Moving from physical art to digital artefact

Northampton Inspire meeting on 10th February 2014

Moving from physical art to digital artefact

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Our second meeting was inspired by the work of Brazilian artist Mira Schendel who made over 2000 monotype drawings on rice paper in the 1960s. Jean Edwards shared some of her own drawings which explore mark making in a similar way using ink on layers of translucent and transparent surfaces. Jean then led a practical art session along with Tracey Sherwood from the School of Art, assisted by students Martyna and Julian, and we all experimented with small and larger scale applications of these techniques.  2014-02-10 16.49.34Exciting effects were achieved by adding coloured lights and photographing artwork in front of a light box. We went on to manipulate our photos on iPads using the photo editing app Be Funky (also available as a free online tool). Be Funky is easy to use and children can achieve a wide range of results by experimenting with filters and sliders. This type of activity is particularly apt for responding to poems, creating book illustrations or exploring an environment using photography.  Mira Schendel makes use of lettering in her work:

Lettering effects can be achieved using printing letters and ink on tracing paper or digitally by using the apps PathOn Swipe to Type or Type the example below from Bliss Charity School shows:


We finished a most productive evening by mirroring images from the iPads onto the interactive whiteboard and sharing ideas from our classrooms. Illustrator Dave Barrow showed us some of his artwork and explained how he uses graphics software such as Paint Shop Pro or Gimp, both which can be downloaded for free. These applications allow him to control layers of colour in the manner of a printmaker when he works with digital representations of his physical paintings.  Something to be explored at a future meeting maybe! CaptureFinally here is a link to the @AdobeUKStudents courses that Chris Dicken mentioned:



Northampton Inspire 1st

Circles and Spheres

Exploring Circles and Spheres (26.11.14)

We used used the starting point of ‘circles and spheres’ to explore practical making through art, sharing useful links and apps as well as considering curriculum planning around this theme that relates to SteAm subjects.

Firstly Helen Caldwell introduced the new Google Community for the group – if you have a gmail address you can join and contribute or if not, you can still have a look at this link

We used the Campaign for Drawing ‘The Big Draw‘ theme for this year – It’s Our World. Rebecca Heaton demonstrated how mark-making, drawing and collage could be combined to create an imaginary skyline and we all worked on this theme to begin with.

After this each participant took a photo of their artwork and we tried some different apps to manipulate the images. Jean Edwards introduced the app ‘Fragment’. This app allows you to open upshapes within the image and manipulate size, orientation and colours. You can see a brief guide to the main features here

Helen Caldwell introduced the app ‘Rollworld’. With this app a photo or image can be ‘rolled up’ in different ways making it seem three dimensional or ‘stereographic’. Sliders can be used to control the various effects or you can experiment randomly to see what happens to the image.

Tracey Sherwood brought along the digital microscope and we looked at images and ‘stuff’ close up – like peering into a hidden tiny world.

some of the images we made
some of the images we made

Towards the end of the meeting we shared a googledoc linking Science, Technology,Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (steAm) to the primary National Curriculum and possible learning activities. Participants shared ideas and we added to the googledoc which can act as a shared resource for all to use. Have a look on the google community for a link to this and feel free to add any further circles and sphere ideas to it.

collaborative imaginary town
collaborative imaginary town

By the end of the meeting Rebecca and Tracey had created a collaborative installation using the drawings so that they made an imaginary town. This combination of making and manipulating images in real life’ and digitally provides many opportunities for creativity and learning!


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After the meeting I made this starter activity that could be fun to try:

circle starter activity
circle starter activity

Other ideas for you to follow up:

Have a look at these 360 landscapes made with the app Tiny Planets on the iPad Art Room blog:

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And look at these lovely Petri dish spheres by Klari Reis:

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More about Klari Reis here:  A daily dish

You can use this Pinterest board to explore other images inspired by circles and spheres:



Images and Text

An Animoto from The Bliss Charity School showing how they used the app Path On Swipe to Type to annotate drawings inspired by the book Skellig by David Almond.

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Other interesting text effects can be explored using aTypo Picture a text-based photo filter for taking an existing image and overlaying with text,  and Type Drawing for creating typography art by typing what you want to say and then drawing with text.

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 19.51.50Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 19.52.07


Images from Hansol Huh.

Over, Skitch and Phonto apps allow you to add text to images.

Over app and Phonto apps are reviewed for use in the classroom by Seomra Ranga.






Abstract Expressionism

Inspiring idea: Action paintings: Digital v’s Traditional

Artist inspiration: The Abstract Expressionists: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman

Gallery links: MoMa New York

Guggenheim New York

Activity: Explore the notion of action painting with your class looking at the work of the abstract expressionists: blow, drip, flick, roll and dance with your paint across large and small papers, boards and canvases. Build up multiple layers, explore the relationship between the world of colour and emotion and experience the practices of the great abstract expressionist painters.

Then explore this in a digital sense, use a range of paint applications- sketchbook pro, art rage, brushes- what digital abstract works can you create? Explore the best iPad apps.

Key Questions: Which experience was the most rewarding? Why? Why do you think there are a lot of artists now using digital media? What have you learnt about the abstract expressionists? How does colour link to emotion? What is the value of using different painting effects? Why did the abstract expressionists create art in this way?