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22 Apr 2015
Comments: 1

3 Reasons Why Every Student Artist Should Explore the Use of iPad Apps…

It has come to my attention that there are a fair number of artists and art teachers that are of the mindset that iPads are essentially used for research, doodling, and drawing inspiration and not as a tool for traditional art creation. I could wax intellectual on this topic but as most of my “art” and design is digital in nature… I thought I would let my sister-in-law, Melissa Johnson, talented mixed media artist extraordinaire and published art journaler, take the stage…

Melissa too admits that blending digital tools with original art was a bit foreign to her at first…

“It never crossed my mind to combine the two, as I am more of a “hands on” type of artist, but after a day spent with Lisa I realized there were many ways that technology and traditional art can work together beautifully to create something fun, new, and easy to share.” – Melissa Johnson

So Where is the Best Place to Start?

Melissa Art Step Sheet 2.001

Melissa began by researching different apps to see what she could incorporate into her existing art. For her purposes, she found ArtRage, NoteShelf, Paper 53, and Autodesk Pixlr to be her go-to digital art palette.

“I have to say that digitally altering my artwork has brought a whole new skill set into my repertoire that I quite enjoy!” – Melissa Johnson

I would have to agree. In fact, Melissa was actually featured for her digital art prowess in the latest edition of Somerset Art Journal.

What is the Benefit of Blending Digital with Traditional Art?

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So for those of you that need a bulleted list of pros to “sell” you on this idea… 😉

  • Growth As an Artist and Increased Risk-Taking: Melissa says she feels like she gets more out of her art by working digitally since she can start a page by hand in her studio, create a background and a few elements, and then scan or take a picture of the hand-crafted art and continue to work on it. She can use the same background multiple times and explore new skills to create something different by adding layers, a myriad of clip art, and new text, and doesn’t fear making a mistake because everything digital can be undone and redone.
  • More Mileage out of Art Supplies and Time: Melissa also mentions that the ability to easily edit and work over original hand-drawn art is beneficial because it doesn’t require pulling out and cleaning up all of the costly art supplies and can be done from the comfort of her couch.
  • Sharing and Publishing: And of course… in this digital age of authorship… sharing and publishing is integral and can be transformative for an artist. Not only does Melissa share how “going digi” has influenced her work on her own blog. She now uses other apps and tools to create tutorials and best practices that impact other artists with their process and final creations.

Melissa shares her step-by-step process with examples in this posther proven secret for doubling her artistic creativity, what going “digi” really looks like, and even more before and after pics of her original art blended with iPad apps.

Tell Me More About the Apps Artists Use to Share and Publish…

Melissa Art Apps

Beyond the apps that Melissa uses to repurpose her art… she also dabbles with apps like Snapguide and Haiku Deck to create step tutorials for hand-created art and has been thrilled that these tutorials have not only been well received but driven traffic back to her own blog and original art. Here are some examples:

  • Snapguide: Melissa uses Snapguide to document her process and to create tutorials. (Note: As Austin Kleon states, “people do really want to see how the sausage gets made.” Many times we complete a project or create art but never reflect on the process and the outcome. Snapguide is an essential tool to focus students on strategic organization as well as blending cognition and process-based reflection.) See all 14 of Melissa’s guides here!
  • Haiku Deck: Melissa shares tips for finding “Inspiration for Art” using Haiku Deck. (Note: This would be a fabulous project for students to do as well as it really digs deep in to metacognition and  what inspires us.) She also has a deck on “5 Tips for Starting an Art Journal” (which includes additional detailed information in the speaker notes). (Note: Another type of fantastic art project for students is to document their own process and journey through a style of art while simultaneously showcasing their art.)

My Top 5 Tips For Starting an Art Journal – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

How Does this New Blended Modality Benefit Our Students?

Melissa Art Step Sheet.001

Many of our students take art classes. Melissa mentions that combining hand-drawn art with digital apps opens up new doors for exploration and creativity…

“combining the digital element with the hands on experience can be exciting for students since many of these apps lend themselves to a whole other creative approach to making art. How rewarding to create something by hand, then layer on digital elements to create something unique and imaginative.” – Melissa Johnson

Additionally, Melissa mentions that even students that struggle with actual drawing and sketching can benefit from this new modality…

“the ability to manipulate an existing image digitally can really help them express their creativity without the frustration of not being able to draw well.” – Melissa Johnson

 What More Do you Have For Me Today… TechChef?

You know I can’t help but leave you with additional links and resources so here goes…


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29 Apr 2014
Comments: 15

Thrifty Tuesday: Transformational iPad Grants

TechChef4u devotes the majority of posts to the transformational power of technology integration. While “technology is rarely the goal”, truly access to the technology and device is integral.

Recently I was perusing one of my favorite sites for iPads and Art, Dryden Art (see original TechChef4u feature of Dryden Art page), and discovered that not only does she post amazingly awesome and spectacularly creative student examples… much of her technology was actually funded through grants as thinglinked below.

“We just finished an 18 month journey to raise funds every way we could to become a 1:1 iPad art room. Our goal was just reached in March 2014.” – Tricia Fuglestad

More often than not schools are unable to make the 1:1 leap and opt for internally-funded carts and class sets of devices and external grants. As I am not as familiar with grant writing and the process that it entails…, I asked the expert, Tricia Fuglestad. Not a hoarder of secrets, I decided to share her responses with the global edu-sphere:

Are these grants in house (money from PTO) or are they found online and available to all?

  • “I have been pursuing in house grants mostly. I have my grants posted for anyone to borrow from here. We received funds from district grants, fundraising via,, entering contests (won 3 with prize $ that went towards iPads), and fundraising through”

How would you say these grants have ultimately impacted your classroom and your students?

  • “We would have very little tech if we didn’t seek alternative means to get it. Fundraising, grant writing, and contests got us everything from our smart board, projectors, to our 25 iPads. My district provides the art program a desktop computer and wifi access. At the beginning of this school year we had 12 iPads for student use in the art room from our previous efforts including our second place win in the McGraw-Hill STEMie awards. This meant that every time we created, one waited. It dictated how I would teach, how little we could accomplish, and how much ownership the students would have in their pieces. Sharing is great, but all the time wasn’t so great. After a big push this year, we finally have all the iPads we need to do whatever makes the most sense for learning content. Our limitations are gone! THAT is the best situation for meaningful technology integration.”

What advice would you give to other teachers seeking technology for their classroom?

  • “My first suggestion is to make a wish from iPevo’s wishpool. In a few minutes you can express a need for the monthly offering and it might arrive at your doorstep soon. My next suggestion is crowdfunding via sites like Donor’s Choose or Our projects were funded from generous donors from within our community, around the country (and world) who support engaging projects. It was also a wonderful advocacy tool for promoting our art program. Here is an example of our latest donor’s choose project. I also wrote up an article for School Arts Magazine about “Getting the Gear” for your program. View the article online here.

If you hadn’t already fallen in love with Fuglestad’s Dryden Art Creating on iPads site, then you are going to app-solutely flip over her collection of sample iPad grants.

Fuglestad Sample iPad Grants

Fuglestad Sample iPad Grants


In researching iPad grants, I also happed upon a few more resources that might support those of you embarking on this journey and have compiled them in to a Listly list.

Want more Fuglefun? Explore all of Tricia Fuglestad’s resources:


In the spirit of Thrifty Tuesday and to celebrate Moms… TechChef4u is offering 20% off it’s Chic Geek iJewelry store using the code “TECHCHEFMOMS2014”!


TechChef4u Alliteration Alliance: Check out the other topics in the Ed Tech alliteration portfolio:

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TechChef Presents: Where will Lisa Johnson be sharing her app-thusiasm next?


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