Lesson #1: Exploring Drawing and Painting Tools on a Computer

Part of the unit: Digital Narratives |


Why might artists combine images?
Students will be able to:
combine several images to create a new one
re-arrange a composition
create a digital image using the painting and drawing tools on AppleWorks
write a narrative inspired by dreams or imagination
Students will understand that artists:
choose new ways of using familiar tools and materials
extend knowledge of art media

Computers with AppleWorks and internet access, chart of instructions for using drawing and painting tools in AppleWorks, computer projector and laptop, printer


Equisite Corpse by Man Ray, Miro, Tanguy, and Morise;  Night Garden by Janet Wong; www.google.com images;, www.metmuseum.org


Students will view a projected image of an "equisite corpse" by Man Ray, Max Morise, Yves Tanguy and Joan Miro (1926). 

  • What do you see?  Of what does this remind you?
  • Why do you think this would be fun to make?

Explain that this image was made by more than one artist. Ask for suggestions as to how it might have been made before explaining the process (one artist drew someting, folded the paper over, passed it to a friend who added to the drawing; the paper was folded again and passed to another friend until the paper was full)

  • Why might a contemporary artist prefer to use a computer to make art like this rather than drawing it by hand the way these artists did 80 years ago?

Explain that students will be learning to use a computer program to make an image that is a combination of many different images.


The teacher will review the drawing and painting tools in AppleWorks and demonstrate how to use Google to search for an image, save it, import it into AppleWorks, and move and crop it within the digital canvas.  The teacher should ask questions such as:

  • What tool should we use to draw?
  • How can we change the thickness of the brush or pencil?
  • How can the color of the line be changed?
  • How can a shape be filled with a color?
  • How can we keep the color from leaking out of a shape?
  • How can we copy and paste an image from the internet?  How can we resize the image?
  • How can we correct a mistake?

The teacher should demonstrate each of the skills as they are discussed. During the demonstration, he/she should demonstrate how to hide a part of the image by scrolling up so that another student could add to it before seeing the section that has been done. 

Students will work with a partner to use the painting and drawing tools to create an image by importing, cropping, re-sizing and moving the images to create a composite.  Each student in the pair should take turns drawing or importing a part of an image.  The partners should print out their finished image. 

Display finished digital images. 

Ask students:

  • What were some of the challenges you faced?
  • How was this experience different from drawing directly on paper?
  • What were some surprising discoveries?


The classroom teacher should have read aloud one poem from Janet Wong's Night Garden, shown the students the acccompanying illustration by Julie Paschkis, and discussed the relationship between text and image.  Using Janet Wong's Night Garden as an inspiration, and with the assistance of the classroom teacher, student will write a narrative inspired by a dream or imagination.