Curriculum Design and Progression for Foundations Digital Art
In 2020 I relocated to a new state and began teaching at a new school. I was asked to teach Digital Art for the first time in my career. Although I have been using digital tools (Photoshop/Illustrator) for 20 years in my own artwork I had only ever worked with students individually on digital skill building because my school did not have access to a digital lab or Creative Cloud. I was so excited to create a new project based curriculum to guide students through the basic and advanced tools these programs offer for photo manipulation, illustration and even animation. The progression of the curriculum leads students through projects that build on one another and offer the opportunity to revisit skills so that they can build an understand of the program and memorize the menus, panels and tools. Students are given a Wacom tablet and stylus and are encouraged to use them over a mouse or trackpad. The projects themselves are inspired by current trends in digital design and contemporary digital artists. Teaching students to manage their workflow and to problem solve on their own and with others is also a cornerstone to this curriculum.
The first project, Visual Autobiography introduces a variety of basic skills, keyboard shortcuts and tools. It is also a great way for students to introduce themselves to the class and for me to get to know the students' interests.
The skills covered in this lesson include:
In our second project Digital Surreal Collage we revisit many of the tools and techniques we learned in the first project but build upon that foundation to explore more tools including: dodge/burn, blur tool, clone stamp, and adjustment layers. I begin the lesson by teaching a bit about the history of surrealism and the strategies employed by surrealist artists. We look at several examples from Art History and contemporary artists.
The goal of the project is to employ these strategies to create a visually intriguing and thought provoking composition.
The video tutorials for this lesson build on the skills learned in the Visual Autobiography project and focus on photo manipulation, managing selections and adjustment layers.
The third lesson I teach focuses on building skill and precision using the tablet and stylus as well as an understanding of line weight, gestural line, brush tools, symmetry tools, color picker/libraries and paint bucket tool. Students work through drills to work on precision and control. Then students create a portfolio of line art drawings including a continuous line drawing, a symmetrical drawing and a line drawing of their choice or "free choice" drawing.
I'm a high school/middle school art teacher with 16 years of experience. I'm here to help art teachers free up more time and space in their lives through lesson ideas and ready to go content rich, engaging curriculum.