Thursday, July 24, 2014

From scribbles to portraits - early childhood drawing

My little girl turned three recently. She loves dressing up, acting out her favourite stories, playing with toys, exploring, singing and drawing. Her first forays into art were 'making marks' on a page as she held a crayon in her hand and pushed it at the paper in front of her. This progressed to scribbling as her grip improved, usually back and forth scribbles then circular in motion. Next came scribbles that definitely demonstrated more control such as a drawing of round shapes on one part of the page then another part of the page. She is now drawing faces and to be honest it happened quite quickly, one day she was drawing circles and the next that circle became a face. This development in drawing led me to search for information on children's artwork and the stages that young children go through when drawing. 

My daughter attends nursery and they have explained that they encourage drawing by providing the children access to a wide selection of materials, like we do at home. And like many parents we have a collection of drawings and paintings adorning our home. I wanted to find out more about children's drawing and decided to search online for research, examples and anything else that would help me learn more. The research I have looked suggests that the earliest drawing is mark making leading to the Scribble Stage around the age of 18 months - 2 years old. Scribbling can be broken down into four sub stages (Lowenfeld, 1978)
1. Disordered scribbling
2. Longitudinal scribbling
3. Circular scribbling
4. Named scribbling

This picture was drawn by my daughter when she was 18 months. As she drew this I sat beside her asking what she was drawing.

Named scribbling
She told a story as she drew the picture - a big fish with legs and it was raining. As I teach in Foundation Stage I wrote these explanations down and gave a copy to her nursery to be included in her Learning Journey. Over the next few months her drawings have progressed from named scribbling to what is termed the pre-schematic stage (ages 3 - 4 years) which is characterised by circular images that include lines representing arms/legs. This pre-schematic stage is a stage of symbols where a drawn symbol can stand for a real thing in the environment. (Betty Edwards, 'Creative and Mental Growth') 

These stages of development are fascinating reading, particularly if you work with younger children and I shall refer to them throughout the year ahead when I return to the Foundation Stage classroom. 
For now, here is my daughter's latest drawing complete with arms and legs.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Digital footprint design

I recently noticed that my online presence, my digital footprint, was a little disjointed and the overall effect was a hotchpotch of images that didn't quite give my audience a picture of who I was or what I did. I had a background image for my G+ profile that was different from my YouTube background that was different from my Blogger header image that was different from my Twitter profile and so on. So today I have spent a few hours designing my digital footprint, my online identity, to ensure that who I am and what I do is no longer lost in a mess of graphics across the many platforms I use.

I started by looking at the three words that best describe me. I use these as a tagline across every platform I use: teacher, artist, musician. Next I thought about the design and I decided to focus on my YouTube Channel art first as this would involve the largest image size out of all the social media sites I use regularly. If you have a YouTube page then I suggest you take a look at Google's support page for further information. The YouTube channel art is the image that sits on top of your page, many people will choose an image provided or, as I did, upload a photo from their collection. The image looks quite small but it all depends on what device you are using to view the page. Google's support page recommends a single image of 2560 x 1440 pixels that is optimised for various devices. You create an image that works for your YouTube Channel, but also for a mobile device and viewed on a television. Depending on the device more or less of the uploaded image will be used so you need to design your layout carefully.

I used Keynote to do this as it suited my needs perfectly as I never needed the power of Photoshop or similar image editors. I used Keynote's colour picker to create a simple colour scheme and I also added a torn photo effect to some of my images. Whatever image editor or tool you use make sure you set the image size to 2560 x 1440 px otherwise the image you create, once uploaded, will not fit correctly.

My YouTube Channel Art
I then used this image as the basis for the rest of my digital footprints across the social media sites I use.

My Twitter banner

My Google+ cover photo

I'm quite happy with the cohesion that this design has given to my digital footprint. If you have suggestions about how I could improve it then let me know.

Image sizes required.

YouTube - 2560 x 1440 px (text and logo safe area is 1546 x 423 px)
Google+ - 1080 x 608 px recommended
Twitter - 1500 x 500 px