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Articles in the "The Creativity Express Curriculum" Category

A Short List of (Mostly) Free Digital Paint Software

Monday, June 17th, 2013

 

          The internet is a mixed bag. On the one hand it can provide a treasure trove of knowledge and information, and on the other hand it can quickly turn into a confusing array of choices. It can also be a terrific way to spend large amounts of time that you really didn’t have in the search for that one thing you’re actually looking for. Admit it, we’ve all wasted time trying to get Google to cough up relevant information. So we thought we’d save you some time in the search for a kid-friendly (mostly) free digital paint program.

          For those new to Creativity Express, our 16 online art lessons include doART  ‘Creativity Builders’. These are hands-on art projects that can be completed using both traditional art supplies as well as digital paint programs. From a parent’s point of view, a digital approach can have several advantages. Anyone who has supervised an art project involving glitter appreciates the lack of cleanup time computers offer while still encouraging their child’s creative self-expression. Looking towards you child’s future, a vast array of jobs use digital tools for real-world products; a simple example would be architects who rely on computer aided rendering software to design buildings. So it’s a good idea to give kids at least some experience with digital paint programs – it is a worthwhile stepping stone to more complex software.

          In order for us to recommend a digital paint program it needed to meet three basic rules.

  • First, the software has to be kid-friendly. This means that the child can learn to use the program either because it is simply laid out, or because there are good tutorials. This should be fun for the kids, not a burden for the parents to trouble-shoot.
  • Second, the software should be free to download, or low-cost. Though free sound great, it has its downsides. Generally software is free because it has ads in it, and with kids involved that’s not always okay.
  • Hence my third rule: any advertising must be child-appropriate.

There are quite a few digital paint programs to choose from, so let’s get started!

Traditional MyPaint toolsMyPaint – Available for PC and Linux operating systems; MyPaint has a range of functions similar to Adobe Photoshop including pressure-sensitive capabilities for use with drawing tablets. In addition to basic layering features, MyPaint has many different brush settings. Kids can even create their own brushes, allowing them to be really creative with this program!

Firealpaca – This kid-friendly art program is available for free download on both Macs and PCs. A relatively new program, it does contain advertisements. However they claim to be art-related, and only placed ion the introductory screen, along with any relevant update information or user tips. The program has layer capabilities and many different brush settings.

Copic – Another free program compatible with Macs and PCs, Copic has a user-friendly interface that incorporates Copic’s color system as well as different brush settings. Kids will love the easy look of the program, and should be able to pick it up quickly.

Sumopaint – Users can draw online or download a more comprehensive version of this easy-to-use program; it has both PC and Mac compatibility. Its tools for drawing are virtually unlimited, allowing kids to have an expanded choice for their artwork.

ArtRage ToolboxArtRage – This program is very kid-friendly and simplistic, and is our choice for digital art software. It’s available for both Windows and Mac operating systems for $49.90. Supporting all levels of artists, ArtRage is designed to be like a virtual painting space, increasing authenticity and making the experience for kids more fun and realistic.

Artweaver – Suitable for beginners, Artweaver is a freeware program that is available for Windows computers. On this program, kids can even draw from a photograph scanned into the computer – draw on paper first, then paint on Artweaver!

SpeedyPainter – SpeedyPainter has a simple and intuitive design, and is suitable for children to use. It is downloadable for free for Windows users. It includes basic features, as well as a brush library and separate viewfinder to allow kids to really see what they’re drawing.

SmoothDraw – This program has many different brushes that can be used, as well as a simplistic interface; it’s available for free download for Windows operating systems. Children will love the ease of use in this program, and will be able to use it with little basic knowledge of tools in art programs.

Qaquarelle – Part of the Sourceforge portfolio of software, Qaquarelle supports tablet functions and has a simple design that children will find easy-to-use. It’s an open-source software that has a free download.

Last but not least, a clever drawing tool….

DrawPile – Although not specifically a digital paint program, DrawPile is a freeware program that allows multiple users to share the same online drawing board. Kids can have fun doodling and creating with their friends wherever they may travel.

With such a range of choices, we look forward to user comments on these programs, and links to others we may not have discovered.

Enjoy!

The Madcap Logic Team

Madcap Logic Introduces the New Assessment Rubric for Creativity Express

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The sixteen Creativity Express lesson modules in combination with the hands-on Creativity Builders projects create an entire curriculum that meets the National Standards for the Visual Arts. Our new interactive rubric has been designed to assist educators and parents in assessing the depth of understanding any one child has gained from the Creativity Express lesson content.

The National Standards for the Visual Arts are divided into two grade level groups: K-4 and 5-8, with different achievement goals for each age group. Entering the child’s grade level in the ‘Student Information’ area will select the appropriate rubric for that child

The K-4 Standards focus on conceptual comprehension over hands-on execution of artwork. In this age group there may be some quite talented children who simply lack the coordination or maturity to fully execute their ideas. Children progress at different rates during these early years; their achievement level on this rubric should reflect their relative capability at their given age or grade level, and effort put into the curriculum and projects. By grades 5-8, it is expected that the child is able to grasp the concepts rather easily. Their assessment is focused on the ability to analyze, discriminate, and make choices in execution of the projects to fully express these concepts in artwork. Again, those using the rubric should focus on relative skills and effort when deciding on assessment level for any one child.

Though it seems counterintuitive to attempt to measure creativity at a time when most children face a burden of standardized tests, we hope that both educators and parents find this rubric a useful tool. Creativity Express was designed by artists and education professionals to encourage experimentation, analysis, self-expression, and ultimately teach children to find their individual artistic voice. This rubric was designed to encourage these behaviors and serve as a guideline for further exploration.

 

The Madcap Logic Team

“The Balancing Act” on Lifetime to Feature Madcap Logic’s Unique Educational Arts Program ‘Creativity Express Online’

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012


“Madcap Logic is thrilled to partner with BrandStar Entertainment’s TV popular morning show “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime in their effort to address the complex educational needs of today’s students.”

BrandStar Entertainment

“Creativity Express Brings Art Into The Classroom Tuesday January 17th, 2012: Lifetime Television 7:00-8 AM EST. & PST., 6:00-7AM CST

PRLog (Press Release)Jan 09, 2012
(Pompano Beach, FL) Madcap Logic, LLC – creators of Creativity Express, a fun an innovative arts educational program, recently completed filming for BrandStar Entertainment’s hit morning show, The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television.

“Madcap Logic is thrilled to partner with BrandStar Entertainment’s TV show The Balancing Act on Lifetime in their effort to address the complex educational needs of today’s students. In today’s challenging environment we applaud the efforts of The Balancing Act on Lifetime to provide parents and educators with essential resources required for lifelong academic success,” says special guest, Elise Ruiz-Ramon from Madcap Logic.

The segment which also features Robert Monson, President of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, will air this month as part of The Balancing Act’s Parent Teacher Corner series on Lifetime Television.  In the upcoming segment, they’ll discuss the importance of including art lessons in your child’s curriculum as part of the learning experience.

In this edition of the Parent Teacher Corner on The Balancing Act on Lifetime, viewers will learn that with so many schools cutting their budgets, educators are looking on-line to find the types of tools that teach effectively and are cost efficient. “Arts education enables children to draw from their experiences to create meaning that will enhance their learning,” says Robert.  “Research tells us that the arts have a tremendously positive impact on teaching and learning, especially in discovering talents, stimulating academic interests, and awakening an awareness of the vast possibilities of life.”

Children with art education do better across the board.  “Our Creativity Express curriculum reaches some children who would otherwise be left behind,” Elise adds.  “An arts education also helps students develop motivation for higher academic achievement, leading them to become lifelong learners.”

Make sure to watch BrandStar Entertainment’s special Parent Teacher Corner edition of The Balancing Act to discover how a properly applied art education may lead to academic improvement, as well as develop more intuitive thinking and developing creativity and self esteem.

For more a preview of the segment, please visit The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: www.thebalancingact.com/video/?v=FX6W49ANG03517

About “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television
The Balancing Act TV show airs daily on Lifetime Television at 7:00am (ET/PT).  The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television is America’s premier morning show that’s about women, for women and trusted by women.  For information or to view a show, visit http://www.TheBalancingAct.com.  You can also follow The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television at; http://www.facebook.com/TheBalancingActFans, www.twitter.com/BalancingActTV and www.youtube.com/thebalancingact.

About BrandStar Entertainment
BrandStar Entertainment is well known for their cutting edge content driven women’s programming, including “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television.  The Balancing Act TV show inspires and empowers women with entertaining and educational segments, placing them in the best position to achieve success in every aspect of their lives.  For more details about BrandStar Entertainment please visit http://www.brandstartv.com.

For information on becoming a content partner for “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television, contact BrandStar Entertainment at Brandutainment@o2mediainc.com.

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O2 Media’s parent company, BrandStar Entertainment, producers of The Balancing Act show on Lifetime TV, have proven themselves as pioneers in the Branded Entertainment industry bringing Social Media to TV with the vision to Engage, Entertain and Educate.

New York City Parks & Recreation Afterschool Programs use Creativity Express!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

“On November 7th, 2008, New Museum staff Chio Flores and Stephanie Pereira gave a presentation at to Al Smith and Hamilton Fish After School Program’s 9-12 year olds. They first described to the students the mission of their museum and talked about contemporary art in general. They presented slides of various artwork and talked about their past and current exhibitions.

We found those students who have been participating in Creativity Express since the Summer ’08 season, were more apt to participate in the group discussions about the slides. They were more confident (than others) to raise their hands, as well as had a larger vocabulary with which to articulate their ideas and opinions about the artwork presented.”-Olga Gazman, Director Computer Resource Centers, City of New York Parks & Recreation

Wendy Rominger From Jackson Hole, WY Tells us About Her Class and Creativity Express!

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Wendy Rominger is currently teaching art in grades 6-8 in Jackson Hole Middle School in Jackson, Wyoming.  She first found out about Creativity Express through a postcard she received from an art education convention.  The program seemed to meet many of the needs she was struggling with in her own curriculum and mixed computer use with studio activities, assessment quizzes, written reflections, and creating computer images that could be stored in a portfolio.

We asked Wendy about how she uses the software in her classes and the kinds of art her kids have produced as a result. Here is what she had to say: “I have the kids create a handmade cardboard journal that houses all their Do Art activities.  I have expanded the chapter Messages in Art as a spring board for a T-shirt design using lettering t-shirtfor their own message. I see my 6th graders 2 times a week which limits how much time we spend in Creativity Express but I strive to have them all complete up to 8 chapters if I see them for a semester. It has proved incredibly helpful when I have a substitute in my room. They have commented how wonderful it was and how engaged the kids were during the class.”

Wendy has noticed that some kids take more readily to the software than others however, and that if she doesn’t keep an eye on them they will skip over sections that are more or less optional so they can get to the challenge (at least they are ambitious!). Some of the kids are also moving quickly to wait to find out more about the artists or concepts covered, but they really love working with Corel Painter and musicexpressing themselves on the computer. Interestingly, some kids prefer the idea gizmo than their own ideas for completing their art activities while others prefer to challenge themselves to come up with their own solutions. The software is flexible enough to cover both audiences and their needs! One favorite activity for all seems to be pulling the handle on the machine!

When we asked Wendy what she would tell a new teacher who had never used the program before, she recommended working through how to log students in, then unlock the chapters, explore the features of the gallery, artist cards, and how to track student scores before exposing the kids to the program.sign A digital painter program is really essential if students are going to create images on the computer. If you are wondering about the images in this blog, they come courtesy of Wendy’s students, wonderful examples of the kinds of artistic expression they found through the software.

Thanks so much for your time Wendy, and give our thanks to the students for their beautiful work!

With thanks to Circumerrostock for the sign!

Encouraging the artist within!

Running Group
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