Maybe a new way to define a question or task.  

What Is a Cough?

What feeling do you want your viewer to experience?

-Your image can be literal or symbolic...

-You can use different Materials or different Styles....

-Lastly your choice of Composition should work with your previous decisions

Ideation Thought Starters....Thumbnails

Who is coughing and what type of cough.....

Does it need to be a human?  or an object? or show the Environment that you cough in?

Maybe create a stylized expression of a cough....or just the an abstracted graphic representation.....

Materials and Color adds limitless possibilities to this equation 

Homework Sketches...

Some Notes from my son's homework....

40 books

 

I go into 2nd grade tomorrow for a quick and final update on the project I introduced last October.  The book is done but still needs some revisions.  One issue was not having a clear enough voice for each character.  I now realize how much farther I could have taken the writing before the sketching....sounds obvious I suppose until you go throught the process for yourself.  Little things like different line weights and a more relaxed drawing style started to become more obvious on the later pages. Again something to watch for next time...wish me luck tomorrow...

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