Here’s a new idea for Inkscape, the Free Software vector graphics program.

Get your high school or middle school students involved in making dot-to-dot creations for the kids back in grades 1-3.

This example, by Frankes, comes from openclipart.org where Frankes uploaded it. All the work at openclipart.org is in the public domain, so it is ready for you and your students to put to use.

connect-dots

In fact, it looks like Frankes remixed another person’s witch image into this larger product. Remixing is encouraged at openclipart.org because sharing is GOOD.

connect-dots1

Halloween is just a little bit ahead of us, but there is certainly still time for you to organize this project. Even if you are slow about it, there is a whole year ahead with lots of graphic-rich holidays to use as your focus. Inkscape is open source software which can be installed at school and at home by you, by your students, by anybody. You don’t need permission to get started. It won’t cost you anything but your own effort.

Please leave a comment here if you do this project and can give links to your students’ work.

Even better, submit the work to openclipart.org where a collection can be organized.

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Release early and often.

There’s always something new going on in my brain. I enjoy experimenting…lifelong learning, I guess. Hence “betty ‘n’ bob.”

I recently came across a simple cartooning idea. Basic characters in a simple comic format. Just add the dialog and…there it is, a cartoon. Thanks to Leo Loikkanen at All Filler, no Killer for the idea and inspiration. He created and released a cartoon template called “American Efficiency” using the CC0 “Creative Commons Zero” license. That makes the template essentially public domain. Anybody can use the template. Just download it to your computer. Print a copy and add your own dialog to make your own cartoon.

cartoon by Leo Loikkanen
Click on the image to see the full-size original.

I’ve been exploring graphic ideas using Inkscape, a free open-source program for drawing vector graphics. I am NOT very artistic, and find that my limited talents are harnessed better by using a vector graphics tool than a freehand sketch/paint program like Krita (both on a GNU/Linux computer). I decided to try out the idea from Leo Loikkanen in Inkscape. Along with a basic template, I created a series of mood-showing characters, one male “Bob” and the other female “Betty.” Here’s my first effort.

cartoon of betty 'n' bob

To make the process of creating a variety of cartoons a bit easier, I put together a page with a few mood images for each character. I’m releasing it as CC-Zero as Leo did his. Perhaps you could use it with students in your school or with your own children. Inkscape is a great tool for all sorts of things.

Inkscape Template 2x of betty ‘n’ bob. Use a right-click and “Save link as…” for all templates. Otherwise the template, an SVG file, may just display on your browser.

In spite of the lack of popular demand, I’ve reworked the design template to be a three-panel design in two formats. One is just like the two panel, just on a rotated page. [Inkscape 3x Template] The other is an expanded template with a first-cut set of cartoon development instructions built into the template. [Inkscape 3x Instructions] Feedback is requested.

Enjoy!

betty'n'bob May 16, 2011

Keeping Busy

I’m good at missing important events. It happens every year. This year, it was National Education and Sharing Day. In 2011, the date was April 15. The day commemorates the work of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Maybe I can be forgiven for missing the date. It is celebrated on 11 Nissan according to the Hebrew calendar which doesn’t coincide with the Gregorian calendar we use in secular America. The date is different each year on the calendar I look at every day.

Nevertheless, I’m celebrating. I’ve made a graphic to encourage sharing beyond one day. One day of sharing isn’t enough, you know.

Right click the graphic to save it to your own computer. Modify it as you see fit. That’s part of the deal, too. It is shared with no restrictions.

It is posted at openclipart.org, too. You can find my graphics on the site by searching for “runeman”. Search for graphics by other key words, too. Holiday graphics are always popular. If you are looking for an easy way to do your own graphics, look at Inkscape which generates images that can be easily resized. Modern browsers like Firefox 4 handle the scalable vector graphics (SVG) easily. Openclipart.org is a repository of graphics for all occasions. Anybody can get an account to post graphics. The graphics are usually original, like mine, but may also be reissues from other public domain sources. By being released directly into the public domain, our shared cultural commons grows with every donation made.

Teachers are always on the lookout for good graphics to use in handouts. Public domain images are perfect. They are freely shared, allowing unlimited reuse. Teachers can confidently put the images onto worksheets and Web pages without any concern for infringing copyright.

Here’s a sample:

Exemplary Sharing

All Filler No Killer