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Animation Lab for Kids: Fun Projects for Visual Storytelling and Making Art Move - From cartooning and flip books to claymation and stop-motion movie making (Lab Series) Flexibound – October 1, 2016
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About the Author
Laura Bellmont and Emily Brink are the co-founders and lead teachers of The Good School, an arts-education school that cultivates and combines traditional art-making skills and the technologies involved in stop-motion animation filmmaking. They teach animation techniques at camps, schools, and events, including the New York International Children's Film Festival. They also offer professional development for teachers; among their clients are The Spring School, Spence School, and Pratt Institute.
Laura is a trained illustrator and arts educator who has served children and adults in the New York area for over ten years. She is passionate about progressive arts education and has found a perfect mobile venue for her love of teaching in the formation of The Good School. Laura received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration as well as her MS in Art + Design Education from Pratt Institute, graduating from both programs with honors.
Emily is a professional graphic designer and art educator who has been working in New York City since 2010. She believes that by inviting today's youth into the rich world of art making through the process of animation, she can help create a new generation of problem solvers, culture makers and intelligent consumers that could have the potential to bring creative change to all their spheres of influence. Emily received her BFA in Visual Communications from the University of Oklahoma and her MS in Art + Design Education from Pratt Institute, where she graduated with honors.
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But, I am not an art educator. I was a classroom educator and am now a homeschooler. Is this a good book for me? for other home educators like me? Yes, but it isn't one that you can just pick up and run with. What I know about homeschoolers is that we become students of our students. We often have to learn how to teach our children what they want to know or explore new things together with them. Animation is one of those things for me and I suspect it is for many parents!
This book had tons of great directions and activities in it. The children in the pictures of this book look to be about ages 6-8. But, I think that the activities in this book would be much better suited to children ages 8-12 years old. We were able to do these projects without purchasing any additional materials. I did have two pieces of plastic in my basement, but those can easily be purchased at a hardware store. I substituted a round plastic Easter basket for the round cardboard box the zoetrope project asks for. All of my substitutions worked. In this way, I consider this art book a very affordable way of pursuing animation activities.
I did several of the activities with my children who are in that age range. I learned several things. The most important of which is to do each activity yourself first. The authors include basic directions, but in order to teach students how to do these projects it would be wise to make each of the projects yourself first and see what makes a project work or not work. For example, with the zoetropes--project #1. I learned in doing the project that it needed to be done in pen, pencil wasn't dark enough. There also needed to be a progression, not a back and forth. My kids enjoyed the project and so did I. To introduce the project, I showed a video about Pixar's Zoetrope that was very interesting! And then we commenced on our project! Our zoetropes were successful. I learned that 1. Don't draw the pictures in pencil--they must be drawn in color or black ink to be easily seen. 2. It is helpful for kids to draw the number of pictures they need on a separate sheet of paper first and then on the zoetrope paper.
Over the following weeks, we've done several more projects. I've noticed a couple of things. My artist daughter runs with the projects. (It's her zoetrope above.) Last week, we made a downshoot animation project. In doing this project and watching my artistic daughter execute the projects, I noticed several things about this book. My daughter ran with this project. The projects in this book lend themselves to huge creative explorations. The projects plant seeds of how to do things. My daughter thought of changing the size and angle of the girl on the bird in the picture sequence she drew. But, I didn't tell her to do that.
How she ran with this project showed me that this book was written by art educators--and so art educators will read these directions in the book and run with them-- like my daughter did. For me, someone who loves art but isn't trained as an art educator, I needed to do the projects ahead of time and still need to be flexible when I hit snags with a project. Doing the projects helped me see what extra directions I needed to give and what set up I needed to do before class.
I love this book because it is the perfect low-tech jumping off point to introduce my kids to animation. If your kids are showing an interest in animation, but you want hands-on, low tech ways of pursuing this interest, I highly recommend checking out this book!
Please note that I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but this review is my own opinion.