This lesson plan was presented at the 2003 WVAEA Fall Conference at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV.



This is an easy lesson that is good for any age group from 6th Grade up. It is especially good for students who often say "I can't draw!" because there really is no way to mess this up!



Materials needed:

  • Computer lab

  • Adobe Photoshop, Powerpoint or other program that allows editing of images

  • Printer with paper

  • Xerox machine

  • Digital camera or connection to the Internet

  • Transparency paper for copier

  • Acrylic paint

  • Paintbrushes

  • Scratching tools (I like to have a variety -- T-pins, scratchboard knives or nail files, toothpicks, etc…)

  • Paint pens (optional)

      Preparation (before the project):

      If you are using a digital camera, you need to take an individual photograph of each student a day or two before the lesson and allow time to download them to your computer. I like to go ahead and put the photos on separate disks so that I can hand them to the students as they enter the room and they can sit at any computer. For a smaller class, you might want to go ahead and put the images directly onto the computers before class starts to save time.

      If you are using pictures from the Internet, you may spend a class period in the computer lab letting kids find a photo of their favorite artist, actor, musician, etc… Of course I don't need to tell you to BE CAREFUL, because even the best filters sometimes allow images through that can be inappropriate for school-age children to see.

      The Project:

      Day One (in the computer lab): Discuss Value and contrast with your students. Explain to them that for this project to work best, there must be a lot of contrast in the images. Everything that shows up black in the picture will be inked on the transparency, and everything that shows up white will be clear (and will allow paint to show through!)

      Pull your images up in a photo editing program. There are a lot of programs; each one is different, but most will allow you to turn your color photo into a black and white photo and then adjust the contrast. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page for directions on how to do this with Adobe Photoshop and Power Point.) Allow students to adjust the contrast until it looks good to them. Important: Do not SAVE your photo until you are sure it's the way you want it. Remember, if there is any text in the picture, you ought to print it in reverse so it will show correctly in your final project.

      Original Image

      Grayscale Image

      Adjusted Contrast

      Print out final images and then copy onto Transparency Film. MAKE SURE YOUR TRANSPARENCY FILM IS FOR USE IN A COPIER! The wrong film will melt and gunk up the inside of the copier and you'll make lots of enemies that way!

      Day Two (in the art classroom): Demonstrate to students that they are to paint on the dull side of the transparency film. (The side with ink on it looks dull in the black areas.) Before painting, students may scratch out areas that they don’t' want black, or they can scratch designs (in reverse) so paint will show through. Don't go too crazy with scratching at this point -- it is easy to scratch off details that should probably be left alone.

      Paint right over the dull, black ink and allow to dry. Small details like eyes, jewelery, lips, etc… should probably be painted first with a tiny brush because they are easy to paint over by accident. Once paint is dry, you can scratch designs in the paint and then paint another color over the scratches for a two-toned effect.

      Once artwork is completely dry, you can paint on the glossy side (the "front") with a small brush or paint pen for even more pizazz!

      I like to glue film to art paper, paint-side down when projects are done because the paint will eventually flake off. I leave about a 1" border around the image just for this purpose, because glue will pull the paint right off the film.





      I had so much fun at the WVAEA conference! Thanks so much to everyone who signed up for my class. It was a blast, and you all gave me lots of ideas for improving this project. Thanks also to WVAEA and Nanette Seligman for giving me the opportunity to share with other teachers. I hope to see you next year!






      Directions for editing your images:

      In Adobe Photoshop:

      1. Open program.
      2. Along the top of the window, click on "File." Another window will appear. Choose "Open." Choose the location where your image is stored (such as "My Documents") and click on your image to pull it up in the program.
      3. Next, go back to the selections across the top of your window and select "Image."
      4. Another window will appear. In this window, select "Adjust." One more, smaller window will appear; in it, choose "Desaturate." This will turn your image into a black and white picture.
      5. Go back to the "Image" window. Click on "Adjust," and this time choose "Brightness/Contrast." The window that pops up will have a slide bar that allows you to adjust the brightness and contrast of your picture. Play with it all you want, then hit "OK" when you have the picture the way you want it (or hit "Cancel" if you want it to go back to the way it was.)
      6. Don't forget to save your picture to disk when you're finished! Print your picture and have fun!


      In Powerpoint:

      1. Open program. Start with a new slide. You want a plain slide with no boxes in it. If your program is set up to start with a template that has boxes, simply highlight them and delete them.
      2. Along the top of the window, select "Insert." Find your image location (like "My Documents") and double-click on it to make it come up in Powerpoint.
      3. Adjust your picture size so that it is the size you want to use. You can drag the corner to "stretch" it to the size you want, or you can adjust it by right-clicking over the picture, choosing "Format Picture" and then choosing the "Size" tab in the window that pops up.
      4. Once you have the picture the size you want, right-click over the picture and choose "Format Picture." Click on the tab that says "Picture," and then change "Automatic" to either "Grayscale" or "Black and White" -- whichever looks best to you.
      5. When the picture looks the way you want it to, save your presentation (in case you need to print another one) and print out your image.



      Email if you have any questions, comments, or want to share what your students did with this project.
      I would love it if you would let me know how it worked for you!


      ß Back to Mrs. Burch's Art Attack