PROJECT WITH STUDENTS
1. Twenty high school students in a summer arts academy were introduced to the work of Jacob Lawrence as the basis for a narrative series project. Teaching staff consisted of the teacher and an artist/educator. The students looked at slides of the artists work and discussed the idea of using visual snapshots to tell a story. The students were asked to think about a person in their lives about whom they would like to create a narrative through pictures.
2. The students brought in a photograph of the person that they wanted to tell a story about. They then began to storyboard their stories. They did this using paper and pencils. They were asked to include 3-5 panels in their narrative. In each box of their storyboards, they sketched out their rough drafts for each panel. The students spent time discussing their stories. The teacher and artist/educator talked about different kinds of shots to use in the panels, such as close ups, long shots, and establishing shots.
3. When the students had finished storyboarding their visual narratives, they moved into the painting phase. Students and staff looked at the book Harlem by Walter Dean Meyers as inspiration for techniques of painting and collage. His illustrations were created with painted pieces of paper in addition to other collage materials. Students used the same technique.
4. The teacher introduced color theory and color mixing, showing students how to mix colors and make a color wheel which identifies opposite and complimentary colors. The students then painted many pieces of paper in different colors and patterns. When they were dry, the students began to create their panels using the painted paper as well as newspaper, magazines, and aluminum foil. They experimented with cutting and tearing the paper to create different effects.
5. When all of the panels were created, they were scanned into the computer. The students used the digital versions of their collages to make PowerPoint slide shows of their stories. They added backgrounds, text, and hyperlinks. They also made collaborative narratives by taking panels from each story and arranging them into new stories.