In the graphic design field, the x-acto knife is integral to trimming and cutting artwork, but it is not an easy tool -- it takes practice. Since this is my first year teaching graphic design, I wanted to find a fun project that not only helped us work with the x-acto, but was also creative, leading to a successful project for students.
The assignment was to carve out a self portrait using cardboard. We first painted the cardboard white in order to achieve a higher contrast between the facial shapes and the background. Students took self portraits on the computer (looking for a high contrast image) and then Photoshopped that image to include only the most basic shapes. From there, students printed out the image (reversed) and transferred it to the cardboard. Then, cutting and carving began! The process worked well for most students, but some students struggled, which is completely OK! How can we learn without failing?
I've included some of the successful pieces below. Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments section.
I teach art at Burlington High School in Burlington, Massachusetts. My goals include teaching my students to live and thrive with 21st century learning skills while helping them to learn valuable creative artistic thinking and technical skill.