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  • Writer's pictureVintageDisneyBabe

VintageDisneyBabe: Creative Director

I consider myself a creative director, even if it wouldn’t fall under the umbrella of teaching and education. But I am absolutely a creative director - one of my classroom, and school environment. I want to talk here about my introduction/beginnings of using art in class and being a creative director in the classroom.

Many years ago when I worked for an after school program, which helped lead me to education, I learned about my ability to use my art skills to create enlarged versions of characters. We would put on what we called “Family Night” once a year, and we decorated for it. I was always a good drawer - my skills weren’t really honed as I was very young and had not pursued art in high school or the college I was attending. I was going for job security - art wasn’t very secure in my mind.

For these events, I would draw enlarged characters that would go along with whatever theme we had chosen for the event. I quickly learned that I had a good eye for proportion - I did not need any projectors or tools to enlarge and trace the characters. I easily drew them on butcher paper proportionally and then painted the art. People were generally impressed - I was glad to know I was capable. This was really one of the only ways I continued to create art in my early adulthood - art was never something I just.. did. There was always a reason, otherwise I would use my free time in other ways.

Fast forward to my first year as a full-time teacher, 2013-2014. I had moved to Las Vegas to gain some experience as the districts in Orange County were not hiring new teachers, so I needed to be competitive to have any chance of getting a job. (This strategy did work when I moved home! :))

I was a big hockey lover, and I had wanted to bring some of that with me - there wasn’t an NHL team at the time there. So I decided to infuse my classroom with hockey and Disney, two of my favorite things. Before I met any students, we were all given a hallway bulletin board to welcome our students to our classrooms. I decided on a hockey theme.

For this bulletin board, I drew Wild Wing by hand, and used the size of the bulletin board to create the illusion of a hockey rink with Wild Wing in the center. I then drew a mini hockey jersey, made copies, numbered them, and set them up as if they were about to play a hockey game. I think it is still one of my best ideas! In that moment, I was my creative director self.

As I moved along in my career, eventually moving home and teaching 2nd grade, I began using my classroom door as a means to infuse art into my classroom. With my 2nd graders, I made this Lady and the Tramp Valentine’s Day door - spaghetti, table, and all. I used an actual table cloth and yarn for my spaghetti and it was a big hit!

That same school year, for Open House, I created a Mario Kart door. My school’s big push was the whole “everyone is going to college!” huzzah that educators don’t quite push anymore - understandably. But for the door, I took Mario Kart and made a theme around how my class was “on track” for college. Another huge hit with parents and my administration. The kids colored their own “karts” and then I photographed them holding paper plates as a steering wheel to give the driving effect.

The following year, I was moved to 5th grade. 5th graders are into different things than 2nd graders and at the time, much like now to be honest, Marvel and DC superheroes were big. I didn’t think I could draw anything too realistic (and I proved myself wrong in 2021 but I will share that in a future post) so I created a Lego template and used it to make Lego superheroes for my door. I still have the template!

Later that same school year, I created a Harry Potter themed door for Open House because my class got reaaaaaallly into the books. I themed it around my students being “wizards” and drew Harry as a Funko Pop. I then made a Funko template and had my students create their own versions of a Funko wizard because I wanted them to participate. This was really when I started to get even more into a creative director role - I began having students help create art to finish off the door, and allow them to be proud of their contributions. The only time they do not help is when it is for the beginning of the year and I hadn’t even had the chance to meet them yet.

Below I am going to share more pictures of the “early years” of my classroom doors with some explanations of the strategies and purposes, but not quite as much detail because I could over-explain for days haha. But the point is that I am a creative director. I think we all are to an extent - I have loved having an outlet in art and the opportunity to facilitate the kids being creative and proud of the work they add to the doors. In a future post, I will share my more recent doors/school art which has advanced quite a bit in complexity, detail, and theme. The more recent doors/art I have made deserve a new post with full details.

This Yoshi door was for the start of a school year, so kids did not participate.

This door was created around our school theme of “Make Your Mark” that year. Splatoon is a game utilizing paint to win rounds - literally leaving marks! It was a popular game that year, so it was a fun door to create with my students. I used actual paint to splatter on the door! I purchased different colored felt and had my students each make their own squid character.

Technically, the above was not for a door. It was for my school’s Trunk or Treat event! I drew and colored these Inside Out characters, and then I dressed myself up as the emotion Joy.

This was another of my beginning of year doors. This school year was the one right after the infamous summer of Pokemon Go. I utilized the popularity to create this door and immediately engage my learners.

That’s all for today! Keep your eyes peeled for future posts delving into my art and creativity.


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