I’m currently working as an artist-in-residence at a local school, helping a Grade 5/6 class create heroic characters. In the first week, we started by brainstorming. In the second workshop, we really cranked up the fun factor, tackling our characters from the perspective of costumes and props.
To help with this, I brought in my gadget kit and my costume kit. The gadget kit is essentially just a box of stuff that other people throw out—odds and ends like milk bottle caps, wires, pipes, plastic rollers . . . you name it. All of this looks like junk, until you add it to something like this:
The above contraption is a piece I built for my wife’s halloween costume. None of my students are building something quite so elaborate, but are concentrating on more achievable things, such as smaller gizmos, such as decorated keys. (I found these really expensive keys from the craft store and many of the kids have hot-glued plastic jewels or metal gears to give them an other-worldly look.)
The other fun part of this class was costume design. I brought in a kit of fabric swatches, buttons, and hair samples and the students have collected samples to go along side the character profiles they are developing. The students had a lot of fun picking out the exact hair color of their characters and the different textures for their clothing. This gave them a different way to visualize their characters and helped enrich their understanding of them, too.
Here’s some of the photos from all the marvelous mayhem . . .
One of the students informed me that this was her favorite project all year (which I could tell because her and entire group of friends opted to skip recess to keep working on their designs.)
For the next workshop, we will be concentrating on illustration tips and techniques.