SY 2012-2013 2nd Semester Lesson 3: Character Design, Creativity Tool “Word Chain”

Slides: 2012-2013 G9 L3: Character Design, Creativity Tool “Word Chain”

Xavier School  |  Grade 9  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

G9 L3 featured image

I planned to teach figure drawing at this point (3rd lesson), using drawing animals with shapes as a springboard to drawing, well, the human animal with shapes.  After running it for 3 of my 8 classes, I took it out and simplified it.  Most of my students were horrified by the idea of having to use a ruler to calculate (heroic) proportions (8 1/2 heads, if the head is 2 cm, therefore the whole height is 17 and so on).  The math was simple, and yet an incredible number of them froze and flat out rejected everything in the face of having to calculate things.  This lesson was the hardest one I’ve ever taught in class, not because of the subject, but because of my inability to realize the actual difficulty of the lesson.  The odd thing is that the students that did listen to my instructions (and didn’t freak out) were able to draw the figure correctly.  I’m still rather torn, as a side of me believes that the original lesson was fine.  In any case, this version’s a lot simpler.  More students were able to relax and take it in right.  Time will tell if it really worked, though.  (The graded assessment is coming up soon!)

The creativity tool discussed here is the Word Chain.  I took it from the concept of mind mapping, concept mapping, and the idea cloud; I wanted to use a variation of those without having to dedicate a whole period for teaching mind mapping.  I thought it worked well with the use of silhouettes to design.  What do you think?

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SY 2012-2013 1st Semester Lesson 3: Dominance, Scale, Creativity Tool “Word Table”

Slides: 2012-2013 G10 L3: Dominance, Scale, Creativity Tool “Word Table”

Xavier School  |  Grade 10  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

M3 Bear

There’s one slide there that has a very blurry image of a character fighting something in a city.  I hope that it’s recognizable, but in any case, it allowed me to ask my students if they knew who Ultraman was (they did).  Ultraman is an excellent example of the concept of scale.  Ultraman fights monsters to save Japan from destruction.  Conventional weaponry doesn’t work.  Normal people are unable to make a dent on the large enemy; Ultraman is their only hope.  Now, Ultraman is Shin Hayata, who isn’t always a giant guy in a form-fitting suit.  He’s the most capable member of the Science Patrol in Japan, but if you take away his ability to transform into Ultraman, he’s a regular guy, like all of us.

Contrast the size of the normal humans (who can’t do a thing against the aliens / monsters) and Ultraman (who is the being the humans rely on for salvation).  Imagine yourself watching a battle between Ultraman and a giant beast in your city.  The beast delivers an attack that devastates Ultraman, and you can see his chest blinking; he’s in trouble.  He’s hurt and vulnerable.  If he loses, everyone loses.  Can you feel the helplessness, and that urge, that wish for Ultraman to win?  (We’re all still alive and reading this blog entry, so I’m glad he hasn’t lost yet.)

In the slide that showed the winged character, a lot of my students thought that it wasn’t just the wings that got bigger, but the whole character.  It really was just the wings, though.  It gave him a larger silhouette, which translated into the character occupying a larger space on the page, which means that he could command more attention than a smaller subject.

When you draw your characters, what happens when you make parts of it really small?  What about when it’s really big?  A figure with a small head on a large body would give a different impression compared to a figure with a large head and a small body.

The word table is there for those days when you just don’t know what to draw.  Feel free to add more words, and even change the word types for your own word tables!  For extra challenge and fun, pick words at random.

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