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Five Ways to Get Creative This Summer

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 (Art School)

Our video series, Art School, is all about inspiring our readers to get creative through DIY projects demonstrated by our favorite Bay Area artists. Check out five of our greatest Art School hits and follow along as the artists show you how to use your creativity to its fullest. Afterward, why not hit the town and discover related art venues where you can explore your new favorite medium even further?


The following pairings of crafty videos and local art spaces are fun for all ages, and we want to see what you make and discover. Post photos or videos of your creations, or link to your favorite arty places and tag  #KQEDArtSchool. Share your creative essence with the world, and we’ll re-Tweet, share, etc.

1. Beatbox

Rashidi Omari Bird is a Hip-hop artist and educator who will have you spitting “Boots the Cat” all the way home. Pick up beatboxing in a few short minutes via this video, then start planning your debut performance.

East Bay kids can take classes with Rashidi and other artists at Destiny Arts Center in Oakland. And anyone can get their Hip-hop groove on for a reasonable price at Mission Dance. (Or just make a vine of your latest beatboxing skills and tag us, #KQEDArtSchool.)

2. Animation

Kirsten Lepore’s stop-motion films are innovative and moving. Check out Bottle and Sweet Dreams, and her Art School interview  where she talks about the making of those films. Then check out Lepore’s newest film, Move Mountain, and our how-to video on making your own stop-motion stories. Her set-up is sophisticated, but you can easily animate using a phone camera and apps like iStopMotion, Flipagram, or any video editing software.


Stop-motion is one form of animation, but you can also explore the roots of the most influential hand-drawn, early animation art at the Walt Disney Family Museum. The current exhibition on the legendary Mary Blair, one of Disney’s first female artists, is a solid introduction.

Bonus animation inspiration: We’ve been having fun using Vine and Instagram to make little videos of abstract patterns, inspired by a recent KQED Art School alum, Jodie Mack.

3. Make Paper

You know that beautiful paper that they sell at Flax or Paper Source that’s kind of expensive? Make your own using cotton fiber and a blender! Multimedia artist Meryl Pataky shows you how to make your own speckled, charming handmade paper in this Art School feature. The cotton fiber may look like it’s already in paper form, but the wet blending process and adding sizing is what makes the paper ink-able.

Now, take that paper and go make a book! San Francisco Center for the Book knows what’s up.

4. Draw Comics

Now, take that book and start drawing in it! Q: Can you draw a female ninja? A: Yes! “Super famous cartoonist” Thien Pham will show you how.

After developing your characters, make them tell a story — Pham has some tips on laying out a comic strip. For more cartooning lessons, consult another local artist, Sirron Norris.

Naturally, after getting loose with your markers, you should hit up the Cartoon Art Museum for further inspiration.


Sample some African drum beats with members of the West African Music and Dance Ensemble, and start jamming. Nothing is stopping you — you don’t even need drums as you can make a beat on any surface.

Kwesi Anku teaches African dance at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts in Richmond and classes are open. Bonus: Nearby the EBCPA is the Richmond Art Center where you can check out gallery shows and take art classes.

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