Children explored different art techniques and tools as they “transformed their doodles” into stickers, bookmarks, placemats and larger-than-life replicas at the Acadiana Center for the Arts this week.
AcA kicked off its summer camp sessions with “Transform Your Doodles” for campers ages 6-12. While learning to bring their drawings to life, they also worked on critical thinking skills, collaboration and problem-solving.
The group started Monday with a blank page, drawing circles and turning them into donuts, faces and whatever they wanted. After the brainstorming doodle session, they took a photo of the drawing with an iPad and used a free digital art program called Fresco to color it with their fingers. By Friday they had turned their drawing into a sticker.
“Some were really different from what they started with,” said Bree Sargent, education director at AcA.
That illustrated a lesson Sargent and camp leaders taught throughout the week — that art is a process.
“Kids are always on to the next thing,” Sargent said. “We’re urging them to think deeper and think more critically. In their sketchbooks they are asked to constantly go back to their design. It forces them into that deeper process.”
Teaching artist Hannah Gumbo led the class in an exercise in which they drew their five favorite things in an enlarged style and then overlapped them. It gave their final product, a painting on cardboard, a distorted effect, reminding the young artists that art doesn’t have to be perfect.
“People think if that artists wake up and are good at drawing,” she said. “I want them to not be afraid to do something new or weird-looking. I’m trying to get them out of the box.”
They also had the change to experiment with different materials, from sculpting clay to tie-dye and glue, and technology like the iPads and a laminator machine.
The kids also built new relationships while they worked, as many of them didn’t know each other before camp. A group of three boys — Briggs, Oliver and Logan — bonded this week over a love of comic books and decided to make several of their own.
Together they came up with stories and illustrated themselves fighting zombies, compiling the pages into multiple books using staples. They did it all a little each day after they finished their camp projects.
Transform Your Doodles was the first of 10 camps that ACA will hold over eight weeks this summer. Each week comes with its own theme and subject, from art history to theater set design.
Some are more exploratory, like this first one, and others take a deeper dive into a specific technique, like drawing or paper marbling. Most are visual arts camps, but one in July will explore creative movement.
“I didn’t have art classes until high school,” said Gumbo, now a full-time artist based in Eunice. “For me, doing something like this is about giving them the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild and giving them the tools they might not have at home.”
Find more about upcoming art camps at https://acadianacenterforthearts.org/summer-camps.