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My Loverly Report

Presentation Topic: How to Draw a Generic Disney Princess Face using Sketchbook Express on iPads

Workshop Date and Time: 12/4/12 at 2:00 pm

Location: Shoal Creek Adventist School

No. of Students: 11

Audience Description: 5/6th graders


Describe how you prepared for this activity. Copy or link any planning documents that you created in this section.

To prepare for this activity, I first had to play around in Sketchbook Express myself. Although I have had it on my computer for a while, I hadn’t really given it much thought since I’m so familiar with Photoshop (and have missed using it). Thankfully, by doing this activity, I realized that, while it’s not Photoshop, Sketchbook Express is a fantastic program (particularly so for a free app!) that I should be using more often. To familiarize myself, I used my Wacom drawing tablet and Mac to play around with brushes, colors, layers, opacity and flow, anything and everything that was pertinent to making my drawing look great. Next, I drew two practice heads. The one with blue eyes and hair was my first attempt; notice the weird evil eyes and scribbily ramblings in the corners. I drew this without any references except those in my brain. Since I knew that I definitely wanted the kids to have a better model than that, I scoured my “Art” board on Pinterest for references (see below for links!). As you can tell in the second version, using the references greatly improved the final result, and I used this picture as the model for teaching the children.

Now, since I knew that Sketchbook Express looks different on different platforms, I had to get ahold of an iPad for myself to see what it would look like. Enter my best friend, Jordan. I met up with her, downloaded the app onto her iPad (with her permission) and compared/contrasted with the Mac app. Frankly, the iPad version is a lot more streamlined, which makes it a great choice when working with children. The only difference was that the iPad app did not respond to pen “pressure” the way my Wacom tablet does. You know when you sketch with a pencil, you can press lightly or very hard and have different marks? The Wacom tablet allows this. The iPad, unfortunately, does not, so to compensate, I made the children make the rough sketch in a different color, like light blue or green, and then, in another layer, draw over it in black. This creates a clean final sketch without any of the messy beginnings showing up.

I told Miss Dorn about my proposal, and we arranged the date accordingly. Since her class was finished with a history unit, Miss Dorn decided to let me take over the last hour of class that day instead of starting a new unit (it’s almost Christmas, anyway). In order to install the app on all the iPads, Miss Dorn had to procure a list of emails and passwords from the principal to use in the App store. Unfortunately, some of the iPads simply would not take, and some parents had not set up accounts on the iPad. To remedy this, some students shared an iPad, while another used a completely different program, and two others just used pencil and paper while also paying attention to their neighbor’s iPads. Miss Dorn was also able to procure touch screen styluses in order to make drawing on the screen feel more natural and less odd. While I know that some people like the feeling of “finger painting” on the screen, I’m just so used to using a pen/pencil that I felt the students might feel the same. At this point, I was also wondering if using a stylus activated the “pen pressure” sensitivity I talked about earlier (it didn’t). I still think the kids enjoyed using the styluses anyway. Since the school has done so much for me in order to prepare for this activity, I’m writing thank you cards to both the principal and Miss Dorn (they will receive them sometime this week).

This is the first Disney head.

FINAL Disney Head1

And this is the second.

FINAL Disney Head2

Here are links to some of the picture references I used (taken from Pinterest):





Describe what procedure you followed for setting up and conducting activity. Copy or link any activities that you conducted during the session. Add references to time segments in your recorded video if you think some portion of your session was captured well on camera.

I arrived around 15 minutes before the session was due to start. I brought my Mac, tablet and Teach NOW checklist sheet, as well as my Surface, camera, keychain full of flash-drives, and anything else I thought might be pertinent. I still wasn’t sure if I had secured permission to film, and when I was told no, then at least I had been somewhat prepared. I sketched briefly to calm my jitters, just to make sure that I still knew what I was doing. I also tried out the stylus pen on an iPad to see if it worked the way I hoped it would (it didn’t), but since I had planned for this to happen anyway when I played with Jordan’s iPad, I wasn’t fazed in the least.

I started a few minutes after 2, as it took a little while for the students to get settled, open the app, get a stylus, and get to work. I really didn’t have to tell them much in the beginning. I could already see them playing with the pen tool, using the back button to correct mistakes, discovering the eraser, changing pencil colors, etc. I knew I shouldn’t have too hard a time with them since they had already gotten this far by themselves, and I told them how glad I was that they were already familiarizing themselves with the app. After this, I told them to first select the pencil tool and change it to any light shade of color they wanted, preferably a light blue or green. I explained that animators would do an initial sketch in a light blue on regular paper, and then draw over it in black once the proportions had been correctly placed. This took a minute, and there was a lot of “uh, what” floating around the room. I encountered this a lot more than I’d like to admit, but despite their confusion, they caught on quickly to what I was asking of them. We then sketched the head, starting with a semi-perfect circle with crosshairs added in the middle for placement of the eyes. They then added two medium sized circles for eyes, a small oval for the nose, and a straight line for the mouth. I tried to show them how they needed a limp wrist with lots of elbow action in order to draw a circle well, and it seemed like most of them did a great job. My jaw kinda dropped when I noticed one girl’s circle… it looked really good J I then showed them how to align the neck line with the pupil placement, and how to add eyebrows that followed the curve of the eye socket. I really wish that I could’ve filmed this, because you would’ve seen me getting up and down and walking all around, trying to help the students understand what they needed to do next. Like I mentioned before, they complained a lot, but Miss Dorn pointed out that she has a class full of perfectionists, so it wasn’t anything to do with my teaching. They were just expecting amazingness, and when it fell short, they pouted. Loudly. I told them to be less hard on themselves, considering they were only 5-6th graders! I’ve been through college, for pete’s sake. Still, they wanted to do well and I could tell. After all the basics were laid down, I showed them how to select a new layer, change the color of the pencil to black and start darkening the lines they’d already made as well as add on new details not previously created on the last layer. They had been laughing about how, with no pupils or eye highlights, the princess looked more like a zombie, so they were glad when they were able to add the rest of the necessary components of the eye. After they had darkened in everything and laughed a great deal about the “clown nose,” which turned into the Disney one as you can see in the picture, we added one more layer and started in with the shading. I told them to use the airbrush tool set to small and to adjust the opacity to very, very light. They had a bit of a hard time doing this part, but I walked around the room and helped them as needed. I then taught them to shade in the eye cavities, the nose, under the neck, and around the jawline. Afterwards, they pleaded with me to add hair, so I threw on a quick Ariel hairpiece and called it a day. This is a general overview of what happened. Most of the time, I had to go very slow, repeating steps and helping individuals when asked. Students sometimes voluntarily started all over, trying to make it look the very best. Yet, for the most part, this was a wonderful exercise, and I think they thoroughly enjoyed it.

Key Take Away Points:

List four or five things that you consider as highlights of what you learned from this experience.

1.) Go VERY SLOWLY when teaching something step by step. Take even more time than you think to make sure everybody is caught up and completely understands what needs to be done next.

2.) Wait until everyone is quiet before proceeding. Miss Dorn helped the class quiet down a lot, but I noticed that I might have had a greater affect on the class if I had just been more assertive in demanding their attention. I know they were excited and were eager to work with the iPad and share what they were doing with their friends, but it was interrupting further instruction, so I had to put my foot down. I really need to work on my QUIET DOWN PLEASE skills J

3.) Kids take to tech like ducks to water. It’s not that I didn’t already know this; I just felt this sense of awe as I watched the whole class start fiddling with everything and figuring it out without me even saying a word. It’s just sort of… magical.

4.) We’ve got a batch of young professionals on our hands. I couldn’t believe how perfectionistic the WHOLE CLASS was. Seriously, almost everybody in that class cared about whether or not their drawing looked great. There were even a few students who lingered after the activity, furiously working on their drawing in order to make it look as epic as possible before I photographed it for this report. Those kids inspire me.


Describe or quote feedback from students and your mentor. Copy or link any feedback documents that you gathered from participants after the session.

In short: “Can you be our art teacher?” “We’d pay you for it” (this was spoken by a student, not knowing how small Shoal Creek’s budget is). “Just let us know when you’d like to come back and we’ll see what we can do” (Miss Dorn). 😀 😀 😀


Copy pictures here, or give reference to any audio or video recording files that you created of your session.

Here is my final file that I used in class. I only added hair after the students asked me to, and since Ariel’s hair is the only style that I can wing by heart, I tried my best. I saw showing them an example of an “ethnic” Disney eye, and that’s what that random eye in the corner is. Also, that’s a close up of the nose on the top right. I really don’t like how it came out. It came out better in the test picture. Oh well.

FINAL Disney Head3

And here are the students’ pictures 🙂

IMG_0473 IMG_0489IMG_0483IMG_0479IMG_0479IMG_0481IMG_0485IMG_0471IMG_0475IMG_0491

And here I am messing around at the end 🙂


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