About the Workshop

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Offered via the Fine Arts Academy at  the University of Minnesota Duluth, the workshop was team taught by Joellyn Rock (Art + Design faculty) and UMD students in the Digital Methods in Art Education course. Fourteen students (ages 10-14) participated in the five week Digital Art Workshop for Youth.


This after school workshop introduced youth to a range of creative techniques
that can be used to tell digital stories.


Participants created original imagery with tools such as digital cameras and photoshop software. Experimental animation materials such as clay, sand, and other stop-motion techniques were also explored.


The media arts elements of space, time, light, motion, color and sound were integrated to generate unique digital stories spun from well-known tales.


Final stories were edited and rendered in imovie, some include soundtracks mixed in garageband software.



Digital Methods in Art Education

course syllabus > ART 3814 - sec 001
Digital Methods in Art Education


Digital Methods in Art Education introduces Art Ed majors to theoretical and practical experiences with emerging visual technologies. Art projects use the computer as a creative tool and incorporate digital media in their process and  delivery format.


This course provides a forum for the creation and testing of digital art instructional resources for children and youth. Participants are required to develop lesson plans and test their skills as volunteer instructors.

Digital Methods assignments integrate contemporary pedagogical theories of visual culture and current standards for media arts literacy in art education.

Our Creative Process


One of the most creative aspects of our Digital Methods class is the integration of the Digital Art Workshop for Youth.  Art Education students engage in hands-on teaching and mentoring of children ages 10-14 in our after school workshop. 


For the first month of class, Digital Methods students refreshed their skills in photoshop and shared research on animation techniques. When the workshop launched in October, they played various roles, such as demonstrating animation tools, mentoring in the computer lab, and developing visual strategies for collaborative storytelling.

The Digital Methods students selected seven well-known stories to recreate using digital media. Each college student worked in a team with several children during the workshop to produce a group animation on the class theme : Tales of Transformation.


Digital Methods in Art Education students reflect on their mentoring experience on their own blogs.

Fall 2009 Workshop Mentors :

Amara Barthelemy

Shawntelle Bates

Jessalyn Eddy

Brent Erickson

Elise Filmore

Whitney Halquist

Rachel Heisler

Curtis Huso

Christina Johnson

Melissa Kirchoff

Tara Mathison

Amber Burns (Olson)

Amber Parker

Tiffany Quade

Lorena Sell

Jillian Westrum

Sarah Wiesner

view slide show of our creative process

Visual Strategies

The Art Education students chose well-known stories that would fit the class theme: Tales of Transformation. They developed visual strategies and resources to help focus the collaborative projects. Here are their visual plans which include color palettes, media techniques and inspirational artworks to help create visual unity in each story.








Animation Techniques


Inspired by a wealth of innovation in the field of animation, each team needed to integrate at least 2 techniques for creating movement in their story.

All the teams used photoshop as one of their animating tools. Other methods included claymation, shadow puppetry, sand animation, paint animation, and stop-motion with found objects.


Here are some links to student research and found examples of these techniques:

Cut-0ut Animation researched by Elise and Shawntelle

Claymation researched by Lorena and Sarah

Puppet Animation researched by Amara and Jessalyn

Sand / Paint Animation researched by Tara, Christina and Melissa

Stop-motion with Objects researched by Amber and Tiffany

Chalk / Whiteboard / Graffiti Animation researched by Whitney and Jillian

Storyboard Animatic researched by Brent and Curtis

Cameraless Animation researched by Rachel and Amber P.

Show + Tell Event in the Tweed Museum


At the end of the 5 week workshop, we invited the workshop families to join us for our Show and Tell presentation. The Art Education students set up hands-on activities, demonstrating simple stop-motion techniques. We also screened the final versions of the seven Tales of Transformation. It was a blast to share our work, our process, and to enjoy the audience response to all that hard work!

Face Transformations > Day 1

On the first day of the workshop, we introduced the process of using the layers in photoshop to create frames in an animation. Everyone started with a snapshot of their own face, taken with the built-in computer camera in photo booth software. Each participant was asked to envision a transformation of themselves into another character or creature. The image was opened in photoshop, and changed step by step, duplicating the layer and painting on the image. Layers were reopened in the photoshop animation window, timing was adjusted and they were rendered as quicktime movies.

Tales of Transformation > on YouTube!

Here are the final stories, by the seven teams:

The Frog Prince animation created by Maddie and Johanna, mentored by Christina, Whitney, and Amber. This group used Monet's water lilies for their visual influence and color palette. They experimented with paint on a light table as one animation technique.

Icarus animation created by Charlie and Dane, mentored by Curtis, Brent, and Amber. The visual look of this project was inspired by the recent animated sci-fi fantasy film "9" and other dark, mechanical, stop motion work.

The Ugly Pumpkin created by Emma and Charlie, mentored by Tara, Jillian and Melissa. This is a new version of The Ugly Duckling, inspired by the Halloween season and the Pop Art graphics of Andy Warhol.

The Evil Teacher and the Werewolf animation created by Ben and Ben, mentored by Shawntelle and Sarah. This is an original plot line, spun from the werewolf legend. The project was influenced by shadow puppet animation and employs a color harmony of greens with black silhouettes.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow created by Wyatt and Ryan, mentored by Jessalyn and Amara. This story derives from a German folktale, Dutch Ghost stories, and the legend penned by Washington Irving about a headless horseman. The visual look and color harmony was influenced by the painter Goya. Sand animation on a light table was one of the techniques explored.

Skulluth Begins created by Gina and Aadi, mentored by Rachel and Tiffany. The group took inspiration from Roy Lichenstein's comic book style using primary colors and simplified forms. Here the Pinocchio story of an inanimate object wished to real life takes a few new twists. They also added some claymation into the mix.
A second version of the Skulluth story was created by Aadi. It's viewable on Tiffany's blog:

Beauty and the Horse animation was created by Ellie and Nils, mentored by Lorena and Elise. This story is based on a version of Beauty and the Beast from the Netherlands. Visual inspiration and color palette came from the work of artists Vincent Van Gogh and Franz Marc.

Thanks to the Tweed Museum of Art!

The Tweed Museum of Art generously opened its activity gallery to us each Tuesday, allowing us a space to set up special animation stations for sand, paint, and stop-motion experiments. We love having this great resource on our campus and sharing it with kids and families! Thanks Tweed!


Tweed Museum Education

Fine Arts Academy Offerings

We wouldn't have been able to offer our workshop without the support of UMD's Fine Arts Academy. Thanks to Kathy and Kathy for all their help with registration and office support.
Look for future workshops via the Fine Arts Academy.