December 2009 Archives

Digital Storytelling Reflection

For this project our class teamed up with junior high students to create digital narrative animations by appropriating classic fairy tales and stories. There were two students per group, and two or three mentors per group. It was awesome to have so many mentors for the students because it helped work go faster, and the students always had a resource to answer questions. Mentors designed a storyboard as well as a guide that showed examples of an artist students would draw inspiration from as well as a color guide. The mentors and students then collaborated to come up with how they wanted to create their animations. In the Frog Prince group Monet was our inspiration. We updated our story by having the "princes character drop and i-pod in a pond instead of a pearl. We chose to scan in hand drawn images and manipulate them in photoshop for speed and to go with our painterly aesthetic. We also created a paint animation which was the background for most of our animation. After creating our clips in photoshop we brought them into I Movie and added sound effects, special effects, and music.
Overall this project wet really great. The students and mentors loved it although it was stressful at times. If I had to do a similar project again I would look for ways to simplify the animation process so the students would be more involved. I think I would also let the kids build their own narrative around their own character so they would have more freedom, and perhaps be more free to create and have fun. The pressure around building a long narrative based on an already existing story seemed to be a little too much for the amount of time the kids had to work. No matter what story or project is used I would also allow for a few more class periods for students to work.

Ideas for how to use similar animation in classroom:

-Use the idea of a flip book to make simple animation. Girl flying background changes, body moves. This way movement and animation could be simple but you could really play around with the visual elements. I would accomplish this with photoshop, but you could also add in background stills of other animations. Perhaps your character will fly through a paint animation.

-Have the class collectively work on one narrative so they are all responsible for one scene. You could set up basic characters and story plot but each group could reinterpret them to create their part of the movie. You could then piece the clips together to get a remix type loose story line.


UMD Art Education

I am currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota Duluth as an Art Education Major. UMD has a wonderful program for Art Education and I feel very lucky to be apart of this program. To find out more visit this website:

Tweed Museum of Art

The Tweed Museum of Art at UMD was a great resource for this class, and is a great museum to have on campus. Visit their site:

Digital Art in Education

Digital Methods in Art Education
ART 3814 - sec 001

taught by:
Joellyn Rock Assistant Professor Department of Art + Design 
University of Minnesota Duluth

     I took this class at UMD, for which I made this blog.  It was a very awesome experience where I learned innovative ways to use digital arts in the classroom.  Visit this website to learn more:

Chalk Animation Music Video

As a reaction to my chalk animation lesson plan, I decided to make my own chalk animation music video. I wrote and played the background music as well as creating the chalk animation. It was a really tedious process to make such a large chalk animation as well as integrating the background and human character. It took about 10 hrs total for production. It wouldn't have taken as long with out the scene with the brick bridge, but still I did not expect the process to be so involved and long. I really enjoyed the process, but if I did a similar project with students I would simplify it a lot. I also found out that creating the illusion of movement across a landscape is much harder than doing transformations with chalk animation so I would encourage students to develop a plot around a transformation. I'm really happy with my final outcome and am glad that I put in the long hours to get a very innovative chalk animation that I hope others will also enjoy.

Kandinsky and Annimation

Kandinsky and Annimation

Grade Level/age: 5th grade, 10 to 11 year olds

Time needed: 5 class  periods

Focus: Gaining an understanding of Photoshop by constructing Kandinsky inspired animations. We will focus specificly on learning about the tools of Photoshop like the pencil, pen, eyedropper, paint bucket, stamp, selection tools, and Opacity.

a. 1. Describe the use of elements in media arts such as image, sound, space, time, motion and sequence.
b. 2. Describe how the principles of media arts such as repetition, unity contrast are used in the creation, presentation or response to media artworks.
c. Learn basic tools of Photoshop.

Motivational Resources

-handout on the explanation of the Kandinsky Animation project  

-Power-point of Kandinsky's work including :

 Harmony Tranguille

Swinging, Several circles Asserting, Accent on Rose Composition, Circles in Circles, Traverse Line, black Relationship, Contrasting Sounds, Calm Bend, All Around 

Traverse Line.jpg

Circles Retro Mod Painting

Farbstudie Quadrate


Kandinsky Annimation and Movie of different works:

unknown artist

youtube artist Toonadelphia

youtube artist Evenstar100 (Chris)

youtube artist lazyconquistador (Nathan)

Short clip explaining Kandinsky's connection of color and sound

Pianist Jade Simmons introduces her newest innovative performance project called Scriabin and Kandinsky: Hearing Color, Seeing Sound

Music by Schoenberg

Art Materials:

  Expressionism started in a variety of countries around 1905 however German expressionists were some of the most well known and really ran with this movement (Pioch).  There were two primary waves of Expressionism including Die Brucke (the Bridge) and Der Blau Reiter (The Blue Rider) (Pioch).  Die Brucke was highly inspired by Van Gogh, Gauguin, and prehistoric art (Pioch).  The leader of this group was the artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.  Their work was dark and full of tension.  They became most famous for their woodcut prints and use of Graphic elements (Pioch).  Der Blau Reiter was the second wave and founded by Vasily Kandinsky, marc, and Gabriel Munter in 1911 (The Blue Rider).  The group focused on color shapes and forms and their relationship to sound and music.  They also focused on the spiritual qualities of color and how they can enhance the viewer's experience of a painting. (The Blue Rider).
  Vasily Kandinsky was famous for his Expressionist paintings, which were highly influenced by the elements of music.  He once said "The very word composition called forth in me an inner vibration.  Subsequently, I made it my aim in life to paint a composition" (Dabrowski, pg 11).  His inspiration and source of content in his paintings come from the expression of his feelings, as he responds to events of an internal nature (Dabrowski, pg 11).  Although he started painting around the age of thirty he did not really begin to develop his personal style until 1909 when he was in his early forties (Dabrowski, pg 12-13).  He was born in Moscow, Russia to a wealthy merchant, was well educated, and he initially studied the law and economics (Dabrowski, pg 12).  There were two main events that lead Kandinsky to become an artist, the viewing of Monet's Haystack Painting at a French Impressionist opening, and the realization that music can create images in ones mind through the performance of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin (Dabrowski, pg 13).  Kandinsky was also inspired by the composer Arnold Schoenberg.  They shared a belief that modern art and atonal music were traveling in the same direction, breaking previous traditional beliefs of both forms of art (Leggio, pg 98).  So not only were Kandinsky's compositions inspired by the expression of his feelings but the feelings are also a reaction to his close listening and study of music.  In his compositions the dot is the equivalent of one tone in music, and he uses this basic element to build up a composition of harmony that reflects the harmony of the music he is inspired by (Leggio pg 105).  Other important elements in his pieces are lines, circles, and geometric shapes.  He uses a variety of intensely saturated colors combined with muted and transparent color to create harmony and balance in his piece.  He also uses dark black line through out his paintings to unify, organize, and create movement through his paintings.

Instructional Procedure:
  Class 1:  Students will view a power point presentation of Kandinsky's paintings and how they were inspired by music and personal feelings.  They will then receive a handout on the upcoming project, which is to create a Kandinsky inspired Photoshop animation.  Students will also view examples of Kandinsky animations to gain inspiration for their own Photoshop animations.  We will end with each student researching at their computer to find two to four Kandinsky Paintings that will be the inspiration for their animations.

Class 2:  Introduction to Photoshop tools including paintbrush, pen tool, paint bucket, shape tool.  Students will be asked to watch how to use each tool and then practice using that tool after each demonstration.  They will also be shown how to work in layers, so that each time they practice a tool they start a new layer, from a merged copy of the previous layer.  Also a demonstration of the stamp tool will be conducted by making a stamp from one of Kandinsky's paintings.  Each student will be asked to make a stamp from one of the paintings they picked for inspiration.  Color adjustment will also be explained as well as Opacity.  Lastly students will learn how to open up their animation window, and create a short animation of their practice through their layers.  After seeing how animation in layers works students will be asked to bring in a progression of how they want to build and change their Kandinsky composition through 5 small drawings.

Class 3:  Class will open with a short discussion on how you can use color, and the way and order your composition develops to add interest and movement. An explanation on how Kandinsky uses repetition of color line and shapes to unify his compositions and create harmony.  Also how he creates order with the contrast between color and the use of black outlines through out his work.  Students will also be reminded how to work in layers, and how to copy a merged layer.   Students will then have the rest of the hour to develop their compositions, remembering to make each new element in a new layer.  As they work the video "Wassily Kandinsky Art" will be playing in the background for inspiration with out sound as well as some Schoenberg music that was one of Kandinsky's biggest inspirations.  Students will be told to listen to the sound of the music and see if it influences how your composition develops.

Class 4:  Students will get to work right away with Schoenberg playing in the background.  After they finish they will be shown how to export their annimations as a quicktime video and put it in a public class file. During the last part of the hour Students will vote on their 3 favorite Schoenberg songs and sign up for their animation to be shown with their favorite of the 3.  From this list the instructor will string together the animations into one video with Schoenberg songs in the background. 

Class 5:  Students will watch the video of their class work, and pick three animations that caught their attention and write why in terms of image, color, and movement.  Writing for each will be one to two sentences.

Evaluation/Assessment-  Critical analysis through short written reaction

Discipline Based Art Education:
Art production:  Students made Kandinsky Inspired animations

Aesthetics:  Students were introduced to the aesthetics of Expressionism through the work of Kandinsky 

Art History:  Students learned about the Expressionism movement as well as the artist Vasily Kandinsky.

Art Criticism:  Students wrote a short reaction to their classes work by picking three animations that stood out to them and why in terms of the elements used, as well as color, and movement.


 "The Blue Rider."  12 Dec. 2009.    

 Dabrowski, Magdalena.  Kandinsky Compositions.  Harry N. Abrams: New York, 1995.

 Leggio, James, ed.  Music and Modern Art.  Routledge: New York and London, 2002. 

 Pioch, Nicolas.  "Expressionism". Web Museum, Paris.  14 Oct. 2002. 12 dec. 2009



Robin Rhode and Chalk Annimation

Robin Rhode and Chalk Animation

Grade level/age: 8th grade, 13 to 14 year olds

Time needed: 5 class periods

Learning about Chalk animation and Robin Rhode as a chalk artist and how he uses limited resources of chalk and a camera to create really unique stop motion films and still images. It will also teach students to use chalk animation.

a. Analyze how the elements in media arts such as image, sound, space, time, motion and sequence, are combined to communicate meaning in the creation of, presentation of, or response to media arts.
b. Analyze how a work in media arts influencesand is influenced by the personal, social, cultural and historical contexts, including the contributions of Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities.
c. Gain an understanding of chalk annimaiton and how it can be used in the art world.

Motivational Resources

Handmade example of a thaumatrope

Early Example of chalk animation:

Stuart Blackton

French artist Emile Kohl

Example of line Annimation

Directed by David Piel, adapted from Crockett Johnson's children's book 

Example of wall-painted annimation

The artist Blu

Examples of chalk annimation

unable to find artist

from Firekites' album 'The Bowery'. music video co-directed by Yanni Kronenberg and Lucinda Schreiber

Whiteboard Animation

Kristofer Strom

Unknown artist

Robin Rhode Intro Movie

Robin Rhode Animation

Art Materials:
Bucket of water
(can be adapted to whiteboard with Markers)

  Artists have been seeking the ideas of animation since the beginning of art.  Cave artists tried to create the illusion of movement by making an eight legged boar in the Altamira cave's of Northern Spain, and Egyptian wall decorations resemble a comic book or story board (James).  Eventually the development of thaumatropes by Paul Roget began the idea of the persistence of vision which was an essential piece to developing animation (James).  Thaumatropes show one object on each side of a piece of paper and have two strings attached.  When you twirl the strings your eyes sees both objects together even though physically only one side of the paper is in view at any given time.  The first animation really set way after the invention of the motion camera and projector by Thomas A. Edison (James).  One of the first ever animations was actually a chalk animation created in 1906 by Stuart Blackton called "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" (James).  The first full length animated film was also a chalk animation.  Fantasmagaria was created by French artist Emile Kohl and was a huge contribution to the development of animation as a film genre ("Meep! Meep!").  Today Chalk animation is alive and still used in a variety of ways.  Everything from music videos, commercials, and the fine arts.
  One particular artist who is well known for his work in Chalk animation is Robin Rhode.  He grew up in Cape Town, South Africa shortly before the apartheid ended ("Catch Air").  His origins as an artist come from simple chalk line drawings on surfaces including brick walls, parking lots, and eventually gallery spaces (Hasting, pg 264).  Rhode's work usually includes some sort of live performance in or outside of the gallery space (Hasting, pg 264).  He also documents his work through stop motion films and photographs (Hasting, pg 264).  His work is highly influenced by the racial challenges and identity of a mixed race man in South Africa ("Catch Air").  The aesthetics of his work reflects the graphite hip hop culture by using surfaces that you would find graphite, such as walls and blacktop. He then uses subjects that are connected highly to the hip hop culture like basketball and Music to talk about his struggle and identity as a mixed race man (Hasting, pg 264).  Although his chalk animations are simple and often done in humble circumstances, this aspect enhances his concept even more by using materials and mediums that directly relate to the people he is speaking about.  The fact that his performances are comparable to the work of street performers in his culture is another way he connects his art to his message  (Hasting, pg 264)

Instructional Procedure:
Class 1:  Open class with a short introduction to the history of chalk animation showing early films including "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" and "Fantasmagaria".  Show more recent movies that use ideas of chalk animation including "Harold and the Purple Crayon", "Muto", "Awesome Chalk Animation", 'Fire Kites, Autumn Story", "Hitchhikers Choice", and "Whiteboard Animation.  We will end the examples with an introduction to Robin Rhode as a fine artist working with chalk as a medium.  Students will then be introduced to their assignment of making their own chalk animation music video in groups of about 5.  Students will pick groups and begin to brainstorm songs and ideas for their music video for the rest of class.  Homework assignment is to have one member of the group bring in the song they will use.

Class 2:  First students will see a demonstration of how you use a camera to capture your chalk animation, and how to measure what will and won't be in your camera lens.  Then Students will meet in their groups at a table to make a storyboard of their animation using paper and pencil.  They will be instructed to think of a particular point in their song they want to animate for which will be about 20 to 30 seconds.  Students will be reminded to think of ways they can add interest to their videos through movement, morphing, and perhaps the introduction of their own body or other objects if appropriate.  The imagery they choose can also be affected and react to the section of music they pick.  They will also be reminded to keep drawings fairly simple, similar to the examples of chalk animation shown in class.  Students will sign up for a time to create their chalk animation sometime during the next two class periods.  If a group feels ready they can begin their chalk animation during the second half of the class period.

Class 3:  The first three groups should start chalk animation, and two should totally complete the animation process (This is If you have 4 groups total, if you have 5 or 6 then the first 3 groups should complete animation.  You can make larger groups if necessary.)  While students are waiting they can continue to develop and practice drawing for their own chalk animations. Once a group is done the teacher will help the group download images and put them into iMovie to create their chalk animation (The Computer should be in close proximity to the chalkboard or you may need student helpers to keep a controlled atmosphere).  They will also find the part of the song they would like to go with their animation from the music source they provide (C.D. or from Flash drive).

Class 4:  This class will be used for completing the last two groups chalk animations and downloading and organizing the last of the photos into iMovie.  While groups are beginning to finish or not have a lot to do they will get to learn how to form the animations by watching the instructor in iMovie.  The Instructor will prepare a D.V.D of all the animations together.

Class 5:  The last day will be a time to celebrate.  We will watch the chalk animations and each student will write three reasons why they think their piece was successful in terms of movement, development, relation to sound, and imagery.  They will also give three things they would like to improve.  The class will end with cookies, punch, and team photos.

Discipline Based Art Education:
   Art production:  In groups Students made a chalk animation
   Aesthetics:  Students learned the simple line drawn aesthetics of chalk animation through      
    the work of Robin Rhode and other examples of line, chalk, whiteboard, and paint   
  Art History:  Students learned how chalk animation developed and how it's being used in the  
    fine art world today through the Artist, Robin Rhode.
  Art Criticism:  Students used critical analysis to evaluated their own work through writing 
    three ways they were successful and three ways they could improve.


Catch Air: Robin Rhode @ Wexner Center.  Per. Robin Rhode and Catharina Machanda.  Wexner Center for the Arts, 23 March 2009.  12 Dec 2009.

Hasting, Julia, design.  Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing. Phaidon: New York, 2005.

James, Patrick.  "History of Animation the Early Years: Before Disney."  Department of Visualization Texas A and M University.  13 Dec. 2009.

""Meep! Meep!" A History of Animation".  Random History. 31 May 2008. 13 Dec 2009.