Digital Directed Draw: Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey with three different color tail feathers
In celebration of Thanksgiving, here's another digital directed draw that culminates with a Turkey and students learning different tips and tricks with Google Drawing along the way.

Here's how to create a turkey:
  1. Go to drive.google.com > New > More > Google Drawings
  2. Change Canvas Size (Optional): File > Page Set-up > Choose your desired size.
  3. Change Back Ground Color (Optional): Right Click on canvas > Background > Choose desired background color.  The default background color is transparent with the checkerboard pattern.  I prefer a white background while I'm creating within Google Drawing and then may change to a different color or make transparent when complete.
    Background highlighted with many different colors displayed
  4. Create the Basic Structure of the Tail Feathers with the Block Arc Tool 
  5. Shape Tool Menu highlighted with Block arc tool

  6. Duplicate and Layer the Tail Feathers. Tips: Select image > Option (Mac) or Control (PC/Chromebook) and Drag copy of image to desired spot. 
    Three block arc layers with brownish colors layers on top of each other

  7. Using Circle Tools, Draw Body, Head, and Eyes.  Tip: I recommend drawing the eyes off canvas and then drag onto the drawing.
    Turkey image on the left and circle shape on the right
  8.  Give your Turkey a Beak, and a Wattle, Snood, and/or Caruncle.  I recommend drawing off canvas and place on the drawing.   Tip: Move image 5 px at a time using the arrow keys or use Shift + Arrows to move 1 px at a time for even more control.
    Turkey without any legs
  9. Use the polyline tool to create a closed shape for the legs.  Tip: Double-click on the polyline shape to reveal the purple nodes. Move the purple nodes to achieve your desired shape.
    polyline tool highlighted  purple nodes around the right leg
  10. Explore and Play!  Create a rafter of turkeys.  Create a background for your turkey(s).
    5 turkeys of different sizes and looking in different directions
If your students enjoy this digital direct draw, they may enjoy some more directed draws!


Google Drawing: Digitize Original Art

Recently, I was working on a CreativeBug class on using Photoshop and Illustrator to Digitize Art and create patterns. It occurred to me how Google Drawing could be used to do something similar by creating a vector image of original artwork.

I opened a blank Google Drawing, inserted an image of a lily watercolor I did over the summer.

Single Lily Flower with 2 green leaves and 2 blooms

Then, I began using the polyline tool to create a vector drawing of the flower. I used the Color Pick Eyedropper Extension to match the colors.  The colors could be further enhanced if I paid more attention to lighting when taking the original picture.

Vector Drawing of Single Lily Flower on Left, Watercolor of same Lily Flower on Right

Then, I grouped the different images and proceeded to shrink down my original image to create a repeated pattern and changed the background color.

repeating pattern of small lily flowers on a pink background

I can imagine using this method in the classroom as a means to remix and repurpose student artwork. 

As I continue to explore various Adobe Creative Cloud Apps in my free time, I'm constantly reminded how many parallels exist between Google Drawing and these industry standard creation apps. Students versed in media creation using Google Drawing are well-prepared to extend their creative practice using Adobe Creative Cloud Apps.


One Word 2017

For 2017, my one word is create.  Whether that is experimenting with different materials and techniques, such as glitter paint and layering CMYK markers or creating less tangible things such as opportunities or learning pathways for others, I want creation to be my focus.

Recently, I've been reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert and one line has stuck out for me. "Most things have already been done--but they have not been done by you." This has resonated with me because in my mind I can put brakes on a project, blog post, or idea because it has already been done and exists out there. The fact that I have more draft blog posts than published posts is a great example. This idea that something hasn't been done by me is liberating and something I want to incorporate into my practice and share with my colleagues and with students who often similarly stop themselves. As Gilbert also says "Creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience."

Last Spring and Summer, I began a daily drawing practice that I sustained for 3 1/2 months. It was glorious. I enjoyed every minute of it but as my schedule became hectic with school starting, I allowed the excuses to creep and abandoned the practice only drawing or painting when "I had time." This was terribly misguided. There is always time to create because at our core we are creative beings who have a need to create. I know this is true for me because with just a week of consecutive days of creating so far, I feel more focused, grounded, and alive. That's why I have challenged myself to create something every day during 2017.  If I do this for myself, I will be better positioned to create things to help others in my work that extends far beyond what I do with pens and paint. You can follow my daily create challenge on Instagram.


Digital Directed Draw: Pumpkin

 In celebration of Fall, Halloween, and harvest festivals, here's a digital directed draw that you can do with students using Google Drawing. If you've never done a digital directed draw with students, it's a fun way to introduce Google Drawing and various tips and tricks to students.  Most everything you can do in Drawing you can also do in Slides and Docs. Whenever I do Digital Directed Draws with students, I start by showing them a model of what we are going to create and explain that the objective is not to create, in this case, a pumpkin that looks exactly like mine but make it your own. I tell students that I'm going to make a very traditional pumpkin that's orange but if they want to make a purple pumpkin, that's great! This little pep talk ensures that you have individual creations through the classroom for maximum creativity.

Here's how to create your pumpkin.

1. Go to drive.google. com > New > Create > Google Drawings

2. Change Canvas Size (Optional): File > Page Set-up > Choose your desired size.

3. Change BackGround Color: Right Click on canvas > Background > Choose desired background color. The default background is transparent with the checkerboard pattern.

4.  Create the Basic Structure of the Pumpkin with Ovals, Half Moons, and Rectangle.

pumpkin outline and shape tool menu with oval, rectangle and halfmoon shapes circled in red

5. Use the fill, line, and line width tools to change the color and weight of your pumpkin.
Fill Color, Line Color, and Line Weight Tools Outlined in Red Circles

6. Use the Scribble Tool to create a vine for your pumpkin.
Line Tool Bar with Line, Arrow, Elbow Connector, Curved Connector, Curve, Polyline, and Scribble options

Finally, give students a chance to play and create a background for their pumpkin(s). Here's the landscape I created for my pumpkin.

Halloween Scene with Jack-o-lantern, full moon, 4 bats, 4 trick or treaters, a spooky tree, and a haunted house on a hill.

If you'd like borrow some slides also describing how to make a pumpkin from my #FallCUE presentation last year that includes some additional tips and tricks.


3 Months of Daily Drawing

31 Days of July Pattern Motifs
As July comes to an end it marks 3 months of daily drawing exercises. So far, it's been a remarkable experience and has transformed into a daily habit that provides a much-needed creative break. The focus in July has been on pattern motifs using watercolor brush pens on index cards. I love the versatility of these pens as well as the ease of using index cards that can double as post cards. I plan on using these techniques to create personalized thank you cards in the future.

Not only has the daily drawing practice provided a great diversion, I've found that it also promotes creativity and flexibility in my drawing. Recently, I got my first iPad and have been experimenting with digital sketchnotes. So far, the jury is out as to whether or not I prefer the digital medium over pen and paper when capturing my thinking visually, especially during live events. One thing I know for sure is that incorporating a daily drawing practice has expanded my visual vocabulary. It has helped me become more fluid in my drawing and designs, both analog and digital. And it's fun and relaxing!

The daily challenge for August focuses on Art Journaling which I know nothing about...yet. With school starting back up again soon, I am looking forward to 31 days filled with opportunities to learn and create each and every day.