Written by: Kristin Harris
Saturday afternoon, October 14, the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA hosted a Big Draw17 Living Lines event. I knew I was going to have a good time and was thrilled when we had a full house with kids and adults making art and animation and loving it. I am most indebted to the Academy Center of the Arts for sponsoring this program.
As a family event, it was very exciting to have so many adults actively participating, parents and adults who came to experience the Big Draw in Lynchburg. I had not realized, we were one of only three Big Draw happenings in the US this year. Time is running out, but not too late for you to register for a Big Draw event at your school, museum, art space, park during the month of October.
We had four activity areas, three were hands-on drawing with traditional tools, but animation related. Table One was all about zoetropes. These pre-film animation devices spin a sequence of images to simulate motion. Learn more about my process in fabricating one in this post.
I was a little surprised the zoetrope table was a big hit and consistently full. I had to spread myself across the whole room, so I didn’t always have a chance to advise artists to make bold, colorful images to “make” the zoetrope most effective. Not a huge problem, kids didn’t seem to be phased. One mother commented that her kids were just fascinated by drawing on an unusual size piece of paper. We had cut pieces of paper 23″ x 4″ to fit inside the drum of the spinner. It’s amazing what can trigger a creative burst.
Flip Books and Thaumaptropes
We decided to use post-it notes for the flip books. It worked well. They are easily accessible at home if kids wanted to try again. They also have the added advantage of being rearranged to experiment with different sequences of imagery.
The other activity at this table was thaumatropes. These are pre-film devices that are a perfect introduction to persistence of vision. Our eyes retain an image for 1/20 of a second after it is gone. Hence we see a string of images (ie film, animation) played quickly as moving images. The traumatropes were very popular!
Story Boards and Stop Motion
We provided storyboard forms. Kids worked out some ideas for animated storytelling. Here is a really nice one.
We set up a station for image capture with iMotion, a free, easy to use app to make stop-motion and time lapse animations on any iOS device. There were some templates for drawing dancing figures if attendees wanted to use them or just to get the creative juices flowing. The dancing images were very inspired by a Big Draw event at a school in England documented on their blog. I was pleased that most of the kids wanted to do their own thing!
iPad animation with Animatic by Inkboard was at the 4th table. I was able to provide 5 iPads and there were a few families who provided their own. I love this opportunity to introduce the very basics of the animation process with such an accessible tool. I had kids as young as 3 making art on the iPad. There is definitely an age at which kids get the concept of sequential imaging, but that doesn’t keep anyone from playing and having fun.
I had anticipated that the iPad table would be the go to activity and we were busy there. However, what I had failed to realize is that most of the kids attending were younger than the students I see in my iPad workshops. They were very happy with traditional art tools.
Thank You for Coming
Thank you to all of the families that participated and made it truly a great event.
Did you participate in another Big Draw event this year or ever? I’d love to hear about your experience.
I learned a lot and look forward to presenting this kind of workshop again. Learn more about other art and technology workshops I teach on my website. I look forward to discussing how your students can explore animation in its many forms.