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High [9th-12th] Lesson Plan

Abstract Characters

Created on January 18, 2019 by KatieMorris

Students will use computer software to create abstract character designs inspired by Thom Pastrano.

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3 sessions; 45 minutes per session

1. SWBAT understand the purpose of the following tools in Adobe Photoshop: eyedropper, shapes, lines, marquee, polygonal lasso, paint bucket.
2. SWBAT determine the most important design elements of a character and use those in a new composition.
3. SWBAT minimalize and abstract to create an illustration of a character that is recognizable.

1. Student computers
2. Computer software such as Photoshop, GIMP, or Illustrator

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1. Introduction
-Look at work of Thom Pastrano and discuss how he achieved work that is both minimalistic and abstracted while the characters are recognizable
-Explain that the students will be creating their own abstract character illustrations
2. Demonstration
-Create a new document that is a specific size (we used 8x10, 300 ppi)
-Open picture of chosen character to source colors
-Plan composition (model the thinking of laying it out starting with background and working toward more details)
-Use eyedropper tool to sample colors from source
-Use rectangular marquee tool to select part of the background and the paint bucket tool to fill it in
-Show where to find shape tools (rectangle, ellipse, and custom shapes) and how to lock in proportions with the shift key
-Demonstrate overlapping shapes and merging to create new shapes
-Demonstrate using a shape tool then a marquee tool to edit it (example: create a star, rasterize layer by right clicking and selecting rasterize layer, use the rectangular marquee tool to select half of the shape, then Ctrl + x to delete it)
-Demonstrate accessing the layer styles by right clicking on the layer and applying a stroke to achieve an outline
-Tell students this is easiest with combinations of geometric shapes
3. Work time
-Students choose a PG13 character and start to plan
-Teacher provides more demos and critiques as needed

This would really work best in Illustrator and could tie in to the pathfinder and shapebuilder tools but my students did not all have access to Illustrator so we used Photoshop instead.


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[9-12 Proficient] Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks

Visual Arts Standard 2:
Using knowledge of structures and functions

[9-12 Proficient] Students evaluate the effectiveness of artworks in terms of organizational structures and functions
[9-12 Proficient] Students create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems

Abstract Art, Minimalism

Color/Value, Shape