Acting as the perfect creative bond between elementary and college-aged students, an assemblage of monsters was hatched earlier this month on Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus.
First-year students in the Selkirk College Digital Arts & New Media (DANM) Program partnered with South Nelson Elementary students in Doug Van Sickle’s Grade 3/4 class for the second annual Monster Party which melded the minds of participants on both sides.
Grade 3/4 students from South Nelson Elementary School partnered with first-year students in Selkirk College’s Digital Arts & New Media Program on a project that helped bring monsters to life through drawings and then digital illustration.
Earlier this year, elementary students put crayon to paper and let their imagination run wild. The monster drawings were then handed off to the Selkirk College students who further developed the sometimes cute and sometimes creepy creatures using the computer tools they have been perfecting in class. When the two sides came together in early-April, smiles were painted on the faces of all participants.
“I was amazed by how much art could change from a kid’s drawing to really good art,” said 10-year-old Ben Carter who was paired with 20-year-old Zach Janzen. “He upgraded the scariness like 9,000-times. He succeeded so amazingly!”
Carter’s original drawing featured a dark forest with mysterious red eyes peering through the trees.
“When I was doing it, I was feeling a little grim, so I only drew red eyes in order to hide the monster’s identity,” said the younger student, sounding very much like he was ready for college. “It was to make people wonder, I wanted it scary with some mystery.”
Using Adobe Illustrator computer software, Janzen then created a poster-sized picture that hit the mark for his young partner.
“When I first saw Ben’s drawing, I thought it would be challenging because he didn’t give me a whole lot,” said Janzen, a graduate of Mount Sentinel Secondary. “I attempted to stay true to his drawing.”
With thoughts of using his Selkirk College education to pave a career path that includes illustration and graphic design, Janzen said the monster project brought him back to his early days as an artist.
“As a kid I used to draw a lot and then my parents bought me a tablet, so I got into illustration,” said Janzen. “This was one of my favourite class assignments, it felt pretty natural.”
Valuable Lessons for All Students
The partnership between elementary and post-secondary students started last year when DANM instructor Kerry Pagdin was told about a website that brings together kids and artists from around the world called the Monster Project. Pagdin’s class worked with Hume Elementary in the first year and this year brought South Nelson Elementary on board.
From an educational perspective, the Selkirk College students were required to take the original drawing and turn it into something that kids would want to hang on their bedroom walls. Designing for different specific audiences—in this case children—is a quality that will help make the DANM students more employable when they graduate.
South Nelson Elementary School Grade 4 student Ben Carter (right) partnered with Selkirk College Digital Arts & New Media Program first-year student Zach Janzen (left) on a project that brought the monster drawings to a life through a computer rendering.
The pint-sized clients in this case gave their college buddies a huge thumbs-up for their monster creations.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Grade 3 student Tate Hodge who drew a cat-like monster in a cave for her partner Mercedes Minck to elevate on the computer. “When I first saw it, I thought ‘that’s creepy.’ I will hang it on my wall, but not near my bed because you wouldn’t want to wake up beside this poster… especially after a nightmare!”
Selkirk College students will now turn their attention to the annual Digital Arts & New Media Year End Show which takes place on April 13 (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and April 14 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at Mary Hall on the Tenth Street Campus. The annual event is a showcase of both first and second year student work in traditional and digital illustrations, short films, 2D and 3D animations, photography, motion graphics, virtual reality and game design.