Designing 3D Pendants Using Adobe Draw & Photoshop (Grades 1-2)

For the Grade 1s and 2s, my entry level lesson into the world of 3D was creating pendants that you wear around your neck.

We start of by having a basic discussion to flesh out what they know about the difference between 2D and 3D objects. We talk about each of the three dimensions, and how that it is depth that makes an object 3D.

This is where, admittedly, the project of the lesson is a bit of a cheat. The lesson is more one on design that it is 3D modelling. This lesson asks the student for a 2D drawing, not a 3D object. That 3D part of it, I do myself, which I will explain in a bit.

I used the fact that the students were already familiar with the Adobe Illustrator Draw to get them to come up with a design they thought would look good as a model. They had the choice to design it tracing existing artwork or doing it “freestyle”. The idea is, all they need to do is draw the outline of the object. The rest would get filled in with just a push of the finger. The video below demonstrates:

I explained in my last post about how I got the students to vote for their favourite designs in each class. Even though the winners were the ones to be printed out, I extruded all the designs to be viewed in a 3D space. I’ll go into how I included 3D objects in the student portfolios in a separate post. This process is done using Photoshop. The process is extremely simple, as you will see, but time consuming when you have to do it for just under 200 students! Given that the students work in pairs, that’s 100 models. Next time around, I will only do this for the Grade 1s and think of a different project for the Grade 2s.

See the video below for the process of creating a 2D drawing into a 3D object using Photoshop.

Next time we look at turning the students into sculptors!


Creating iPad Icons Using Adobe Tools

This project takes the idea of redesigning some of the logos of the native Apple apps on an iPad. I explained to the students that I was turning them into mini graphic designer teams. Apple has asked for a fresh look for its own logos.

The project was done in four sessions, even though it was orginally planned for three. Sessions 1 & 2 were the students sketching their logos on the iPad using Adobe Draw. I got them using Adobe Draw rather than Adobe Sketch because I wanted their images to be vectorised pictures which could be scaled up and down without degradation. Also, with Adobe Draw, it’s easy to fill in a closed shape by pressing down inside the shape. These images were saved one at a time into the students Google Drive, ready to be used on a computer.

The next step in the second session was to bring all the images in Illustrator to crop them and resize them all uniformly. I provided them with a template file which contained 20 artboards, all in a grid, for the students to use. They didn’t need to fill in all artboards when exporting out their images.

Once this was done, the fourth and final session was the students placing the images into my iPad mockup InDesign template and labelling them. I even sourced the correct font that Apple uses on it’s iOS devices! Once that was done, their work was saved as a jpg and I cropped the bottom part of since no one got that far.

Below are two videos. The first one explains how I got the students using Illustrator to prepare their images, and the second video details how the students placed the icons into InDesign. At the end, I have some student examples.

The students found this an exciting project to do. It gave them a good appreciation of what it is like to fulfill a brief as a graphic designer. The only real notes I gave them along the way was to make sure it was obvious what app their icon design was for. You don’t want people looking at the icon and having no idea what it’s for – no matter how good it looks.

Here are some examples (apologies for the low res quality).

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Week 4: Drawing and Tracing on the iPad – Colour Theory

This week the younger students learned some drawing skills using an iPad and stylus, whilst the Grade 3-6s learned a little about colour theory and created their own colour themes using Adobe Colour and Adobe Illustrator.


For the Preps, I wanted a simple fun app that would have a variety of easily accessed tools. I found that with an app called DrawingPad. Here is a fun little video that gives you a taste of what it can do!

This activity was a nice mess around for the kids. I didn’t save their work this time around. Next week we’re going to explore the colouring books that come with the iPad to practise our colouring-in skills.


It’s an open secret that I am the art teacher who can’t draw. Not even a bit of it. So, what do when teaching a class on drawing? Why, we trace of course! ¬†Adobe Draw is a fantastic app that allows some more advanced controls than DrawingPad, but also allows images to be imported on an image layer, which can then be made slightly transparent for the students to draw over. You can then save the image with just the drawing layer to get the proper effect. Here’s an instructional video which shows how to do this (note: this is an older version of Draw than what is available now, but it still works practically the same way).

I gave the students some artwork to choose from and had it preloaded on the iPads. Since the grade 1s were doing space, I gave them a rocket to trace. The grade 2s had a choice of a castle, dragon, princess or Pegasus – relating to their unit on Storytelling.

Here are some examples:


The Grade 3-6s were introduced to a bit of colour theory as we explored the Adobe Colour website over at

The site lets students create their own colour themes according to different colour rules. Students were asked to create their themes and then go into Adobe Illustrator and fill squares in to create a colour swatch. I had the file ready to go with the squares. All students needed to do was to fill in the colours, give the theme a name and then put in what colour rule they used for the theme.

If we had individual student licenses (not possible with the current Adobe agreement – plus the kids are under 13) then it would be a simple matter of saving their theme in a library from the website, open up Illustrator, find that library and use it that way. As it was, I needed to get the students to write down on a piece of paper the RGB values for each colour and then use that in the colour picker in Illustrator to fill in the squares. I have a couple of videos below that explain this process.


Here are some examples- one from each year level.

Next week, the Preps will be practising colouring skills, the grades 1 & 2s will be making nature collages, the grades 3 & 4s will be drawing robots using Adobe Illustrator and the grade 5 & 6s will be introduced to Adobe InDesign to create a mock magazine spread.