Creating with Text

Ms. Audrey   November 16, 2015   No Comments on Creating with Text

Oh the possibilities with text!

When I’m working on a project I spend way too much time playing with different fonts.  Trying them out.  Do they portray the right mood?  Fit with my image?  Are they easy to read?  Then if I start changing the direction of the text…..  Well I could spend an awful lot of time not getting much else done.

So continuing our Building Creativity Series, which is based on the idea of Art Journaling, we concentrated on text.  So far we’ve done Work those Creative Muscles, Why Zentangles, and Play with the Unexpected.

I’m really working on pushing them to develop their own ideas before I give them examples.  My intention is not to leave them stranded on an island with no boat but I also don’t want them to look to me like I have all the right answers for their art project.  So by giving them enough time to push past all the easy stuff and dig into their brains a bit for some new ideas I’m working to expand their creativity.

First off I asked them to brainstorm as many different ways to write letters as they could come up with on their own.  Then I showed them some simpler “how-to” examples like bubble or block letters.  Or maybe adding dots to the tips of each letter.  With some more time to practice and get down additional ideas that popped into their heads, I did some more examples.  This time I made tall thin letters really close together and some short fat letters.  I also scribbled the lines to form the letters both vertically and horizontally.

text practice

practice page fonts

practice text

Practice page full

agility text

They came up with lots of great ones on their own and had a lot of fun with it.  One even practiced her different texts into a quote/saying.

text practice saying

This practice has so much value by itself and I could have left it there and worked with pure text but sometimes its fun to play a little.

The Project:

I asked them if they had ever seen Word World where all the characters, like pig or sheep, and all the setting elements, like barn or tree, are made with letters.  Its a little kid show but was often watched by this age group when they were younger.

So I showed an example of how I might take a light outline of a guitar then fill it with bubble letters (like they are pushing to take up the space inside the lines).  Here’s one of their examples.

filling in carrot

Then I can erase the outer lines and what is left is the word in the form of the object.

I asked them to make some thumbnail sketches to work out their ideas.  The idea of a thumbnail sketch is not to draw on your thumb but to brainstorm some ideas and then go with your favorite one.  I ask that they come up with at least 5 but always let them know they can come back to the first one for their final project if they like it best of all.

tumbnails taco

page full apple

This step is so important because the ideas in their heads are not always able to come out of their hands onto their paper.

I showed a few examples of this and some variation on the idea after they had been working awhile.  We could call it “Word Art.”

filling it in jersey

So check out the results.  Aren’t they awesome!









cat and tree



I would love to really venture into text and typography with a future art class…

How about you?  Do you like to play with text?  I’d love more lesson ideas for a future series.

Welcome to my adventures in teaching Art outside of the public school system. I’ll share our projects and challenge myself and you to continually improve. So glad you stopped by!

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