honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

6-Word Stories as model prompts

In a great storyboarding teaching book (Prepare to Board!) Nancy Beiman discusses using headlines as starting points for student drawings. In our first trial last week I used Onion headlines. After initial success with the headlines I told our creative writing instructor about the idea. She volunteered to assign her class to write six-word stories that our class could use for text model prompts. Here are the results of the first six-word story collaboration between Creative Writing and Life Drawing and Gesture, Fall Semester 2009.

Using text model prompts had a stimulating effect on class dynamics and the work produced. Before using model prompts we used to ponder over what story to tell with any given model based on props that the model brought to class. In contrast, using the text prompts seems to relax both students and model who use the words to collaboratively explore the possibilities of the prompt theme for 3-pose sequences. With the prompts everyone is off the hook in terms of overall theme. The challenge shifts from what story to think of to draw to how to interpret a creative existing story. The process of using the text from the other class reflects the real world where the artist animator works with stories in an interactive and interpretive way with a creative team.

  1. Gather prompts that are not too literal for an action.
  2. Give the list to the model to select some that touch a chord and stimulate pose ideas.
  3. Read one selected prompt to the class before each sequence of 3 drawings.
  4. Let the class and the model work out the 3 poses.
  5. Sit back and watch the creativity unfold. Time the poses.
  6. Give extra time to work on thematic elements after the three poses
  7. View the drawings and instead of traditional critique, discuss what techniques worked to interpret the theme and brainstorm other ideas to interpret the theme
  8. Start another sequence of drawings with another prompt

New hairspray sets hair on fire drawing by Jose Nv09 Life Drawing and Gesture Class Art Institute of Austin New hairspray sets hair on fire model prompt Life Drawing and Gesture class NV09
Model prompts New hairspray sets hair on fire and Alleyway hijinx hiding above in the shadows.

While planning the 3-pose sequence for the New hairspray prompt, students had to decide their narrative arc. For example the model could have dunked her head in a bucket as the model suggested and she demonstrated the dunking pose, but students decided that instead she would roast a marshmallow on her flaming hair.

Life Drawing and Gesture India Ink drawings by Ruth and Donald NV09 Blown away by wind life drawing and gesture by Jose NV09 Wind Life Drawing and Gesture Nv09

With the Was blown away by the wind prompt, the challenge was to depict the invisible force of the wind. Students use India ink, pastel, and charcoal to give direction for the wind by smudging, flowing ink wash across the page and raking the soft pastel with their fingers. Students became experimental and bold as they used the extra time to add background, texture, and directional elements for the wind.

Based on the success of the technique I recommend using creative writing model prompts in life drawing classes.

Six-Word Stories for Life Drawing
Sent from Katherine Perry – Creative Writing Instructor

Did I mention I hate you? - Evelyn T
Man has heart attack while racing escalator. - Austin B.
Alleyway hijinx: hiding above in shadows. - Edward M.
Real ninja fight scene in downtown. - Donovan R.
Hero drops cat from a tree. - Justin G.
Tea party ruined by cheese. --Donald C.
Love affairs are bittersweet romances. --Krystal K.
I've been buried in a shoebox. - Huck M.
The art of beauty is ecstatic. --Andee G.
I would not wear that cape. -- Ami C.
Hey, I found your dumpster baby. -- Kaelin W.
Woman saves baby from savage cats. -- Holley P.
Kitty: "Cat food eating contest went wrong." - Cristina P.
Was blown away by the wind. -- Bridgette M.
Man gets covered with gravel cement. - Rachel H.
New hairspray sets hair on fire. -- Vanessa C.
Zombie bananas attack blenders and milk. - Gabby B.
Dogs and cats that play together. -- Charles G.
This just in: everything causes cancer. - Brock A.
Vegas magician mauls two trained tigers. -- Katy K.
Runway disaster: models addicted to cookies. -- Kira D.

I added a few more using the idea of 6-word autobiographies

Gypsy soul always on the move - Kenya
Casually rowing with the current, joyously! – Whorls
I am reflective - reflective am I - DanRWhit
Squeezed out, now slowly back in. - jetlosangeles
She walked in beauty then tripped. --Suzz
An endless chain of unfolded mysteries. -- shethdharmendra
absurd epic comedic intellectual LEGO movies -- fallentomato
First love haunts my every dream -- rallen
A warrior of the last generation – luisneijr
I've always written my own story. – be.arron
I am a most powerful influence. – breakxcore
Always wanted straight hair. Failed miserably. -darleywood
I'm your regular, everyday rising phoenix. -- JennaK
Novels living in me like aliens. – Ckania
Dance like there's no ground beneath -- annevator
Tags: adult learning, life drawing, six-word story, students, teaching, teaching art

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