Courses offered at Beacon during the summer are mainly electives that are intended to be fun and more laid back than classes held during the academic year. At the same time, they have to be helpful for the students in preparing them for their future careers. Digital Painting is a course that was offered for the first time during the 2013 May Term. Sandy Novak settled on this class because she knew it would permit students to be creative and work individually while also giving them another artistic tool to add to their toolboxes. The students were mainly from the Web and Digital Media Track of the Computer Information Systems major, so learning to paint digitally provided them with another skill that should be useful in their future endeavors.
During this course, students were given ample opportunity to work independently so they could concentrate on their own interests and focus on their own projects. Instruction time would introduce the class to concepts such as cloning (turning photos into paintings) and compositing (combining multiple images to create a single one). Students were given the option of which creative projects to submit for their grades. This meant that during a typical class work period, student projects would range from cloning personal photos to working on tribal and kaleidoscope drawings to creating original and derivative characters, amongst others. Before being given the freedom to explore their ideas, students were required to present their plan for class and instructor feedback to be certain the artistic vision was clear and purposeful. This also provided an opportunity for relevant discussions on technique and creativity, as well as important issues such as copyright laws. Grades were comprised both of critical thinking and application of skill, meaning that students needed to have a clear artistic plan with a thought out and well executed final product.
The Digital Painting course utilized Wacom pen tablets so that students would get the feeling of actually drawing. Corel Painting was the software the class used. This course ended up being so successful that Sandy Novak is contemplating offering it in a regular semester and not just in the summer. This is one class that fits the bill as both fun for learning and valuable for future use!
~ Gretchen Dreimiller