I've already drawn a person or a portrait in Manga class...why do we keep revisiting this subject?
When we practice drawing a person either by creating a portrait, or drawing the full figure, we’re developing skills in character design. So what exactly is character design, and why is it important in animation or graphic novels?
Character design is the visual development of a character’s appearance. While it sounds straightforward, it’s more than just creating an awesome looking character. Artists use character design to further tell a story.
Consider your favorite cartoon, animation, or graphic novel. Who is your favorite character? You can also probably describe what features about this character make them so appealing to you. This is character design!
While the writing and dialogue in a graphic novel or animation are important for explaining a character; how that character looks, dresses, moves, and emotes, describes who a character is as a person. Character design will help you create a character that is not only appealing to those who view your work, but also tells a story about who this character is. You may even design someone’s favorite character one day!
Let’s cover a few skills we learn by drawing a character’s portrait or a full figure in class, as well as ways this can be applied to character design.
We use proportions to make sure each facial feature, or body part, is drawn accurately. More importantly, proportions allow you to consistently draw a character multiple times "on character".
In graphic novels or animation, characters appear quite a bit throughout the story. You also see them from different angles (up close, far away, etc.). Imagine if a character looked slightly different (off character) each time you saw them. Wouldn’t that be confusing? Using proportions helps prevent this, and makes a character that can be drawn on character time and time again. By practicing drawing the body and face, we’re learning how to accurately and effectively use proportions to design consistent characters.
When you look at a character you see many things. How old they are, what type of costume they’re wearing, how they style their hair. Did you know that these are also methods of visual storytelling?
A character who is just starting out on their first adventure looks different from a world-weary traveler. Likewise, a character from modern day looks very different from one 200 years ago.
How we design a character’s costume, or depict their age, are all tools we can use to tell a story about a character without writing or speaking a single word. Practicing adding costumes, assigning different ages, or using various hairstyles in our projects helps us learn how to create a wide range of different characters.
Emotions and Expressions
Emotions and expressions are essential for showing how a character feels at any given moment. This can add more interest and depth to your characters, instead of showing the same emotions all the time.
It’s exciting to know how a character feels about something; that’s what makes them so relatable! Practicing drawing expressions and poses are two ways we can learn to convey emotion in our characters, making them seem more real.
Exploring Different Style and Designs
While it’s common for many visual artists to create characters in a similar style, it’s not so good when all their characters look identical to one another. In Additionally important to building consistency in rendering a single character is creating diversity in multiple characters. What attributes dinstinguish one from another?
Experimenting with different proportions, eye designs, or other stylistic elements allows an artist to make a wide range of varying characters each with new unique appearances. Each time we create a portrait or figure in class, we have an opportunity to create a new character!
Okay, so I've learned how to use some of these tools in Manga class...now what?
Great question! Art isn’t about learning something once and moving on from it forever. The more we practice and utilize these skills, the better we get at each technique.
Think about drawing a person. You’ve probably drawn a person when you were very young. Compare that to your character drawings from you recent Manga class. Are they the same? Probably not! This is because you’ve practiced drawing a lot since then.
You’ve also had many life experiences that have allowed you to observe people and put that into your work. Manga is the same way. The more you practice, the better your work will become!
We asked our Manga instructor, Gavin Cheng, about the importance of revisiting a concept over time. He said, "I actually have one character that I regularly redraw over and over again to see how my skills have progressed over time.” Gavin even provided us with examples of some of the character drawings he’s created over the years.
© Gavin Cheng. All Rights Reserved.
Full Body Practice
© Gavin Cheng. All Rights Reserved.
Notice how Gavin continued to practice his character design skills as he transitioned from traditional art materials (2007 - 2013) to digital art (2015 and later). “What I’ve learned from redraws is that there is no age or time limit when it comes to improving your art.” He suggests, “Always leave your progress open to improvement and you never know how your craft will change over time.”
Point being, just how Mr. Gavin has grown and improved his skills over time, so can you! Keep experimenting with the concepts and techniques you learn in class, and try pushing the boundaries on the characters you create. The more you practice character design, the more elaborate types of characters you can create.
Art classes can be structured in many different ways, so it’s important to know how and also why a studio structures their classes as they do when you’re looking to find the right place for your child.
Some studios might offer classes that last 4 or 8 or 12 weeks and then “graduate” students to the next level (like Painting I to Painting II), some studios might have classes geared around specific subjects like, “Animal Drawing”, or “Landscape Painting”, some might have one-time classes where you would sign up to learn how to create one specific work (like our Master Nights), or learn a specific technique or focus on a specific theme (like our Manga Nights).
The Philosophy: why we structure our classes like we do:
For us at Museo Art Academy, our art classes are structured around the concept of Process over Product.
If you’ve followed our blog much, you’ll know we talk about process over product ALL THE TIME, because we believe it’s suuuper important to children’s education, especially when it comes to art. (If you need a detailed refresher on what exactly process over product is, start here).
But to quickly summarize, process over product means we value HOW your child creates the product (what techniques they learn and utilize properly, whether they use creative problem solving, etc.) as opposed to valuing how the end product turns out (whether it’s “pretty” or looks exactly like the teacher’s version, or Monet’s version, etc.)
That means that in our art classes, we don't want our students to look at a teacher’s example and just try to re-create it, which could be simpler and take less time, but instead, we want to make sure that our students have the time necessary to learn each technique we discuss, to practice it, and to be able to understand WHY an artist would apply that particular technique.
Because we believe this provides the best and most well rounded education, our classes are structured over a longer time span, taking multiple weeks to complete a more complex project, as opposed to a short-term structure focused on producing a finished product after just one hour.
What does that look like, class to class?
To emphasize the process of each project, each class each week has a specific focus that builds towards the finished project.
For example, on week one and week two of a project, we focus on learning about a particular technique and practicing it in a one-day exercise. We then utilize that learning when creating a formal, final draft project.
All the while, we’re always encouraging students to try new things, and build on their successes, focus on the areas where they could improve and, most importantly, begin to develop their own unique style.
By using this project-based class structure, students have an opportunity to better understand the concepts they’re learning and why.
Emphasis on Personal Growth:
With a long-term approach to our classes, personal growth is also a huge focus in our teaching.
While spending a longer time focusing on the process of one medium, students get a chance to really practice their skills and develop their techniques.
Why? Because once students have learned about the concept of “perspective” in drawing class, for example, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can check that concept off as understood and move on to the next thing.
It means the concept of perspective can be and must be applied in an unlimited amount of new ways in whatever is being drawn and so practice and discussion and problem solving and new understanding must be happening each time that technique is used.
These skills and techniques don’t only apply within a single art form! One of the great things about the visual arts is that every aspect of art can help build skills in other areas.
In our General Art classes, we might have a drawing focus project one month, and a painting project the next. However, once we finish the drawing project, we don’t leave our newly acquired skills behind. We continue discussing drawing as we move into a painting project, and specifically cover how our drawing skills can be useful in planning out our painting. This works for all visual art forms, as the application of each helps develop a student’s understanding of the elements and principles of art.
Our classes are structured as long-term, on-going weekly classes so that our students can learn and practice skills and techniques and then be able to apply them to the project at hand.
Our classes are not structured to simply turn out a beautiful copy of the teacher’s example. They ARE structured to turn out artwork that your child has put their own effort into learning and applying real art techniques and skills to in the best way that they can.
Learn more about our art classes here, or just jump into searching for the one your child is interested in here.
We’ve written before about the many, yes, many, benefits that come from participating in arts education, but as we’re approaching this new, exciting school year, and as we're being inundated with Back to School everything at Target, we’re inspired to talk about just a few of the specific ways participation in arts education affects and IMPROVES school participation, achievement, and life-long learning behavior.
Higher SAT Scores
Yes, you heard that right, not just any test, but THE test that can determine which college your child gets into and what scholarships they get can be improved through arts participation.
Though there have been claims about and independent studies on the correlation between those in arts programs and high SAT scores for over 30 years, one study that sought out to test the claimed correlation found that it was an accurate claim and that “Those who take four years of arts courses have higher scores than those who take less than four years’ worth.” The more art, the higher the scores. This study determined that “Those who study the arts are consistently higher academic achievers than those who do not study the arts.”
Specifically, Higher Scores in Verbal and… (take a guess now…) Math!
Art can have a major affect even on the seemingly most-unlikely subjects. With students who took four years of art classes, they out-preformed those who took only 1 ½ years or less of art by a significant 38 points on the math portion of the SAT and a whole 58 points on the verbal portion.
Higher Critical Thinking Abilities
Named one of the 21st Century’s most prized skill and a high-determining factor for success in both higher education and the workforce, critical thinking is the ability to use logic and reasoning in problem solving.
Art education teaches students to look at the world more closely, to observe, to hold off judgments, to examine and analyze the details, to draw connections, and to question what they see; it “develops skills for comparing, hypothesizing, critiquing and exploring multiple view points” - all parts of thinking critically that then help students use these observational and analytical skills in other areas on their lives and subjects in school.
Art education and the skills students learn and develop while in art classes lead them on to success, not only in their favorite painting or clay class, but in multiple school subjects, on important skills-assessment tests, and into higher education and the competitive workforce.
What they do today creates the foundation of tomorrow, for them personally, but also for the world we live in.
If your child is interested in expanding his or her horizons and broadening their skill sets, read more about our art classes here or take the plunge and jump into finding the best one for your child here. Don't forget we're available by phone or email for ANY questions you may have over our programs.
Adult paint nights and “Paint and Sips” have gained massive popularity in the past years for providing a relaxing atmosphere to be creative with friends and family.
But paint and sips are not just for Friday nights with the girls - participating in art creation with your coworkers and employees could be just the thing your office needs to create happier and healthier relationships between team members that results in boosted company morale, increased communication, and over all improved productivity.
Here are few reasons to choose a painting event for your next team-building initiative:
1. Relaxed environment
There may be many options out there for team-building events, but not many of them provide a relaxed, stress-free environment in which to interact with your team like an art-making event. The painting activity serves as a focus task that provides common ground rather than a high-stakes project where perfection is the goal. Instructors lead your group through the pre-planned project that can be easily followed along, while leaving room for chatting, bonding, and general enjoying oneself and the company of those around.
2. Refreshed Creativity
The act of creating a painting encourages participants to utilize their creative problems-solving skills and can encourage even “art-phobic” students to gain confidence in their creativity when they see what they can accomplish.
Creativity in the workplace doesn’t mean prettier spreadsheets, but translates to creative thinking and creative problem solving. By practicing creativity and practicing as a group, you’re making an investment in your team’s outside-the-box solutions and ability to see and meet challenges differently.
3. Low-Stakes Risk Taking
We often see participants who are SURE they are terrible at creating art and that they would NEVER be able to make a successful painting. But by working step-by-step with our team-building instructors, we show participants how to break the challenge of the painting into smaller achievable parts.
By the end of the class, they have their own beautiful rendition of the painting and teams leave with a sense of accomplishment, and excitement for conquering a fun challenge together as a group. Not only does this create a closer bond between members and a boost to personal confidence, but by providing a positive experience that pushed them outside their comfort zones, they may be more willing to step outside their comfort zones in the future as well.
4. Reduced Stress
Stress in the office not only decreases productivity, majorly lowers moral AND accounts for many employee absences, but it’s also contagious.
However, the act of art making has been proven to reduce stress and can have positive effects on your employees’ bodies and minds. A 2016 study showed that up to 75% of participants who participated in an art session experienced a reduction in their cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
Team painting events provide an excellent way to foster unity in a non-competitive, creative environment with an experience that focuses on self-expression, creativity, and relationship building.
Learn more about our Team-Building Paint Events and how we can benefit your next office group activity here.
Camp Focus: What is Pottery Camp?
This year, we’ve been talking about each of our summer camps in a way we never have online before: we’re giving you the low-down on all of our camps and what goes on in them in our Camp Focuses blog series.
And now we’re on the final installment of our Camp Focuses series: Pottery Camp (check out our most recent post: “What is Drawing Camp?” for the others in the series). Our Friday Pottery Camps are different from our other camps in three main ways:
Why? Short answer is: we’re working with low-fire ceramic clay and that material lends itself better to a full, one-day camp, as opposed to smaller periods of time spread out over a week.
Our Friday pottery camps are a fun way for campers to get their hands dirty, explore all things ceramics, and get personal with low-fire clay!
During pottery camp, students create two projects to practice different skills: a hand-building project and a pottery wheel project.
In ceramics, hand building refers to a piece made by hand, without the use of a pottery wheel. Each week campers create a new project that focuses on one of the essential hand building techniques: coils, slabs, or pinch pots. Each technique has it’s own specific structure and function, and each technique can have a TON of variations, while still practicing the same skills.
To ensure that pieces remain fully intact through firing, campers must be sure to follow all of the rules of hand building. This means building pieces that are well thought out, avoid components that are extremely delicate, and correctly use the very important attaching technique of scoring and slipping.
Students even have to think about airflow through their pieces, and avoid accidentally trapping pockets of air inside, or their creation could explode in the kiln!
During camp, campers regularly follow the guidance of their instructors as well as use creative problem-solving skills to create a successful final product.
Of course, the most popular aspect of pottery camp is the pottery wheel!
The pottery wheel is a machine that is used to shape a vessel. During pottery camp, campers work one-on-one with an instructor to create their very own pottery wheel vessel.
Creating on the wheel is a fun and messy process, and campers learn how to utilize their hand-eye coordination and their muscle control to manipulate the spinning clay that results in specific shapes depending on how you hold your hands and interact with the clay.
Once students create their vessel on the wheel, campers have a second wheel experience where they’re able to trim the excess clay off the bottom of their sculpture, a vital step in creating pottery, allowing a clean-finished piece.
One of the benefits of attending multiple pottery camps is that campers become more familiar with the processes. Like any kind of skills, the ones campers learn on the pottery wheel and while hand building take practice to get better and to be able to create more intricate and advanced works.
Multiple experiences on the pottery wheel allow campers to have better control on the wheel and make more complex vessels. Familiarity with multiple hand-building processes also allows students to combine more than one process into a single project.
We often have campers who sign up for pottery camp after pottery camp because they love it so much and look forward to continuing the development of their skills.
Our pottery camps are very popular, and typically fill up quickly. If you’re still hoping to get your child into one of these camps this year, we’d suggest enrolling them as soon as possible – check out our schedule and sign up for a camp here. We'd love to have them!
Camp Focus: What is Drawing Camp?
This week in our Camp Focuses series, we’re taking a close look at one of our all-time most popular summer camps: Drawing Camp.
If you have questions about one of our other camps, you can find so many helpful answers on our earlier blogs on Painting Camp, Sculpture Camp, and Mixed Media Camp. (and stay tuned for our next blog coming soon: Pottery Camp!)
But now back to Drawing Camp. We have a couple guesses on why this camp is one of our most popular:
But there is SO MUCH MORE than just “learning to draw cool things” going on, so let’s dive a little deeper into what exactly your child will really be learning at our Drawing Camps this summer, so you truly can know what to expect.
But let’s break each of them down a bit.
Perspective is the way of representing drawn items on a 2-D plane (like a piece of paper) how they appear to the eye in real life. For instance, how telephone poles get smaller to our eyes the farther away they are – that’s perspective.
Perspective is an obvious element in landscape drawings (you’ve probably done one before with a road or railroad tracks, making them disappear in a small point on the horizon), but is still applicable to any other object you hope to make look realistic from humans to animals to flowers in vases.
With any new object we draw, campers get a chance to practice perspective that may challenge them in a new way each time, since they will never be drawing or re-creating an exact work they’ve done before. Even though it’s the same technique, it’s a skill that always needs refining with each new object.
One of the most important techniques we work with our campers on is observational drawing. Observational drawing is when an artist observes the world around them, and then translates their findings onto a two-dimensional surface (such as a sheet of paper).
To do this, artists measure the size and shape of their subject matter, break each object down into basic geometric shapes, and use proportions to accurately draw their subject.
In many instances, our campers find that using measuring, and breaking down their subject, makes their final project look more realistic.
Our campers also learn how to use their observational drawing skills and to apply them to a more stylized drawing project, as opposed to a realistic one. One of our most popular drawing projects from last year’s camps was our inked animal project.
For this project, campers learned how to break down an animal’s form into simple geometric shapes and use those shapes to carefully draw the animal’s form on their paper.
Campers then check proportions, adjust their shapes, and finally add details to their animals. They took their drawings a step further by inking them with pens, and even adding hatching and cross-hatching in some areas.
For our fun final step, students had the chance to experiment with loose ink, and added color to their animals with a variety of inking techniques, from using a brush to adding some splatters.
Do you have any other questions about what goes on or what your child will be learning in our Drawing Camps? Send us an email at MuseoArtAcademy@live.com or give us a call at 425-391-0244, we'd love to hear from you and we'd love to fill you in on any other details. In the meantime, check out all of our summer art camps and save your child's spot before they're full.
Camp Focus: What is Painting Camp?
We’re back for another round of our Camp Focuses and this week we’re introducing you to our popular Painting Camps.
Parents always want to know more about what their child will be learning and doing in our summer camps, so we’ve been spilling all the beans here on our blog (check out our previous Camp Focus installments, “What is Mixed Media Camp?” and “What is Sculpture Camp?”).
In our Painting Camps, campers explore all things painting. Each day, campers get a chance to work with a different painting medium (aka different types of paint) ranging from acrylic, watercolor, gouache, or even combining two painting mediums for a more mixed media feel.
The main focus in painting camp is all about proper painting techniques and application. Each unique painting medium provides brand new skills and techniques for campers to learn and practice, as, of course, you paint differently with watercolors than you do with acrylics. It’s almost a whole new world to explore with each medium.
During camp, we discuss super basic fundamentals such as the proper way to hold a brush, how to create the most effective brush strokes with each medium, the correct way to mix each type of paint, and believe it or not, even the right way to clean a brush (because your tools last longer and allow you to paint better if you take care of them!).
Developing these essential fundamentals gives students a solid foundation to explore more in-depth concepts that are so critical to painting, such as color theory and tinting and shading.
Color theory (which is explained in this short video of ours) is an artist’s guide to first creating and then successfully utilizing color.
Often when painting, an artist might want a specific color that they don’t have already mixed on hand. Let’s say a yellow-orange. To do this, an artist must use their color theory knowledge to know that when mixing a yellow orange, one needs a higher ratio of yellow paint to the red paint that will be mixed in.
Beyond color mixing, color theory can be applied to using specific colors within a composition.
In painting, and any other time an artist uses color, we must consider how all the other colors works together to create a composition, so we discuss color theory often with our Painting campers.
Opposite colors, or complementary colors, can be used to make a specific area or detail of a composition more pronounced, such as when you see the bright yellow of van Gogh’s Café Terrace against the background of the dark blue night.
Analogous colors (or colors close together on the color wheel) all blend together creating a unified composition, such as the purples, blues, and greens in van Gogh’s Irises in a Vase.
Tints and Shades:
We also discuss with our campers tints (colors mixed with white to make them lighter) and shades (colors mixed with black to make them darker). Last year in our Painting Camps, to practice this our knowledge of tints and shades, we created monochromatic paintings using just one color, such as purple, and then only adding white and black to the purple to create a monochromatic composition.
One of our most popular projects last year was a van Gogh-inspired landscape. Students began with a simple landscape drawing featuring foreground, middle ground, and background. Next students began painting a simple base layer for each object in their drawing working back front. Once their base layer was created, students had the chance to run wild with different brushstrokes, replicating similar styles found in van Gogh’s Starry Night, and Wheatfield’s with Cyprus.
We love seeing how our Painting campers learn and grow and apply their new skills and knowledge throughout the week. You can still sign your child up for one of these popular camps here. We can't wait to see what they'll be creating this year!
Camp Focus: What is Sculpture Camp?
You ask, we answer. This is our second blog in our Camp Focuses series (see the first one on Mixed Media Camp here), where we are breaking down what each of our summer camps are about and what you can expect from them.
Where some art camp programs may combine multiple mediums in one camp and do, for example, a painting project one day, and a sculpture project the next, and then a drawing project and so on, our summer camps are divided by art form, or art medium.
Our camps focus on just one specific art medium, such as just painting, or just sculpture, so that we can really dive in deep and spend the whole week exploring different forms and different projects within that one medium.
So when we talk about Sculpture Camp, that means we’re going to be exposing our campers to a wide range of sculpting styles and materials.
Extra-Brief Background on Sculpture
Sculpture has been the most enduring form of fine art throughout the ages. From the Great Sphinx in Egypt (circa 2558 BC!) to the Terracotta Army in China, the moai on Easter Island to Michelangelo's David, sculpture as an art form is not only ancient, but also incredibly varied.
However, in the 20th century, sculpture became even more varied. The 20th century saw a massive change not only in the increase of new and different materials used for sculptures, but also in the subject matter. Sculpture changed from being mainly a representational art form, or one that imitates forms of real life (like the examples in the above paragraph), to also being nonrepresentational, or abstract and not necessarily based on the real world (like, for instance, The Bean in Chicago, or many Chihuly sculptures).
In our Sculpture Camps, we do our best to broaden our campers’ ideas of what sculpture is by using a variety of sculpting materials for our projects, ranging from wire, paper mâché, air-dry clay, polymer clay, fibres, found objects, and many, many more.
The only material we don’t use in sculpture camp is ceramic clay, due to the nature of the medium. (Although, if your child wants to have a ceramic clay experience, our Friday Pottery Camps are a MUST!)
One of the most important techniques we cover in Sculpture Camp is thinking “in the round,” or the idea of creating a piece of art that can be viewed from all angles.
Many campers start our camps with experience in 2-D media, such as drawing and painting, which is great, but these mediums only cover one surface. Sculpture presents an additional challenge: in sculpture, an artist must think about every angle of their work, because ideally, someone could walk around their sculpture and view every side.
Our campers must be sure to make a complete top, bottom, and sides of their work, and can’t hide any unfinished areas.
Another aspect campers also have to consider with sculpture as opposed to 2-D art is how their sculpture takes up space in the world. Thinking about scale, and composition is crucial to making a finished sculpture.
Art vs. Toys
Sculpture camp also gives us a great excuse to discuss the concept of art vs. playthings, or art vs. functional objects.
We often make fun sculptures, such as colorful polymer clay animals, which might look like something you can play with at first. However, to do so would possibly break the sculpture, or the work of art. We talk about how the presentation is very important in art, and how a finished sculpture is presented differently from a toy, which is an interesting concept for children especially.
"What projects will you be doing?"
Our camp projects always differ from year to year, and even slightly differ from week to week during summer, so we can't say exactly what your child might be making in one of our Sculpture Camps, however, we can give you examples of past projects and the processes campers went through in creating them.
One of our most popular projects from last year was our Chibi animal sculptures.
Students learned to utilize polymer clay to create an animal that can be viewed from all angles. They also discussed the Japanese art style of Chibi, which is basically making the subject small and cute with disproportionate features.
Once their sculptures were completed, students carefully painted their sculpture with acrylic paint. Again, students really had to be aware of how people would view their sculptures and had to be sure not to paint on the block and use careful brush strokes. Once our project was completed, we discussed how our sculptures were being presented. By placing the sculptures on a block, this resulted in a refined and professional presentation of their work, different than a toy meant to be played with.
Sculpture Camp provides children with a new way to create - not just with a piece of paper and a pencil or paintbrush, but by putting a variety of different materials together and forming them into something with their own hands. These camps are great for those children who love to touch everything they come in contact with - it gives them something productive to funnel that kinetic energy into.
We hope this answered your questions on Sculpture Camp! You can still sign your child up for our summer camps here, or email us at MuseoArtAcademy@live.com with any other questions you may have.
Camp Focus: What Is Mixed Media Camp?
Welcome to our first blog in the series of our Camp Focuses! Every year we have countless emails and phone calls and in-person questions from parents wanting to understand our summer camps and how they work a little bit better.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the questions (keep ‘em coming), and we love that you care to know more about what your child will be doing when you sign them up to hang with us over the summer; we just want to make that information more easily accessible to you.
We often discuss these types of questions and information on our social media (such as our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), but we thought it might be nice to round up all our wisdom nuggets and put them all together in helpful (and easily shareable) blog posts.
Camp Focus: Mixed Media
It’s appropriate that we begin this series with our most inquired-about camp, Mixed Media. In fact, “What is Mixed Media?” even made our Frequently Asked Summer Camp Questions list because we hear it so often (so if you were looking at this blog post thinking, “but just what IS mixed media?” – take comfort; you’re in good company).
Let’s break it down:
What is “Media” in art?
Media is a word we hear almost every day in our adult lives and usually we associate it with the mass communication and all the ways that communication reaches us (TV, radio, publishing, the internet, social platforms etc.).
However, when we’re discussing art, we obviously do not mean mass communication sources.
Media is the plural form of medium, which, in art, has two different, although overlapping, meanings:
So while sculpture and painting are considered to be different art mediums or media, if we were to create a sculpture out of wire, we could say the sculpture was done in the medium of wire, or if we were to create a painting, it could be done in the medium of watercolor or, perhaps, oil.
Mixed Media, then, can refer to both the mixing of the types of art (sculpture and painting together, for example) or the mixing of the materials to create a work of art, such as a drawing that features charcoal, chalk pastel, and gouache paint.
The Benefits of Working in Mixed Media:
Mixed Media is a great opportunity to experience multiple art materials and processes all at once, and in our Mixed Media summer camps, we encourage students to try out as many mediums as possible in fun and creative ways.
The challenge of using multiple mediums utilizes campers’ creative problem-solving skills and exposes them to many art materials, often ones not traditionally found in the classroom.
While campers break the boundaries of traditional art applications, they also have to pay special attention to the function of each material to ensure that it will work with the introduction of other mediums.
What Does Mixed Media Look Like?
Mixed Media is, admittedly, a vague term, but it has to be to cover SO MANY possible outcomes. The possible projects are incredibly varied, as you can see from the different versions of "still life" projects above. Mixed Media sounds great, but what exactly does it mean in a summer camp art project sense?
In the past, students have combined watercolor and gouache paints on multiple surfaces, made sculptures out of everything from air-dry clay to cut paper, created collages out of found items, and experimented with fibers and fabric dying.
One of our favorite past projects was our marbled paper portraits. Students used shaving cream and food dye to marble Bristol paper. Next, using acrylic paint, students drew and painted their faces onto the paper. The result was a fun portrait with a colorful marbled background.
While our projects for camps change so often we couldn’t tell you EXACTLY what your child will be doing in our camps this year, we can show you other examples of Mixed Media Camp projects that have been done in the past that may give you a better of idea of what type of work they might be doing in our Mixed Media project art gallery here.
Do you still have questions over our Mixed Media Camps, or anything else we talked about in this blog? We want your questions! Leave us a comment or email us at MuseoArtAcademy@live.com.
And don't forget to check out all of our Summer Camp options and save your child's spot before they fill up!
4 STEAM Activities to Mix Art & Science
STEM, STEAM, STEM, STEAM, what does it all mean? (and yes, we were just as tickled about the rhyming as we're hoping you just were).
STEM, the collective term for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, became a focus in education in the early 2000s in reaction to statistics showing the United States falling behind other countries in those subjects in our education system and work force.
While there is no doubt that these four subjects are incredibly important to the progression of the country as a global leader, it turns out that art not only complements these subjects, but increases chances of success in STEM subjects as well.
Proponents for STEAM (with the added "A" for art), instead of simply STEM, demonstrate that the study and practice of art increases what educators call the Four Cs: creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, all vital skills necessary for success in STEM fields.
In fact, Adam Grant found in his research for his book "Originals: How Non Conformists Move the World" that Nobel Prize-winning scientists were seven times more likely to have a hobby of visual art than their non-Nobel-Prize-winning peers, and 22 times more likely to be involved in a performing art than their non-winning peers.
And according to the Arts in Education Partnership’s 2013 report, Preparing Students for the Next America, The Benefits of an Arts Education, “Creativity is among the top ranking of 'in demand' qualities. 65% of Americans believe that creativity is central to the U.S.'s role as a global leader. 97% of business leaders agreed that creativity is of increasing importance in the workplace. However, 85% of employers seeking creative candidates had trouble finding qualified applicants.” Creativity is an essential precursor to innovation, which is the key to moving STEM fields forward.
There are plenty of ways you can challenge your children at home with fun and simple STEAM activities to keep their brains fresh during the summer, or just over the weekend, and they probably won't even know they're learning through the fun! We've rounded up a few of our favorites, let us know which ones you try and how you liked them!
1. Pendulum Painting
A pendulum is a weighted object that hangs from a pivot, or a bar, and swings based on it's gravitational pull. You and your child can experiment with the way pendulums move while creating pendulum paintings either inside or outside on the sidewalk. You can test different heights of the bar, different lengths of the string, or different amounts of paint in the cup and see what kind of designs these pendulums come up with. Full directions and even sidewalk paint recipe can be found here.
2. Shadow Art Science
Shadow art is a perfect summer activity for the kids - gets them creative and gets them outside. Check, check. Up the science factor by first discussing how the sun's position in the sky affects how our shadows look on the ground. This blog post here runs through the steps for the art project, but also suggests their other post, "Human Sundial Shadow Science Experiment" as the precursor science intro.
3. No-Cook PlayDough Sculpture Lab
Let the kids experiment with creating their own art materials! No-cook playdough is easy to make with simple ingredients you probably have in the house already (but things could get a little messy so prepare the space accordingly. Maybe this calls for an outdoor lab on a nice day). Set up a playdough science "lab" for the kids to conduct their experiments with mixing different materials to form the perfect no-cook sculpting clay, suggestions and recipes can be found here. Then encourage your kids to use their newly concocted substance to create fun sculptures.
4. Sharpie Tie-Dye Experiment
We've done a Sharpie and fabric tie-dying experiment in our summer camps before, but here's a great how-to to recreate this art experiment at home. After coloring a design in the fabric (or t-shirts for this particular project) with the sharpies, use rubbing alcohol to make the sharpies bleed and "dye" the fabric. This is a great way to explore primary and secondary color mixing as well.
These are just a few great ways to integrate STEM and art to create STEAM-focused activities that work both sides of the brain at the same time. If you're still looking for more ways to sneak art into your child's daily activities, check out our variety of summer art camp options with new projects every week for ages 5-14.
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Sharing our love of art education, one post at a time.