Lesson 4: High School

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Creating Cartoon Characters

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“Creating Cartoon Characters” is appropriate for high school students with access to digital cameras and a computer lab with Abobe Photoshop. Lesson Three, “Animals Have Feelings Too,” is appropriate for elementary or middle school students.

Objectives

  1. Students are able to use exaggeration to make an expressive artwork.
  2. Students are able to use lines expressively.

Arizona Visual Arts Standards

  • CREATE: Creative Process: 201 & 301: Make and explain revisions of his or her own artwork.
  • CREATE: Elements & Principles: 201 & 301: Identify, select and use elements and principles to organize the composition in his or her own artwork.
  • EVALUATE: Elements & Principles: 301: Using established criteria, judge the effectiveness of an artist’s use of elements and principles in a composition to support the meaning and/or purpose of an artwork.

Preparation
Because this project requires some advanced Photoshop skills, it is best suited for students with some prior Photoshop experience. Preview the Creating Cartoon Characters PowerPoint. Read detailed “Step-By- Step Computer Instructions” at the end of this lesson plan to be sure you understand all the steps in the process.

Resources and Supplies

Activities
Review the theme in life that “We all learn everyday” by retelling what they learned from the work of Chuck Jones about lines and creating expressive characters. Review the theme in art that “Artists learn from teachers, from other artists, on their own, from family and from the world around them.” Explain that in this lesson students will learn how to exaggerate features of a photo of themselves and add lines to create a cartoon character of themselves by following the example of Chuck Jones. Review the unit’s two key questions: a) How do artists learn how to be artists? and b) How do artists use lines expressively? Explain that in this lesson they will learn more about how Chuck Jones created cartoon characters and how he used expressive lines.

Introduction and Definition
Display the first 10 slides of “Creating Cartoon Characters” PowerPoint to:

  • Define and give examples of exaggeration.
  • Analyze how lines can increase the expressiveness of an artwork.

Assignment
Explain to students that they are to demonstrate what they have learned by transforming a digital image of themselves into an expressive cartoon through exaggeration and addition of line.

Step-By-Step-Instructions
View remaining “Creating Cartoon Characters” PowerPoint slides to show steps in creating a cartoon character and also to show several high school student samples:

  1. Create a canvas, upload a photograph of yourself and remove the background.
  2. Use a filter called “liquify” to exaggerate facial features, apply emotions and alter body shapes.
  3. Several steps are required to achieve this cartoon effect (including applying a surface blur filter). (See detailed step-by-step instructions at the end of this lesson plan.)
  4. Add the finishing touches to your cartoon by creating lines for definition. Then lighten the image with levels.

Art Vocabulary

  • Angular
  • Brighter
  • Cartoon
  • Character
  • Curved / curvy
  • Darker
  • Exaggerate / exaggerated
  • Express / expression / expressive
  • Larger
  • Lighter
  • Line
  • Longer
  • Loopy
  • Rounder
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Straight
  • Tapered
  • Thin
  • Varied
  • Wide

Secondary Assessment Guides

Objective 1. Students are able to use exaggeration to make an expressive artwork.

  • Exceeds Expectations: The exaggerations in the cartoon powerfully and effectively express an overall mood, feeling or emotion.
  • Meets Expectations: The exaggerations in the cartoon suggest an overall mood, feeling or emotion.
  • Approaches Expectations: The cartoon includes some exaggeration of parts.
  • Fails to Meet Expectations: No parts of the cartoon have bee exaggerated.

Objective 2. Students are able to use lines expressively.

  • Exceeds Expectations: The lines effectively enhance the cartoon’s expression.
  • Meets Expectations: The lines add to rather than distract from the cartoon’s expression.
  • Approaches Expectations: The cartoon includes added lines.
  • Fails to Meet Expectations: The cartoon includes no added lines.