We’d all love to do great art but some of us just aren’t designed to be the next Picasso, Mondrian or Monet but there’s a great art form that passes many of us by and it’s good because it can be FREE!
Have you ever looked at the work of Andy Warhol, especially his coloured ‘negative’ images of Marilyn Monroe? You might think it’s very difficult to complete such work but with photo editing tools, it’s easy and quick. Using their own photos or ones downloaded from the web, children can use free tools to produce their own. We’ve had pop art Mickey Mouse, pop art head teachers and pop art pets and all of them look as convincing as Warhol’s original.
What do you suggest then?
The very basic but free www.paint.net is a good starting point, a big step up from MS Paint, you’ll find loads of ways to alter pictures to create new art.
We began by giving the children digital cameras and asking them to take a photograph of a friend, an object and a scene. We used each of these in different ways. We began with the ‘pop art’ image and copied it in different colours into a Word document. Very easy, the children said, but it gave them the first steps into image manipulation. We then moved onto the everyday object picture.
Many had done shoes, pencils, pencil cases or bags and using the software, we distorted the images and stretched and twisted them before pasting them onto a scene. We then went back to the portrait image and using a grid, dissected it into pieces before reconstructing it in the wrong order. Others used this process to produce pieces of a jigsaw for their friends to reconstruct. The possibilities are endless and with a variety of different software packages available for free –
– the world of image manipulation is your oyster.
We liked ‘Photo! Editor’, ‘Phantasmagoria’ and ‘Artweaver’ for the ease of use and the number of tools each has. In some ways, the three programs complement each other in offering different techniques but with all of them, it’s really easy for the children to complete some art which is unique to them and of which they can be proud!