In an earlier post, we interviewed Hanoch Piven, illustrator and children’s book author, about his brand new iPhone app, Faces iMake. The Teaching Palette has been testing Faces iMake for several days and below is our review.
Faces iMake is a collage portrait creator with a clean, user-friendly interface, which makes it great for primary students to navigate.
The catchy music (you can turn off the music in the settings) accompanying the app encourages a happy mood while choosing colors, head shapes and objects for your portrait. A wide range of objects, grouped into different categories — such as food, tools, toys, kitchen, school, buttons, letters — provide the app-using artist a plentiful palette. You can even favorite your favorite objects for quick selection the next time around.
One feature we found helpful was that you can save finished portraits to a storage gallery where they can be assigned to a contact, saved to your iPhone photo album, emailed to a friend, or shared via Facebook. Or you can re-select your saved portrait and continue working on it.
As part of the interface, users can rotate objects after placing them on their portrait and easily layer objects above or below one another.
The only feature that seems like it is missing is the ability to scale objects, but as Piven explains, “It would have been very easy to scale objects up and down, but I wanted to have limitations that are real life limitations.”
The app’s included video art “lessons” are a great way to get started, and they’re presented in a style much like Piven’s own hands-on workshops.
Overall, the Teaching Palette gives Hanoch Piven’s Faces iMake app two thumbs up. It provides an excellent way to explain assemblage and portraiture as an art form. And it’s a lot of fun to play with.
One disclaimer, Faces iMake unexpectedly quit on two of our iPhones during testing. A simple restart of the iPhones solved the problem. From what we understand, an update is coming soon to prevent this minor glitch altogether.
Watch the demo below to see how this app works.
While many of us still have limited iPod Touch and iPhone access, here are some classroom/student integration suggestions:
- Use your personal iPod Touch or iPhone and project images under a document camera for the entire class to see. You should definitely check out IEAR (I Education Apps Review) for additional ideas and tips for using Apps in the classroom.
- Create a list of great iPhone apps for your students to try at home. An earlier post offers some great art app suggestions.
- Talk to your school administrator, perhaps s/he would be willing to pilot an iPod Touch or (if you’re very lucky) a classroom set. Or try writing a grant. You never know unless you try! For a list of grant opportunities, click here.
We were excited to view The Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing at the educator open house. The new edition designed by Renzo Piano makes the Art Institute of Chicago the second largest art museum in the United States. The layout and design of the new galleries that now house the museums 20th and 21st century art collections are impressive but, as educators we were truly amazed by the new Ryan Education Center.
The new eduction space boasts five classrooms, three huge studios, the new Crown Family Education Center and the new David and Marilyn Fatt Vitale Family Orientation Room. Not only are these educational spaces truly state of the art but, have one of the most sought after views in the city as they look onto Millennium Park. The image above was taken on my phone in one of the new studios.
Along with the fantastic educational space , The Art Institute previewed new interactive software and resources featuring pieces from their collections. This July they lunched that material online in an interactive website for kids called the Curious Corner. The site is geared more towards the elementary age child but, also has resources for educators and parents. Visitors can choose form three different categories of interactive games such as Story Time, Match Up and Play with Art. The Match up section is one of our favorites it lets you match texture, shape or sound. Below is a short clip of some of the interactive games children can explore on the site.
(Trouble viewing this video? Try this link.)
Below is a couple of ideas for utilizing the Curious Corner in the classroom.
- Use the “Story Time” games as an introduction to teaching children about the messages, stories and meaning behind many pieces of art.
- Use the “Match Up” sound game as an individual activity for analyzing the parts of a work of art. As a student matches each sound to different area of a piece of art they will notice new details and better understand what is happening in the image.
- Use the Cornell Box section of the “Play with Art” game to have students create a still life that is meaningful to themselves. Print the completed computer still life images and have students use the grid drawing processes to enlarge the image. Choose a media such as colored pencil or chalk for students to add detail to their personal still life drawings.
- Use the “Match Up” game as an introduction or extension activity for concepts like texture and shape.
Share how you could utilize this site in your classroom in the comments section below?
I have been searching for a way to honor the Presidential Inauguration through art. Today I found a YouTube video via Free Technology For Teachers that I think it captures exactly what I was looking for. This video is a cronological portrature documentation of all 44 presidents and is a great way to discuss portraiture in American history. Fun fact: Barack Obama is the first president to have his official presidential portrait taken using a digital camera.
(If you can’t access YouTube from your school, try some of the bypass solutions suggested in an earlier post.) You may also find an earlier post: American Revolution Portraitist useful in your discussion.