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.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Can you create animations with a Chromebook? Yes, you can!

Is it possible for students  to create original animations using a Chromebook? Yes it is. This article will tell you everything you need to know to get started.

 Since I am an art teacher and concerned with students creating original work, I will not be discussing any app that relies exclusively on canned, pre-made images. While I understand these programs may be useful for language arts and other content area teachers because they encourage visual story telling, it is my firm belief that they have no place in a visual art room at any grade level.

 In an art room it is essential that students create original content from the ground up. The work doesn't have to look like a grown up did it. It's much more important that it be authentically authored by the child at their current developmental skill level. I also only included websites and extensions that are completely free.

Here are some ways that you can use a Chromebook as a powerful tool to create original work. These websites and Google extensions will allow you to upload your drawings and photos, take pictures using a webcam or draw directly in the website to create flip book style animations. All of them are free.

I created the video below to explain how you can use Google Photos to create an animation. In this case, I photographed a series of my drawings using the Turboscan app on my iPhone 7. I created each drawing on tracing paper by tracing the previous picture in the sequence and just changing it slightly. I started out by changing the position of the arms and hands and then the head. I also closed the eyes, changed the expression on the face and made the hair gradually grow longer. Everything else in the image remained the same. Once I had created 12 unique drawings I photographed them and uploaded them into a new album in Google Photos ( https://photos.google.com/ )

The link below leads to the Google Chrome store where you can add a free Chrome extension to your Google account. This extension, Stop Motion Animator, allows you to use the webcam of your chrome book to create stop motion animations. You can create a miniature movie set in a box and use modeling clay or use toys, such as Matchbox cars, Lego blocks, dolls or action figures. You can even make everyday objects appear to move by themselves through a sequential series of images. Anything will work as long as the movements from one photo to the next are gradual.


Below is a link to 'Clap Motion', another Chrome extension that enables you to create stop motion animations. Like Stop Motion Animator it is free and works on a Chromebook or laptop with the computer webcam:


Here is a video I made explaining to students how to make 'Clap Motion' animations on their Chromebooks from home:

The link below leads to a flip book animation website. You can use your mouse or trackpad to draw directly in the app and create and share flip book animations.

The website below allows you to create animated sprites. You have the choice of animating the images they provide or creating your own.


Book creator (link below) is not for animation. It is for creating books. It is another free Chrome extension. I included it here because of its value in enabling students to put together original books and stories. It gives students the option of embedding videos and slide presentations as they put together their ideas. Developing the story telling skills necessary to create and share a digital book is as important to young animators as it is to young book authors, so I decided that Book Creator belongs here:


The Pixlr editor (link below), another Chrome extension, allows you to digitally draw, paint and edit photographs. It's layout is very similar to that of Photoshop. It even has many of the same tools. Selection, layers and the transform tool are all there. Of course, you won't be able to produce high resolution images using the Pixlr editor and many of the tools aren't as flexible or precise as they are in Photoshop. However it's great to use  in classrooms when you don't have access to Photoshop since it will get your students familiar with the layout and most essential tools. 

With Pixlr, a student can photograph a drawing, create a layered file, digitally remove the background, upload another photograph into the background layer (or create a digital painting) and thus, create a new environment for their character. They can then save a series of images. By moving objects and characters in each image before saving, they can create a movement or storytelling sequence. They may then use these images to create an animation using Google photos https://photos.google.com/ ) or an original comic book using book creator ( https://bookcreator.com/book-creator-for-chrome/ )

Here is the Pixlr editor link:

Finally, Scratch is a free online educational program developed by students and faculty at MIT. Scratch is constantly updating and adding new features. Currently you can create animations using the characters  provided or you can create or upload your own. You can upload backgrounds and costumes and make your characters move. Scratch also has features that introduce even very young students to coding. It is completely free,100% educational and 100% safe for kids to use. However, in order to access the site, each student will have to create an individual account and password using a valid email address.


I will continue to add resources and links to this blog post as I come across new software, websites and Chrome extensions. Feel free to share your own favorite sites in the comments.


  1. you can also download flipaclip

  2. Are there any Drawing Animation Chromebook extension softwares you know of?

    1. you can now download krita for free on a chromebook, and you can use it to animate!

    2. you can now download krita for free on a chromebook, and you can use it to animate!


  3. Your article is great, it helps me gain knowledge and my children have the opportunity to learn new skills

  4. can you add sound in clapmotion