Welcome to The Helpful Art Teacher, an interdisciplinary website linking visual arts to math, social studies, science and language arts.

Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

Please click on my page to see my personal artwork and artist statement: http://thehelpfulartteacher.blogspot.com/p/the-art-of-rachel-wintembe.html

Please contact me at thehelpfulartteacher@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cartooning and Animation

Five Caricature Heads by Leonardo Da Vinci 

Print out this worksheet. Cut out all the strips of paper. Tape them together to form two long strips of paper. Cut out all the gray parts of the paper and save all the white parts.
Thread the strips of paper through the slits.

Thread the paper through the slits before drawing the eyes and mouths

Congratulations! You now have all the props you need to create a replacement animation. To learn more about replacement animation click here.

If you have time to get a little more fancy, print out the arms and shirt. Add a cool design to the T-shirt. Add interesting details and tattoos to the arms. Color the face and hair. Better yet, make up your own replacement animation.

 Here is a replacement animation I made a few weeks ago at my mom's house. I was bored so I started doodling and cutting. Then I took photographs of my work with my phone and animated them using an app called 'Animation Creator'

Here are some mouths and eyes you can draw yourself when you create your own cartoons and animations

I have had these last two printable worksheets for years and do not remember where they come from.
Please email me and I will be happy to give the artist credit and post the link to his or her website.

If you are in one of my art classes this semester, please print out and complete the following storyboard worksheet. You will be required to submit a completed storyboard before you will be allowed to use the IPads.

Replacement Animation Project number 2
Here are some responses to this assignment by my seventh grade students:
This seventh grade girl explains that the bully in her picture  is stepping on the victim's head while his little sister
 cries for help. The victim, a boy, has been taught to never hit a girl. He does not know what to do.

This seventh grade boy explains that the correct thing to do when you are being bullied is to leave and tell an adult.

Students deliberately left out the eyes, eyebrows and mouths from their pictures. The original plan was to use replacement animation to create our short public service movies on bullying.  

I ended up using an app on my phone called 'Turbo Scan' to take a black and white digital photograph of this pencil drawing. The student did not have time to outline his picture but Turbo Scan transformed his artwork into a white document with black lines.

We were then able to download the photo from this blog to the Ipad he was using in my classroom. He ultimately opted not to use replacement animation. Instead he drew directly on his picture using the pencil tool in 'animation creator'. He was able duplicate his images multiple times, erase and add details to create this 9 second public service message. 

This was only possible because the student's original artwork was initially transformed into a black and white document with no mid-tones. 

Some final thoughts on caricature and cartooning:
 One of the ways artists learn from each other is by copying. It's okay to copy from the artist's who came before you as long as you use their ideas in a new way.

Caricature by Leonardo Da Vinci
Moe from the Simpsons
by Matt Groening

Printable worksheet,
 Including NJ Standards :

If you would like to see how universal themes exist in cartooning across historical eras and cultures, visit the cartoon library and museum at Ohio State University, by clicking here, and look through their data base.

If you are studying US history, you may be interested in using the data base to look up the political cartoons of Thomas Nast (1840-1902)

Honore Daumier (1808-1879 ) was a French political cartoonist who lived close to the same time as Thomas Nast. Click here to see his artwork.

Now, take a look at this cartoon by contemporary Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat:
 This cartoon shows a Syrian government official drawing a fake smile on the face of a beaten and injured anti-government protester. It shows how the oppressive Syrian government is attempting to silence the voice of the people who want freedom and democracy.

Click here to find out about how Ali Ferzat  was beaten for speaking up against injustice. Ali Ferzat continues to draw his cartoons to this day, but after his beating he was forced to leave his native country. He continues to protest the Syrian government's injustices from London.

 Thomas Nast, Honore Daumier and 
Ali Ferzat are famous, not only because they are talented  artists, but because their artwork makes people think about injustices in society; Injustices people would otherwise have just accepted.

Art has the power to get us to look at ourselves in a new way.
By taking a stand against bullying, 
your artwork has the power to make the world a better place.
Editorial Cartooning: Art Lessons (Gr. 7-12)

Political cartoonists and free speech issues in recent news:

Source: stopwalktalk.org

For more information about what you can do to prevent bullying, visit Lady GaGa's Born This Way Foundation by clicking here.

Hey U.G.L.Y. (Unique Gifted Lovable You) is an organization for teens dedicated to eliminating bullying. Currently they are accepting entries for a video contest, an essay contest and an acronym contest. Click here to find out how you can get involved.

Special thanks to board of education member Kurt Rebovich Jr. for inspiring this art lesson


So far the only type of animation we have discussed is replacement animation. Here are a few other types of animation my students are experimenting with:


My art club students are just putting the finishing touches on their work, as they prepare to use the IPads next week to create stop motion animations:
To illustrate stop motion animation I have selected an unfinished drawing by one of my sixth grade students.

Here is her drawing with all of her characters removed. The background of a stop motion animation remains still throughout the movie. Only the characters move.

Here are a few cut outs of her characters. These are, of course, digital photographs. Her original artwork remains untouched. As a matter of fact, she is still in the process of coloring it with colored pencil.
The one minute animation below had more than 50 different frames. In each frame, the characters move slightly. 

Below are a few frames selected from the beginning, middle and end of the film. 

Animating all the characters and making the pictures tell a story would take many hours. Here is a simplified one minute video animating just a few of the characters from this student's artwork.

In the stop motion animation below, a sixth grade student built a three dimensional set in a cardboard box and created a fish with Crayola Model magic. She also drew and cut out some under water characters, using oil pastels. After photographing each frame she moves the characters just a little bit. Since she made this animation with an IPad, she was unable to use a tripod. Instead, she made sure to line up the corner of her camera frame with the corner of her diorama each time she took a picture. She then had to load the frames one at a time into 'Animation Creator'.

Here is how a flip book animation works:

Flip book animation by a sixth grade girl

If you are interested in  animation and the history of moving images, the best artist to start your Journey of discovery is the photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Click here to explore his pioneering work and inventions.



More ideas:
You can use Animation Creator to do rotoscoping.

Rotoscoping is a sophisticated animation technique
that involves filming live-action then tracing each frame to create a very fluid, lifelike movement.

In the picture above I clicked on tools and selected the icon of the mountains and sun from the drop down menu. This allowed me to add a picture I had on my camera roll. The photograph just happens to be one of a running horse by Eadweard Muybridge. But you can take pictures of your friends instead. Better yet, have your friends roll play a simple story and take multiple photographs as they act out their parts. You could have a friend make funny faces for the camera or take photographs of two friends  arm wrestling.

Next, I added another frame by clicking the + sign over the word 'Add'. I then chose the pencil tool to trace the horse and rider from frame 1. When you are done adding a frame in front of each  photo and tracing each of them, go back and delete all the original photographs so that all that is left of your animation are the line drawings. Many cartoons and advertisements are created this way.Once you have tried rotoscoping, you will start to recognize the effect when you see it on television. The animation below, created by a 7th grade student of mine, is an example of rotoscoping.

I created the video below to walk you through the process of rotoscoping with 'Animation Creator'.


The animations above were made in one or two 45 minute class periods, mostly by 5th and 6th grade students, using IPads and the app 'Animation Creator HD '. The movie is posted in two different formats. The YouTube version will play on mobile devices. The QuickTime version should work where YouTube is blocked by a security firewall.

Below is a compilation of stop motion animations made by my middle school students during art club

We were able to solve the shaky camera issues, when we repeated this project again in 2014, by creating make shift tripods using inexpensive wire modular shelves 
purchased at Target:

Click on the link below to read my review of the iPad App Animation Creator HD in the Spring 2014 issue of Scholastic Administrator Magazine:

Special thanks to my colleague Lindsey Tisch, without whose support this project would not be possible.


  1. This is incredIble! A wonderful lesson!

  2. I am using your chapter on drawing hands and I want you to know how grateful I am to you for your extreme generosity in this Blog.

  3. I want to thank you for your generosity in publishing this Blog. I am about to use your ideas about drawing hands, I was really stumped before finding your blog.

  4. This is such a wonderful and informative sight. I am in my 7th year and all of the projects are getting a little stale. I have been wanting to incorporate A LOT more technology and new media and your blog is going to be such a great resource. Thank you so much.

  5. Hi, My 8 year old son is loving discovering how to do stop gap animation ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXPjxVE3a_g ) and I've been looking for a set of facial features that I can print out for him to cut out and use on various object to 'bring them to life'. Do you know of anywhere I could find an A4 sheet with a range of eyes, noses, mouths etc which he could use for replacement animation?

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