Intro to Computing Art // Creature Cartoon

In Intro to Computing, students learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. In the past, their first project was creating an illustration based on an idiom in Illustrator. It was time to retire that project for awhile and try something new that challenged fresh ideas. This semester, I teach 3 sections of Intro to Computing for a total of about 40 students.

I am proud to admit that this new project was something I conceived on my own! For Creature Cartoon, each student pulled words out of separate bags– one for a physical trait, one for an action, and one for an emotion. Then they had to illustrate a unique creature that accompanied all those traits successfully in Illustrator.

After receiving their words, students brainstormed and submitted a series of thumbnails of their ideas, which were then narrowed down to their top three when I visited them in class one-on-one. Those three were turned into well-drawn comps that were drawn with Sharpies and Micron pens, and critiqued by their entire class. The best drawing was scanned into Illustrator, and vector shapes were placed on top. The focus of this Illustrator project was learning the Pen Tool and conducting organized layer management.

For even MORE fun, my students turned their illustrations into animated GIFs when we started the Photoshop segment. I will write a separate blog post on that soon!

Below are some illustrations that were turned in. All have aspects to be improved upon for their portfolio, but overall I was very pleased with their results!

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.


by Andrea Osby: joyful, shell, smell flower


by Ashley Rude: curious, climb, short legs


by Austin Smith: bashful, antlers, upside down


by Hannah Livingston: bored, talking on the phone, sharp teeth


by Kaitlyn Upton: angry, fly, whiskers


by April Porter: webbed feet, anxious, float


by Bethany Smith: surprised, fly, beak


by Brittany Riland: mad, long arms, swing


by Chris Gates: sing, short legs, giggle


by Gerald Wicks: excited, climbing, long tail


by Laura Leigh Hicks: squishy cheeks, afraid, smell flower


by Mary Emily Moore: big eyes, broken-hearted, eat


by Olivia Ketchum: happy, sharp teeth, read


by Ryan Guillory: horns, exercise, lazy


by Allie Hanson: long arms, calm, unicycle


by Ann Gray Flowers: mane, bored, smell flowers


by Josie Goodman: squishy cheeks, joyful, upside down


by Meredith Morris: tentacles, mellow, float


by Morgan Helton: beak, sleepy, read


by Ques Nevels: grumpy, webbed feet, skate


by Sarah Ferguson: sad, jumping, shell


by Taylor Knight: big ears, bashful, eat

Design I // Line Explosion

My Design I class is a sweet group. I have 15 girls and 2 guys. (Where are the creative major guys these days?!) Most of them are Interior Design majors, but I also have a few representing Fine Art, Photography, and Floral Management.

For their first project, we focused on line and the psychological meanings of straight and curvy line work. Students chose 1-3 adjectives to illustrate using line, creating a “line explosion.” The medium used to depict these lines included Sharpies and Micron pens of different thicknesses, and good craftsmanship was emphasized. They were to also implement the elements and principles of design in their work.

Elements: line, shape, mass/form/volume, space, value, color, texture, time/motion.
Principles: balance, rhythm, repetition, unity, variety, size/scale/proportion, emphasis/focal point.

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.


by Anna Terry: fluffy, prickly


by Caroline Fitzwater: confusion


by Elise Sears: mellow, awkward


by Karleigh Harfst: violent, deep, wrinkled


by Mary Katherine Swindoll: noisy, whimsical


by Megan Henry: frustrated, grouchy


by Megan Norman: angry, aggressive


by Ashtyn Carpenter: excited, deep, mighty

Papermaking with Anya

Anya is a sweet friend of my neighbors. She spent a few hours with me a couple mornings during the summer to learn how to make paper. We had a great time together! Here are some photos from the session. She loved making paper! (Isn’t she just adorable?! And she’s just as sweet, too.)


Design I // Stop Motion Animation Final

For my Spring 2016 Design I class, I decided to do something different for their final project to focus on time and motion. When I was a graduate student and instructor of record at Louisiana Tech University, my Basic Design class produced stop motion animation films for their final project. With technology speeding ahead these days, I thought it was time to bring this project to Mississippi State University.

Students had to produce a one-minute stop motion animation consisting of photography and sound. Creativity wise, the sky was the limit! The best video-editing software available to them were Apple iMovie and Windows Movie Maker. The more frames per second that were compiled, the smoother the video appeared. To put this into perspective, the Wallace & Gromit 30-minute shorts were shot close to 20 frames per second, adding up to be around 35,000 shots per video. That’s a bit extreme for my students, so they were encouraged to place at least two frames per second. We also watched short films by Disney and Tim Burton, and the hilarious YouTube classic “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On“.

It was a challenge for students to work on an art project of this scale, especially if they were new to video-editing software. However, they were very proud of themselves for figuring out such a feat. We had a lot of fun in both sections eating snacks and watching everyone’s videos, and celebrating the end of another school year!

Below are some examples of what was submitted. So turn up your audio and be entertained by these one-minute shorts!

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.

Mimi Sheppard




Jeremy Hamilton, "Brains"


Emory Endicott


Malik Henley


Mary Hannah Ruff, "Words"


Anna Katherine Surholt


Gabrielle Martinez


Elizabeth Costa


Kyle Murphy


Olivia Williams

Design I // Space & Perspective Final

For Fall 2015 Design I’s sixth and final project, we focused on value. Students drew a complex shape incorporating only 90° angles, and had to turn it into a 3D form, rotating and moving it through space using acrylic paint. For tough angles that were harder to imagine, they downloaded apps such as Think 3D and SketchUp, or built their shape the old-fashioned way with Legos and turned the shape in hand. They implemented the one-point perspective system of drawing to exaggerate their forms at particular angles. It is a mind-boggling assignment, and challenges students to think beyond what they have done on a flat surface. As always, craftsmanship is important and the image must include a full range of grey scale values.

Below are some of the pieces that were submitted. All have aspects to be improved upon for their portfolio, but overall I was very pleased with their results!

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.


by Annie Kesler


by Christine Smith


by Hannah McCain


by Jessi Holloway


by Kaitlynn Harness


by Wrenn Parrish


by Zynettra Woodard

Previous Older Entries