Digital Drawing in MHS Fine Arts

This is the second in a series of blog “snapshots” of how Mercy students benefit from using iPad technology (and other tools) throughout the school day.

Our 9th grade Design Foundations class students create compositions using the principles of good design such as filling the frame, creating unity, developing a focal point and balancing the composition, all accomplished with Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is a digital drawing application which is available in both of Mercy’s computers labs. Because I am always looking for ways students can use technology to enhance other mediums, it occurred to me that these designs would make interesting surface embellishment on a slab wall piece students we’re working on in Ceramics 2.

Part of the Ceramics 2 curriculum is surface design. Some people may think that the only way to enhance the surface of a clay piece is with glaze alone. I had planned to have students use a variety of techniques using colored slip to add color and texture to the clay as opposed to glaze. We used Adobe Illustrator to create the stencil by using the text tool and a variety of fonts. Most of the students chose to incorporate their initials to personalize the design. The resulting print was then cut to create a stencil that would mask sections of the background previously embellished with Mishima and Sgraffito. This is what the stencil looks like after the negative space was cut out and masked onto the clay with water.

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After we covered the stencil with colored slip, we removed the paper and cleaned the edges. It was then bisque fired. The bisque piece was removed from the kiln, and finished with clear glaze.


The use of Adobe Illustrator allowed students to manipulate, position, and size the letters and fonts which resulted in a strong design and allowed students to use and reinforce design and technology skills previously learned in their 9th grade Design Foundations technology class.  — Guest Blogger:  Carol Rife, MHS Fine Arts teacher

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