Upside-down: Get a different perspective

When I was at Teachers’ College, I remember approaching my art course with trepidation. I wasn’t too shabby at art as a child, but as I had effectively given up the subject at the ripe old age of 13, it would be fair to say I wasn’t what you’d call confident!

One of the first things I remember our 2 lecturers getting us to do, was to sketch FAST (in 15 mins) the line drawing they put on the Overhead Projector (remember those?). The thing is, they put the drawing on upside-down. Deliberately.

The drawing was clearly beyond me, but as I’ve always been a good student, I duly attempted to copy it as best I could.

When our 15 mins was up, we were told to turn our drawings the right way up, and I think 99% of the students were amazed at having done a lot better than they anticipated. When the drawing was upside-down, we had to keep looking up to check we were putting the lines in the right places, not just guess from our prior knowledge of the subject.

It reminds me that our perception of our own abilities (or lack thereof) can sometimes affect the quality of our performance. If we look at something from another perspective, we might just surprise ourselves.

For my Extra Curricular Activity with the iPads,  I found an image online that was upside-down, and had my students do the same thing, but using Brushes on the iPad.

Here are two students’ representations of the illustration above. I will include them both upside-down and right-side-up for comparison.

Michelle, in Grade 6 did this one:

Michelle 1

Ji Min in Grade 5 did this one:


I’m pretty proud of both them!

Newspaper Blackout Poetry on the iPad

I know I’m a little late to the party, but I only just discovered Austin Kleon and his Newspaper Blackout Poetry. [I came across him by way of his excellent post; How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) – a definite must-read.]

Following the various links, I found a post that shows how he used the iPad to create a newspaper blackout poem. As I am in the middle of a Poetry unit with my Grade 6 students, I felt I had to try it!

Here is my first attempt. In case the image is too small for you to read, I will reproduce the text below.


Designed, measured, standardised.
An entire briefcase
And half teeth.
Of unknown origin,
Drinking Mermaid’s Tears.

Screen shot 2011-04-25 at AM 11.03.38I started off by finding an article in one of my news apps (in this case, the NZ Herald), and taking a screenshot of it.

I then imported the screenshot into Brushes. The important step to note is to add a layer, so that you can delete that layer if you make a mistake, rather than deleting the whole image and having to start from scratch.

I experimented with brushtypes etc, and you can see how I went about doing it below:

Have a go! You’ll love it!

Creating Art on the iPad

In terms of artistic ability, I’m afraid to say that my sister Shelley got the lion’s share of the talent being dished out in my family. I do appreciate art however, so it was with great interest that I found these videos demonstrating the amazing possibilities of the Brushes app on the iPad.

Well, I was simultaneously amazed and inspired watching those artworks unfold. I also discovered this fabulous flickr group showing artwork created solely using Brushes.

I decided to search for a tutorial, and who better to teach me than Kyle Lambert, the artist who created the Beyonce image? I have used TubeChop to crop the original video, but it is worth watching the whole thing to see what is possible and learn more about the artist himself.

I had a bit of a play and tried to copy an eye that Kyle had demonstrated in his tutorial. At risk of great personal embarrassment, I show it to you now:

photo (1)

One of the fantastic functions of the app is it has a built in video where you can see exactly how your picture unfolded as you drew it! Think about the possibilities for kids using it as a part of their art portfolio, where they have both a piece of art they have created, and a video showing how they produced it!

I have decided to do an after school activity with art on the iPads using brushes. I would love some suggestions of where to go from here.

Are you an artist who can suggest beginner projects for me and my merry band of students?

Do you have a great link to more beginner tutorials?

I look forward to hearing your ideas!