3doodler Review


We've had out 3Doodlers for a month now and I finally feel comfortable writing a short review of the product.  If you're not familiar with the 3Doodler, check out the video link below for the newer 2.0 models:
Our studio invested in a few of the 2.0 because they were quieter and lighter and not too much more expensive than the older model.  We currently have three of the 3D printing pens.  We've used them for two classes and the our instructors have had a chance to play with them.  

Here's what we've learned:
  • It's really hard to draw in the air.  They make it look easy on promo video; it's not.
  • Like any art medium, there's a learning curve.  The more we practiced with them, the better we became at controlling the plastic.
  • We had the best luck "building" by creating flat pieces and the assembling them (see video below)
  • The type of plastic matter.  Some projects are great in ABS while others (like the butterfly below) worked much better in PLA.  The 3Doodler 2.0 came with both.
  • Dealing with mechanical issues...either jammed plastic and plastic not feeding correctly was incredibly time-consuming.  Patience and persistence is required.  Although there's no reason that young artists can't USE the pens to create, an adult would need to be present to keep things "flowing."
  • Youtube is your best friend for troubleshooting
Check out the video of the butterfly Miss Allison made from a translucent blue PLA plastic:

Want to play with a 3Doodler?

Our Emerging Artists class which meets on Wednesdays nights will have access to use the 3Doodlers whenever they wish.  We'll also be using them during many of our Camps and Makerspace Events
Our 2015-16 schedule will have a new class for adult artists who want to hone their drawing skills.  Fundamental Drawing will meet once per week and will focus on skill development, exercises, and instruction.   

And the best news, it's completely FREE.

Although, these are considered advanced classes, the desire to learn and grow is more important than the current skill level.  You can be a beginner in these classes and be JUST fine!

Drawing Fundamental class will operate on a 12-week curriculum.  We will repeat the lessons and drills every 12 weeks.  (Repetition is a wonderful thing.)

Each class is 60 minutes long; following each class, the studio is open for another 60 minutes for practice and additional feedback.  The second hour is completely optional.
  • Enrolled students (12 and up) who want extra instruction and focus on skill development
  • Adults who have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to draw and paint
  • High School students who are considering an art degree and need to create a portfolio demonstrating skills
The emphasis will be on drawing as REAL as possible--not because realistic drawing is better than abstract, but because realistic drawings demonstrate that we have command of our skill!

Our class meets four times per month (any "fifth days" will be taken as a day off).  After these 12 lessons have been taught, we will cycle back through them.  Artists may join at the beginning of any month, regardless of whether we are in Week 1, 5, or 9.

Below is the 12-week outline for our Fundamental Drawing class:
Week 1 - Drawing accuracy lesson 1
Week 2 - Drawing accuracy lesson 2 
Week 3 - One point perspective drawing
Week 4 - Two point perspective drawing
Week 5 - Drawing from photograph (non-moving objects)
Week 6 - Drawing from photograph (moving objects)
Week 7 -  Still life drawing (shading, highlights, textures)
Week 8 - Still life drawing (contour, scale, perspective) 
Week 9 - Figure drawing lesson 1 (from photo)
Week 10 - Figure drawing lesson 2 (life)
Week 11 - Portrait drawing lesson 1 (from photo)
Week 12 - Portrait drawing lesson 2 (life)
Tuition is always free but registration is required.

Fancy Letters



Traditionally the illuminated letter is the first letter of a word at the start of each paragraph.  

The handwritten books during the Middle Ages included large ornate letters.

As a art form, illuminated letters an stand-alone as individual pieces of art.  They made wonderful decorations for the first page of an art journal or a notebook since they are often personal to the artist.

Have you ever tried to draw the interior of a room and the funny angles of the walls and furniture make your drawing look more like a carnival fun house instead of a something grounded in reality?

Your problem can be solved if you understand drawing perspective.

Our drawing fundamentals class spend this week's lesson learning the principles of one-point perspective (next week, we look at two-point).  

Some guidelines as you begin to grasp this concept:
  • One-point perspective only works if your viewer is facing the horizon dead-on.  In an interior room that is the furthest wall.
  • One-point perspective only works if your walls are square to the horizon and the object inside the room follow those walls (i.e. furniture is not set on a diagonal in the room)
The first thing to identify is the vanishing point.  Your vanishing point is at eye level of the viewer.  If you're creating a drawing from your own creative brain, this is important to know -- because where ever you set your vanishing point, you "put" your viewer there. 

Take a look at the photos above.  The vanishing point is higher and lower because the camera was raised and lowered.  Notice that the bottom photo is the perspective of a REALLY tall person but the top photo is taken from the perspective of a small child.  The vanishing point shifts up or down the depending on the viewer.  

Once you have your vanishing point established, the rest of the lines radiate out from the center.  Table tops, table legs, shelves, mirrors, picture frames, baseboards...anything that follows the walls of the room.  

Assuming all of your furniture follows the walls, your drawing should be composed of only three types of lines:  Vertical, Horizontal, and lines that radiate from the vanishing point.

Grid Drawing


Our Drawing Fundamentals class has spent the last two weeks focusing on ACCURACY.  Accuracy in rendering a subject, either from a photo or from still-life, is one of the first skills that we work on.  Angles and shapes fit together in the proper scale and proportions.  

Talented artists who can render accurately have amazing EYES.  It's not just the hands that draw.  We would even argue that hands aren't even the most important tool in drawing.  Drawing begins with the eyes and an awareness of how these angles and shapes fit together.  
One of the best ways to train our eyes to SEE these relationships is through drawing on a grid.  

Grids break up the large page into smaller, more-manageable spaces.   They give us a roadmap to follow.  It's easier to plot a point and hit the target if we narrow the playing field!
Below is an example of a simple grid drawing.
The original line drawing is on the left and the artist's rendering is on the right.  Completing this drawing without a grid, is much more difficult! (We know.  We tried!)
Our artists found it easier to work in one square at a time and to "jump" around, instead of working in neighboring squares.

We followed a 1:1 ratio on our grid drawings so that we could check our accuracy after we were done by overlay our drawing over the original.  

We used simple line drawings, but this exercise works with photographs as well.

Click here to download a printable grid and simple line drawing that you can try at home!
(Easter-themed, because we're dreaming of spring!)
It's easy to skip over Thanksgiving and get straight into Christmas, especially with all the cute crafts and art activities floating around Pinterest.  Let's face it, there's just MORE STUFF out there for the snowy winter holiday at the end of December.  
Never fear, we've rounded up a few of our favorites for the November holiday:



Express and display your thankfulness in an artful way with this mandala drawing prompt.

Take it one step further by including intricate geometric designs likethese mandalas.

From: http://orangeeaselart.com

Leaf Coloring Pages


Suitable for every age and skill level.  Studies have shown that coloring reduces stress.  

(all the more reason to add these to your pre-holiday schedule, right?)

From: http://www.itsybitsyfun.com/

Mayflower Step-By-Step Drawing


For young artists who want a challenge, try your hand at drawing the Mayflower.  

Once you have the drawing sketched out, outline in a fine point paint and add color with watercolors.

From: http://drawinglessonsfortheyoungartist.blogspot.com

Turkey Step-By-Step Drawing


If the Mayflower tutorial above is too advanced for your little artist, try this simple turkey drawing!

You could color your finished drawings and even laminate them for use as holiday placemats.

From: http://thepearlsofhomeschooling.blogspot.com

More Step-by-Step Drawing Resources

Check out our Pinterest Board! (yes, you'll find some Santas and Olafs on there too)
Here's a fun portrait activity for preschoolers and young elementary artists.  It's a great way to reinforce the placement of facial features on future portraits!
For our classes this week, we taped color photos to the table using packing tape.  

Another option would be to laminate your photos or to place in plastic page protectors.  

Using dry erase markers, the artists can trace eyes, noses, mouths, ears, eyebrows, hairs, etc. Just for fun, we also added mustaches, glasses, hats, and other accessories!

We erased our drawings with colorful pom poms!

We're getting ready to kick off a brand new school year at Orange Easel which means brand new Art Journals for all students, K-and-up.

What is an Art Journal?  Well, I'm glad you asked!  Check out this blog post that details all about our Journals and how they are used in our art classes!  

(This post is from our "parent" company, Miss Allison's Art)

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to share in our weekly journal prompts that will get your creative juices flowing!

After School Art



Art-Making {Transition from School to Home}

The first thing my kids want to do when they get home from school is get a snack and veg-out in front of the television.  (Admittedly, some days, that exactly what happens.)  But my favorite thing to do with them after school is paint.  
Paint is inviting.  It's sensory.  It's open-ended.  Plus, they don't fight while they're doing it.  AND, sometimes they actually tell me about their day while they paint! 

We don't always paint.   Sometimes we draw or sculpt. I like to have an activity planned for them when they get off the bus.  

My favorite art activities are PROCESS-FOCUSED...meaning, that the emphasis is on the experience of creating the art instead of trying to achieve an end-product (we call that CRAFT).

Here, I had dug out some forgotten colored pencils and a spiral notebook.  Ava decided she wanted to fill her book with different monster drawings.  She drew monsters. I drew monsters.  And we talked about our day while dinner cooked.  

It's important to note that your kids don't care if you can draw.  As a matter of fact, they probably think that you draw really well.  (don't tell them otherwise)

I put together a collection of some of my favorite art invitations for after school.  These are invitations that are require very little prep on your part.  Some of these may seem "too young" for your big kids, but never underestimate the older kids' desire to finger paint.  (And how GOOD it is for them!)

Art Invitations

Credit Card Painting
Marshmallow sculptures
Paper plate weaving
Bubbling Art
Finger Painting
Melted Crayon Rocks
Graph Paper Drawings
Art Journals
Check some of these out.  And, if you try one, or if you have your own favorites, tell me about it in the comments below! 
Some little ones don't know what to do with a marker (or crayon) and a sheet of paper.  

Heck, some big people don't know what to do with a marker and a blank sheet of paper!

Encourage different types of marks with some sound games!  In each of these games, the parent or caregiver is drawing WITH the child.  I like to share a big sheet of paper, but you can each have you're own if you'd like.  
The adult sets up the "game" (Look!  My marker is a firetruck!) and then demonstrates the mark and sound that is made.  The child can choose to imitate.  Once the child begins to lose interest, demonstrate another type of mark.  If the child makes a mark that is different, imitate his/her mark and sound.  This game is fun to play in a GROUP of preschoolers, too!

Scribbling sound games

  • Pretend the marker is a choo-choo train.  Make a train noise as you move your marker across the paper in a straight horizontal line.
  • Pretend the marker is a bouncy ball.  Starting at the baseline, "jump" your marker up to the middle of the page and back down to the baseline.  Say "boing, boing" each time the marker goes up.
  • Pretend the marker is a race car.  Start on one edge of the paper.  Determine that the other edge is the finish line.  "Vroom" across the paper as fast as you can.  
  • Make big dots.  Place the marker tip on the paper.  Raise it up HIGH using your whole arm (all the way to your shoulder) and bring it down to the paper to make a dot.  Repeat.  Sing "dot, dot, dot" each time time the marker contacts the paper.  
  • Make quiet dots.  Same as above but the marker doesn't come off the page very high and you only whisper the word "dot" each time.
  • Make a "siren."  While making a firetruck noise (woo-woo-woo), swirl your marker in a spiraling motion.  
  • Make an ocean.  While making wave noise, draw a wavy line slowly from one side of the paper to the other.  
  • Make a bubble.  While making a bubble noise (you'll have to come up with your own...I can't explain mine here...) draw a closed circle.  Note: this is going to be hard for the youngest ones. Make sure you start with the spiraling one first!