Category Archives: Ya Big Showoff!

Kylo Wrong




With the new Star Wars film ‘The Last Jedi’ coming soon and lots of speculation about what happened to Kylo Ren’s helmet and if it will look any different. I thought I’d show you my interpretation of what I’d like his new helmet to look like. I combined Ren’s head piece with the melted mouth section of Darth Vader’s helmet. The drawing was created on paper with a sketch, then photographed and tidied up in Adobe Ideas on the iPad.

Holey Moley


I created an exemplar for my S1’s Fanelli/mental health unit. It focused on the idea of taking something bad and turning it into a good thing. Quite a hard concept for S1 pupils to digest, though I think it opened up the ideas for them to be able to conceive their own work. We discussed looks and how their lives were much more focused on image and status through social profiles and networking. We also discussed how bad moments can linger and stay with us, but if you create an artwork about it, it can sometimes help deal with the situation.

My example was focused on my obsession with being too moley. I explained that I hated my skin for being too moley, but that I also love the cosmos. I explained that one day I was looking at my moles and hating them, then spotted that some of them looked exactly like the Big Dipper and other constellations. When I discovered this, I wasn’t upset about my moles anymore.

Art can be an outlet to help us deal with tragic, stressful or embarrassing times in our life. It can help us see the beauty in all moments and things by addressing them with skill and visual beauty.

This unit and exemplar were extremely successful and helped my pupils not only deal with such a moment themselves, but also let them create a beautiful, skilful piece of art. If you are a teacher, it’s worth purchasing a Fanelli book, some pattern and graph paper and giving it a go yourself.

Dazzling Daffies



The astonishing drawing above was created by my friend and colleague, Val Hamilton. She is the Principal Teacher of Art & Design at Oban High School. It was created in the app ProCreate, on an iPad. Val took a photo of some daffodils, imported it into ProCreate, then used the tools available such as smudge, fill, paintbrush and eraser to manipulate and create the detailed and interesting image above. I really like how the image slowly becomes more painterly as your eyes browse across the work, we are forced to look around the work, deciding if the image is a photograph or not, trying to figure out if the image is real or created. Well, it’s both, a sum greater than each of its parts. If you have an iPad, try it out yourself and email me the result.

‘And In The End… I Did It Manray!’

I’m currently teaching Intermediate Photography with a mixture of S5 and S6 pupils. A good starting place is to look at the work of Manray and try to put his ethos into your own photograph. Pupils looked at the way he objectifies parts of the body, often making them look like a still life and how he composes multiple photographs together into a single image. They then have to compose their own Manray image. The image above was my exemplar, taken of my friend and colleague, Miss McInnes (OLSP, PT). It was created by taking a shot of the stool on it’s own, then taking a shot with Miss McInnes and photoshopping the  images together to form a surreal composite.

It Figures…

My friend and colleague, Miss McInnes (OLSP) has sketched this little masterpiece below. We are putting together examples of units for the new National 4 and 5 qualifications. Miss McInnes is working on a figurative unit to show pupils how they would tackle the two sheets and ‘added value’ final piece on that theme. This is a great piece of observation pencil work, it has taken her a few hours to get this far, though it’s definitely worth it.