Kinder machen Kunst mit Medien | children making arts with media
Kinder machen Kunst mit Medien

all projects
central questions
a sequal project
translation by Rett Rossi
german version

Results of the students:
Logbook Kiezcomics
Robert Conev

Technical Procedure: Completion of the Story – Part I
We revised the articles that the students had written during German class. Most of the stories were not yet complete, and had to be improved both content wise and stylistically. That took most of the class. At the end of the double block, several of the students read aloud the stories they had already finished, and received applause from the their classmates. A comic folder was created for each student.

During this first meeting, work with language unintentionally took place in the Art class instead of in German class. The positive feedback from the classmates to the individual stories further motivated many of the children. The contents of the texts were not so much about „neighbourhood“ stories as they were about the experiences of the children (a robbery in a department store, an evening alone at home, an adventurous school trip etc were discussed).

Technical Procedures: Completion of the Stories – Part II
In the first block, all of the stories were finalized.
As homework, during the holidays, the students were to illustrate three situations from the beginning, the middle and the end of their stories.

The children fully entered into their fantasy worlds; two of the children scare themselves while inventing their stories.

Technical Procedures: Translating the Texts into Images
This session was about trying to transform written language into visual and vise versa. In a brief theoretical introduction, the students found out what a “panel” is and what a “comic strip” is.

Afterwards, the children were given a worksheet with three panels from a “Calvin and Hobbes“ comic in which the balloons were empty. Their task was to describe the situation represented in the panels using short sentences, and to fill in the balloons correspondingly. This first part of the block required approximately twenty minutes.

The next step was the reverse, transforming words into images: On three worksheets, the students found twenty-four sentences, which were chosen from various stories. For each sentence there was an empty panel. Their task was to transcribe eight of the described situations into images. The students were occupied by this assignment for the rest of the block.

The characters drawn in this block did not look very lively; instead they were more like stiff wooden dolls without any mimicry or gesture.
The abovementioned assignment, which required concentration, showed that the pupils had clear difficulties with discipline. As a consequence Torsten Braunsdorf forewarned the children, that they would be divided into two groups. This threat ensured that the next double block was for the most part quiet.

Technical Procedures: Gesture and Mimic
The topic for this double block was „Gesture and Mimic“". The goal was to provide the pupils with the artistic means for mimic and gesture in comics, both theoretically and practically. Two worksheets were used for this. The first worksheet dealt with “mimic”: The same character was depicted in five different panels, but in each case with different facial expressions. The pupils were to determine the emotion represented in each panel and describe which mimic characteristics constituted a specific emotion.
A second worksheet showed eight panels from a Mickey Mouse comic and a Wilhelm Busch picture book. The children were to pay attention to the body language of the heroes and from that determine the situation being represented. This applied also to the amount of gesture information, which was simultaneously displayed in a picture (the characters went, waved and laughed all at the same time).

The students required about half an hour for both of the worksheets.

In the end, on a third sheet which had three empty panels, the students were to present a revised version of their homework from April 4th. In their pictures they were to pay more attention to gesture and mimic in the representation of their characters.
As homework, the children were to illustrate eight situations from their stories on a worksheet with empty panels. In doing so they were to pay attention to the body language and facial expressions of their characters.

The pictures drawn in this hour were clearly more comic-like and lively. The pupils deviated from their previous „stiff-wooden doll“ drawing style. The concentration of the children during this double block was very high.

Technical Procedures: Completion of the Comic Illustrations – Part I
This block was to be about slowly finishing the drawing of the comic. In order to do so, four hours were available on this Friday, as the double block, which had been cancelled on April 14th, was to be made up for.
In preparation during German class, the students had structured the content of their texts using coloured markings.

Within ten minutes, the children were to explore mimic and gesture once more through small role-plays, and could thus study these right away on the subject. Based on the body language and facial expression of the actor, the rest of the class was to conclude the emotional expression that the actor wanted to represent.
In order to finish drawing the comics there were two different approaches that resulted by chance from the different methods of the teacher and artist, and that were not discussed beforehand. It was also by chance, which of the children the teacher or artist worked with:

Torsten Braunsdorf’s method was to cut out the panels that had already been drawn on the worksheets, and in their homework and to organize them in the right order. In doing so, the students, in small groups worked out „gaps“, i.e. parts of their stories, which were not yet illustrated. They used the remaining time then, to draw the rest of these pictures.

The second approach was more individual in nature and applied to only five or six students. One of the three situations that the students had already drawn was chosen. This one situation was temporally split into a number of individual panels. How it got to this situation or how it further developed from this situation was then to be told meticulously through images. The students were once more made aware of techniques such as changing narrative perspectives and differing takes (wide-shots or close-ups) and a plausible, varied narrative structure. They then tried to bring these into newly drawn picture sequences. As a template for this the children received worksheets with empty panels.

In both approaches comic books were distributed, from which the students could draw inspiration.

The second method was suitable only for students who were confident drawers. Students who were weaker at drawing would have become overwhelmed with it; they needed a slower approach like that which the first method enabled.

The students at first worked together more intensely in these blocks. One student who found drawing difficult, but who had thought up an especially well crafted story was supported by a student from a higher grade, who could draw comics especially well, and who was thus temporarily pulled into the project. The first completed comic was a result of this productive collaboration. The student who was helped out here, was to later act as „guest director“ for a few classmates, whose stories were less exciting.

Technical Procedures: Completion of the Comic Illustrations – Part II
These blocks were preceded by a four and a half hour preparatory session, in which together with Torsten all of the pupils’ work were viewed and the breaks in the flow of the stories’ narrative were detected. Together he and I filled these gaps with variations in content and suggested them to the students during this block.

Furthermore, we had a visit from Nanna Lüth, the accompanying researcher from the KuBiM Project.

In this block the class was separated into an „analogue“ and a „digital“ group i.e. only a part of the class received the ten laptops, the others were to complete the comics with coloured pencils under the guidance of another teaching staff. From that point on, Torsten Braunsdorf and I worked only with ten students. From this point on I do not take the other pupils into consideration within this logbook.

The students in the „digital“ finished the drawings using pencil and pasted them together on three 21x 31cm sheets of paper. Our suggestions regarding content were implemented by the students into the drawings as they did so. In addition, the class teacher also supported us.

Through the separation of the class, a note of discord developed in the group, which was not to work with the I-Books. This was also due to the fact that we did not make known our methods for choosing the students.

The collaboration between the students already functioned very well. For example Emrah worked together with Burak Ü. Burak really benefited from Emrah’s impulses. Four students were absent, thus they had to finish drawing their stories on a separate day.

The division of the class lead to a difference of opinions with the accompanying researcher who criticized the separation.

1.6.2004 Worksheet Transparent

Technical Procedures: Transferring the Drawings to Transparent Paper
The children received a worksheet that laid out the steps for transferring the pencil drawings to transparent paper. This was necessary in order to achieve a better result when scanning the drawings in for the later editing of them on the computer.
Characters in the foreground should be drawn with thick lines, and characters in the background should be drawn with thin lines. Before this the pencil drawings were enlarged into a 30X42 cm format using the copy machine, in order to facilitate the children’s work. Most importantly the children were to develop the mimic characteristics in their drawings more finely.

Some of the students did not need to transfer their pencil drawings to transparent paper, as they already exhibited a clear use of form. Most notabley Berra, who had the special assignment to complete drawing the story from Burak, who was overwhelmed by this task, belonged to this group of students. Together they thought about the continued

Technical Procedures: Introduction to dealing with the I-Book

In order to give the pupils the feeling that they were working on their „own“ laptop, each of the devices were supplied with nametags. The focus at the beginning was familiarizing the children with the new technology: Through the use of a data projector, the students were shown everything that they could in the end try out on their own device, such as how to open and close programs. Each student had set-up a folder and labelled it with their first and last name. After creating the folder, the children started the Photoshop Elements program. Via the data projector two chosen work tools from the extensive program were then introduced: the paintbrush (including how to change the thickness of it) and the colour selector tool (independent setting of the colour value). The children were then supposed to „paint“ a picture on their own laptop by means of different colours and strengths of paintbrushes. This was to then be saved in the folder, which they had previously created.

Although none of the children were familiar with the “Photoshop Elements” program, it was amazingly easy for the students to deal with the computers, and manage the exercises that were requested of them. An advantage was surely that all of them had rudimentary experiences with computers. There participation was marked with the joy of discovery. Everything that they newly found they immediately shared with the adults.

Technical Procedures: Colouring in the Image Background

In preparation for this session I scanned in all of the students work over an eight-hour period, and added in a layer to each of them with the outlines of the drawing, so that the students could star their assignment right away. I placed these prefabricated files in the corresponding students personal folders. The task now was to use the “Photoshop Elements” tools introduced in the previous block i.e. the paintbrush and colour selector to paint in the background. Furthermore, the students became familiar with the “enlargement” and “move” tools. In the end the files were saved again.

Two of the students, Berra and Burak had already voluntarily worked for two hours at the computer before the start of the class, and thus worked for a total of four hours. They were not fatigued, which indicates that working with technology was a lot of fun for them and was not difficult. Thus, after they were finished before their classmates, they helped the others with their work. Their help was necessary as a girl, Isra, was not their for the introduction during the previous blocks. During this session I went from computer to computer and tried to solve individual problems. It was noticeable that the students had already grasped the technical procedures very well; difficulties arose in other areas e.g. power failures or error messages when saving files.

Technical Procedures: Colouring in the Image Background 2

At the beginning of this session, via the data projector, I explained the tools that I had presented the last time, and introduced new ones.
Afterwards the students continued to work on the backgrounds.

The pupils understood the functions of the tools quite well and made a lot of headway during this block. All of the students let their creativity run freely and created quick, distinct results.

Recommencing with the Computers

This session was the first one after an eight-week break.
In today’s block we continued to work on the background.
Four students completed this work.


To begin with, the students had the task of recalling the functions of the computer and the image editing software. In doing so there were problems, unproductive phases, and technical questions, whose solutions I approached separately and individually. The students could then quickly remember again and in the next hour already worked for the most part independently. The children also helped each other.

Day of Reflection
We worked today without the computers.

In the first part of the hour we considered and discussed the printed out interim results. The children saw the comics for the first time in a printed format. Only the “digital” group took part.

In the second part, together with the „analogue“ group we compared the analog and digital results with commentaries from the students with regards to colour, drawing, image sequence and the particularities. The commentaries were exclusively positive in nature.

After the block, there was a theoretical evaluation with the accompanying researcher Nanna Lüth, the teacher Torsten Braunsdorf and I.

In the second part, together with the „analogue“ group we compared the analog and digital results with commentaries from the students with regards to colour, drawing, image sequence and the particularities. The commentaries were exclusively positive in nature.

After the block, there was a theoretical evaluation with the accompanying researcher Nanna Lüth, the teacher Torsten Braunsdorf and I.

Working on the Foreground

In the meantime the computers were used by another school and were brought back again.

Unfortunately a few settings were changed on them, and folders had been deleted (nevertheless I had made a back-up copy beforehand), so that only five of the students were able to work. This small chaos negatively affected the concentration of the students.

Two groups were formed. One was to work on the documentation wall for the stairway; the other was to continue working on the foreground of their comics.
The documentation group, lead by Torsten, had recorded the reflections about the process up until now, formulated headings and written them on a sign (at the same time regulating the spelling).

The second group, which I was leading, worked on the foreground of their comics. I continued to solve the students’ individual problems and questions. For the most part there were technical questions about how to use the colour selector more quickly etc. The students were very adept, and could in the rule, immediately implement tips and hints.

Asli and Adelina were wound-up and over-enthusiastic. Their brief phases of concentration were interrupted again and again. Thus, right up until the end they were quite behind in their work, and I had to sit beside them. Without this extra attention they did not want to or could not work.

Many of the students often came to a standstill with their work. I tried to help them find a rhythm in their work, to structure it and to keep it flowing.

We reached the low of the day. The work results were meagre. Therefore, Torsten and I made a tightly structured work plan with two project days, for the next blocks.

First Project Day: Characters and Objects in the Foreground 8.00 a.m. to 1 p.m
A rule was introduced for both project days, which was to promote the cooperation between students and to involve them more strongly in the project as individuals who had competences. The rule was to first ask their partner, and only when she/he did not know, to also ask me.

Furthermore, a new seating plan was determined, which abolished the gender separation and constructed partners/mentors.

With regards to the “mentorships”, students who were clearly far behind in their work results were paired with students who were particularly far advanced with their results. The latter students looked after the weaker students, in addition to their other work.

In the case of the “partnerships”, the students could not build their own; instead determined by us. The new neighbours also gave many students a new perspective to their own work. Moreover, the students were to first try and help each other with problems that arose, before they went to me. This functioned amazingly well, compared to the previous hours there were clearly fewer students who put up their hands.

One particular student, very quickly made progress, and then helped a number of students.

In preparation for these hours I produced a printed flowchart. From this the students could read step-by-step directions. The goal was to paint the foreground of one page per forty-five minute block.

Furthermore, there was an instructional discussion regarding the question „Which characteristics could a character have?“ The children had a lot of ideas such as „yellow teeth”, “freckles” etc…

Torsten had supplied fruit and drinks for the day.

During the second half of the day, three to four children became fidgety and couldn’t properly concentrate on the computer work anymore. Torsten took them with him, and continued the work on the documentation board.

Second Project Day: Balloons and Text
9.00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

On the second project day, it continued with the insertion of balloons and in the second half with the insertion of the texts in them. Because the partnerships had functioned so well on the previous day, this system was adopted also for this day.
The students had previous knowledge about text work-up because they had already had a course about it in the fifth grade. They therefore progressed amazingly quickly with this work step. There were hardly any requests.

Completion of the Comics

In preparation for this session, I had looked at the all of the comics for each of the students and composed a list of what was not completed for each of them. The students then worked on completing their texts, as well as on the foregrounds and backgrounds.

It was striking that at this point two students were already finished, whereas half of the groups still had a lot to do. The two students, who were already finished, were noticeable in the previous blocks, due to their extreme concentration. This was an advantage that they had over classmates who had the same level of knowledge in working with computers.

Furthermore, some of the children were further along than others, due to the differing lengths of the comics; some had only two pages to design while others had four. There were four two-paged, two three-paged, and four four-paged comics. Naturally the shorter comics were also finished rather sooner.

Nevertheless, Hacer who had a two-page comic, worked with such concentration that due to her preciseness and accuracy she worked the entire remaining part of the day on her comic.

We had to move into another room for these blocks, and this created a log of ruckus.
All of the students did finish their comics, but it was for all of them a tour de force, many of them were very tired at the end of it. Working that long is actually not recommendable for the children.

Concluding Presentation

Today, both of the groups presented their finished results.

To start with there was cola, chips and cakes for the comic illustrators in the assembly hall.

Afterwards, the digital comics were projected via a data projector onto a screen. Using a laptop connected to the projector the individual students presented their stories in point form. They also told about the difficult and positive aspects of using an I-Book for the designing of the comics, during the project.

Unfortunately the quality of the data projection was poor and due to the difficulties in looking at it, the children became restless after a time. They were generally very interested in both the stories of the others, as well as the graphical implementation.
Following that the analogue group presented their three comics, which were attached to a flipchart. The relation between the two groups had evened out during the time. Although in the beginning a few of the children reacted with a lack of understanding with regards to not being allowed to work on the computer and therefore were occasionally made fun of by the other group of children, in the end it was not so. On the one hand, this was due to the fact that the students in the analogue group also had appealing day trips in their program, which the students in the computer group did not have, and which were occasionally noticed with envy by them. On the other hand the teaching staff also endeavoured to make it clear to the children that they did not want to hear any bragging comments such as „I’m better than you.“ In general though it is naturally quite difficult to undertake such a separation, and to explain it to the children. It would be desirable to have computer workstations available for all of the children.

Afterwards, there was a discussion with Nanna and Torsten. It concerned questions about the content, such as the relation of the individual stories to the theme, the representation from borders and crossings, and about practical things such as the printing costs and the aspired publication in a Berlin newspaper.

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