We were Drawing with Code at Artisan’s Asylum

DATE:  May 11, 2017     CATEGORIES:  Blog, Classes, Current Classes, Education

By Irina Uk

This post was originally published on Blended World’s blog. Republished with permission. The next Drawing with Code class is on May 13th.

Students were relaying ideas for their final projects to each other. There was a buzz about colors and patterns. One participant asked, “how can I make the shape stay on the screen after I am no longer clicking?” One student focused on generating a display of colors of various opacities, while another was eagerly learning to navigate the new spatial system in which graphics made with JavaScript live.

I teamed up with Artisan’s Asylum to facilitate creative coding workshops for adults. The April Drawing with Code workshop was a blast! The students were excited to use code and technology to conceptualize their artistic visions. Students worked hard on creating an array of projects, ranging from 2D geometric stills to dynamic, interactive animations such as these beautiful works created by the students in the April workshop.

The Group
It was very exciting for me to introduce adult novice coders to creative coding. I work with a lot of kids, and have seen them fall in love with programming while exploring how coding can be used to create artwork. I was determined to make coding more approachable for novice adult coders and creatives with limited tech experience. I wanted them to enjoy coding and see it as the creative endeavor that it is, in the way that my younger students had come to do. While everyone was new to programming, the group largely consisted of graphic artists, UX designers and art educators. By working with this group, I learned that creative coding courses can have huge benefits on graphic and UX designers trying to understand the mechanics behind how digital visuals are created and art educators looking to introduce more technology into their work.

Drawing with Code students

The Curriculum
The workshop lasted four hours. I was leading the group in learning JavaScript in p5, a visual sketchbook development environment on openprocessing.org. The time was split between two parts, creating stills and creating interactive animations. Students learned to draw 2D shapes, generate colors of specific hues, saturations, brightness and opacities, to make their work dynamic with randomization of object positioning and color and to develop response mechanisms for mouse and keyboard clicks. The entire workshop was hands-on, including demos and explorations. Students eased into creating their own projects by doing small independent exercises after watching demos and remixing several projects that were premade. Every student walked out of the workshop having completed one or two original works, which they programmed from scratch. Take a look at the functions we explored:

Drawing with code agenda

Student’s Impressions
The workshop was a lot of fun for everyone! According to exit survey results, students reported enjoying working with shapes and colors, as well as the small-group learning environment. One student said she enjoyed the, “small class size and attentiveness of instructor.” Another wrote, “I thought the pace was really good. Irina stopped to check and make sure we were all keeping up and answered questions. She taught us things that may have been outside of her original plan if we asked questions or were interested.”

The students also reported being pleased with the amount of time that the workshop took and the time of day that it was scheduled- Saturday late morning and early afternoon. When asked whether they would recommend the workshop to a friend, all the participants replied that they would. One elaborated,

“Absolutely! Very accessible, but also challenging. Great amount of skills that pair well together to enable you to make really cool things!”

Students learning to draw with code

Looking Forward
For future workshops, I’m hoping to individualize the content to more directly meet the needs of participants. For example, I’m looking forward to incorporating lesson ideas for educators, as well as integrate solutions for issues that graphic artists deal with in their daily work. That may include topics such as navigating the coordinate system that digital visuals are produced in or how to use code to produce visuals with text and how to program various text fonts. Moreover, I’m excited to continue sharing coding with a broader audience and how it can be used in a range of fields, especially creative fields.

Think this class sounds awesome? Register for the next session on May 13th!