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 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?
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 post, her 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…
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?
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…
- Snapguide: If you are interested in using Snapguide with students, I have curated 250+ EDU examples here.
- iPads and Art: Looking for more ideas to use iPads in the art classroom, check out iPad Art Room and Dryden Art.
- Grants for iPads: If this post has persuaded you that iPads should be an integral part of the classroom, then check out this post best practices, sites, and example templates for iPad grants.
- More Melissa Please: And if you are as enamored with Melissa as I am… then check out some of my older posts featuring her work, “Appy Girl” and “For the Crafty at Heart” and of course… her website.
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