“It’s what the monster looked like, the different parts of the monster. I use different colors for the different sections, and we’re learning how to create those,” Washington said.
The students in Iosep MacDougall’s Thursday class were learning the basics of Illustrator. As they progress through the program, they add other programs like Photoshop and inDesign to their repertoires, creating projects like posters and brochures.
As part of the Applied Academics Center, the digital arts classes have both high school students who are in the Arts, Audio/Visual Technology, and Communications track and middle schoolers who are trying to decide what kind of jobs they’re interested in pursuing.
“Middle school kids have the opportunity to kind of explore the different areas and they can get a little taste of the different tracks, things like carpentry, small animal care,” MacDougall said. “There are my digital arts courses as well and that’s another opportunity for these middle school students to kind of test the waters. Then by the time they get to high school and they wish to join a particular program, they can kind of move along with that.”
Over two to four years of digital arts courses, the students learn the basics of line art, how to create layers in Adobe programs, photo manipulation and about copyright. MacDougall said the program helps his students get ready to go to college or start a career in whatever field they choose.
“Students do pick up skills from Digital Arts that they’re able to apply to their own portfolios. They’re able to pick up the structures of how to retrieve and place art and all of these skills that have to be taught in order for them to have real world work in the future,” he said. MacDougall also said some of the things his students do later in life may have nothing to do necessarily with digital arts, but some of those basic skills they pick up technology-wise may apply to more clerical work.
MacDougall said he had one student go on to work in an art gallery and that some students do make the big transition to studying graphic design in college. While still on campus, some choose to join the yearbook. “The student I had that ended up working in an art gallery had the ability to look at these paintings and these different images and categorize them, which is something this particular gallery never did in the past, but based on some of the organizational skills they picked up in my class, they were able to apply it,” MacDougall said.
Some students even get the chance to create professional projects while still in school. MacDougall said one student did a logo for an organization and another student created a card for a fundraising event.
“When (the organization) asked for assistance in developing a logo, (the student) needed to know what those steps were,” he said. “They did a draft first, and then five drafts and looked over them, picked one and brought it to me. There’s a lot of back and forth communication that happens. There’s a lot of stuff that happens for freelance and what that process looks like there.”