Happy October! Fall is such a beautiful and inspiring season. It's also a very contemplative time of year for us. We were recently thinking about the art of animation and how fun it is to explore. Animation is a great art unit that connects with other subjects across the school curriculum. Here are some tips, activities and resources you can use to begin building an animation unit for your art program.
1. Character Development
Well developed characters are the heart of great animations. Share a list of some of your favorite animated characters (as shown below) from comic books/tv shows/movies with your students and have them to make a list of theirs. Lead them in a discussion about the lists. Ask questions such as "What qualities do you like about the characters?" or "Which character has the coolest design?" Meanwhile, you can connect some of the examples that students share to the Elements and Principles of Art.
After the discussion, they can create an original character. They can draw or paint the character or use an iPad/computer to create it. Encourage young artists to keep their character designs simple. For artists in grade 3+, they can also design a movie poster highlighting their original creations.
2. Create a Simple Storyboard & Animation
Illustrating a story board is a great way to help young artists develop critical thinking skills. After you share some examples of storyboard art with them, they can plan out a simple 4 frame storyboard with their original character. A storyboard is a visual organizer depicting action scenes in a story. You can also display examples of comic book/strip illustrations to further explore how storyboards work.
Young artists can further use their characters to create a simple hand-drawn animation like a thaumatrope, flip book or stop-motion animation. Here's a simple 2 Frame animation that we created with a simple character.
3. Learn About Important Black Animators
While there are prolific Black animators who blazed a trail like Floyd Norman, Frank Braxton, Leo Sullivan and Ron Husband, there's a whole new generation of Black animators creating eye-catching stories with dynamic characters.
Creatives like Bruce W. Smith, Taylor K. Shaw and Peter Ramsey are adding their talents to a variety of exciting animated projects. You can learn more about these phenomenal artists by visiting www.CBR.com to read a fantastic article detailing the multimedia projects they are affiliated with.
There are many more art lessons that you can add to your animation unit including 2D/3D computer animations, animation in multimedia presentations, video game animation, animation careers. etc. Make sure to explore our website to find more resources connected to this topic. and share below in the comments about how you explore the art of animation in your creative space.
Another great idea for developing an outstanding extra-curricular program, is to provide a workshop for art students from another school to visit and work with the art students on a project at your school.We created an animation workshop to give some of the middle school art students in our district an opportunity to preview the animation class that our school provided. It also allowed the middle school art students to interact with high school art students in a positive environment.
First, we contacted the middle school art teacher to see if she would be interested in bringing her students to this kind of workshop. After she eagerly said "Yes!", we set up a date and time for her to bring over 2-3 of her art classes.
Each group rotated through three different spaces that were set up with animation related activities. In one classroom the middle students were introduced to Macromedia Director by the high school students. Each middle school student partnered with a high school student. The second activity was in the school art gallery. In the gallery, we set up a display of character illustrations, storyboards and videos of flipbooks created by high school art students. The middle school students created an original character and simple storyboard in the art gallery. In the last classroom space, the visiting students created a simple flipbook. Each activity lasted one hour and the students had a great time. All of the students got along well and the middle school art teacher enjoyed the "field trip" experience that we provided for her students.
Art For The Creative Soul
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