I have spent most of this week doing two things: shoveling snow and digitally doodling. Shoveling snow does not need an explanation, especially if you have been anywhere near the path of the back-to-back-to-back Nor’easters. What is “digitally doodling” exactly. “Digitally doodling” in not sketchnoting for comprehension or coverage; it is more combining forms and ideas for exploration. In my case, it has consisted of using Google Drawings to create 2×2 grids of fictional characters. Why in the name of Jessica Jones? The platform is never far from my mind and, in a home with snowblinded, school-age boys, things quickly switch to superhero mode.
Now, even though I’m in vacation/snow day mode, there is some method to the madness: I am preparing for a presentation temporarily titled: “From Grey Book to Great Look: Demo and Discussion on Digital Imagery.” In some ways, this has been a self-guided refreshed course on a tool I love. I have been using Google Drawings mostly as an ancillary tools to annotate images and/or create overlays for other projects. This week has given me time and reason to uses the tool strictly as a drawing platform. I had forgotten how fun it can be! What I realized this time around is that the tools are so stripped-down that the secret is seeing shapes and objects, not searching for tutorials on how to use functions. Combining some other tools like third party palettes and color pickers has added to the fun and given me little color to complement blinding white that is all around.
This week has given me time and reason to uses the tool strictly as a drawing platform. I had forgotten how fun it can be! What I realized this time around is that the tools are so stripped-down that the secret is seeing shapes and objects, not searching for tutorials on how to use functions.
Even though we are on spring break, my mind can never get fully out of teacher mode. It’s a thing I have. I know. So what are the possible educational applications? How can shapes be combined tangram style to create something that is greater than the sum of its shapes? How can I think carefully and creatively to use layers and color combinations to give the impression of integrity and dimensionality?
Students could digitally draw characters from stories they read. These could be the classics or any new narrative that they want to explore. They could take inspiration from Chaymaa Sobhy’s amazing illustrations and sketch figures from classical or modern mythology. They could take inspiration in Stephen Hawking’s life and legacy and create images of great scientists. They could think inside the 2×2 box and illustrate famous foursomes from history, from rock bands to a rebooted Mount Rushmore. They could recreate great works or art or reinterpret them in a new way. Whether from literature, science, science fiction, or fine art, these Google Drawings could turn into a 2D take on the Little Thinkers series. Students could also use the side-by-side set up to create then-and-now or reality-and-fiction images. They could mix and match genres to create a surreal storyline. They could create a fun spin on the eternal “What I want to be when I grow up question?” Additionally, they could create their own original characters and an accompanying narrative. Google Drawings would give students the option to work together on designs or create and share their own. Either way, projects like these could lead to thoughtful and fruitful collaboration and critique.
…don’t forget to dress and keep track of your layers!
They could take a geometrical take on the tool and see how they could tessellate shapes to create a desired design. They could also take a shape as a theme, stretching and adding to it to make a image. While 2×2 drawings are best displayed digitally or printed in small (.jpg or .png) or large (.svg) form, the tessellations could work well as 3-dimensional renderings, either printed or engraved images or separate pieces to be assembled.
Ready to begin? Here is a copy of the template of the Harry Potter Drawing as a place to start.
Have at it, and don’t forget to dress and keep track of your layers!