In 2011, I received an Arts in Education (AIE) Residency grant from the Allentown Art Museum, to work at a local high school. This program places high-caliber visual, performing, media and literary artists in educational settings for in-depth residencies that engage students and underscore the importance of the arts in education.
It was humbling to be able to facilitate a small group of young,
impressionable minds in the role of artistic mentor and technical adviser. There is a very limited instructor base of career artists available to teach art as a professional path. As an artist with over thirty-five years of experience, I believe it is my personal responsibility to pass my knowledge on to future generations. Initially, I struggled to think of an assignment, then it all made sense after I was assigned 26 students to work with. Serendipitously, I had recently published “Daedal Doodle,” a uniquely illustrated ABC book created after reading 8,000 pages of dictionaries to cull obtuse words and create alliterations and then drew the accompanying pictorial word inventions.
I would teach the book!
Each student was assigned a letter in the dictionary and told to make a list of at least 25 words adjectives and nouns – words they had no prior knowledge of that would lend themselves to visuals. They were then to narrow the list down to two to five words that they would illustrate.
Those students, grades 9-12, plowed into the assignment. While I provided some design and drawing tips, it seemed that most of job was complete by simply introducing the concept. Reading the dictionary for inspiration was a natural for me, I enjoyed reading it for the two and a half years it took to make the illustrations for Daedal Doodle. The kids were responding to the dictionary as if it were a sound bite machine and were imbued with an electric need to share their new word discoveries with each other.
At the same time reading the dictionary teaches to the SAT test, the dictionary as drawing
muse teaches to the imagination.
This curriculum is easily taught. The required tools are a dictionary,
pencil and a pad. The byproduct is the world alphabetized and a doorway to the imagination.
Ladies and gentlemen submitted for your approval, Daedal Doodle 2.0 The Student Version: