Workshop 3, Day 6, 7 – Preparing and Presenting

Mother and Child - Photo by Werner Monterosso

We missed posting yesterday, and thought it best to make the last post from workshop 3 feature some of the best work from the students in this workshop. The photo above was taken during our excursion day on Wednesday when two students paired up with 1 mentor for a cross cultural experience and photo scavenger hunt. One of the photos on the list was mother and child. Werner managed to capture this poignant moment during the event.

Last night the kids chose to stay up late working on their poster designs in preparation for this afternoons’ presentation to their client, Hospitalito Atitlan. We reviewed the work in the morning and had a few hours to relax and sight see before the presentation at 3:00. When the client arrived the kids were rehearsed and ready. They made a professional presentation using PowerPoint and a digital projector. It came off smooth and polished. So much so that the client was quite taken aback. They told us that the work far exceeded their expectations. Below is a three part series designed by Ana Yax. Several other designs were presented by this one was chosen by the students as the best solution for the client.

To cap things off, here are a couple of reflective comments from students in answer to the question “what would you do differently if this was your job in real life.”

If I was a project manager in real life I’d try to be a little more understanding of the designers, that they all have different levels, styles, and ways of designing. And I would see if the were not doing the job well, I would help them. I really liked going out with the professional photographers because I learned a lot more. I also liked doing the food photography because I’ve never done that before.

I realize I don’t really like the job of writer because it’s not really my type of work. I’d rather do more of the project management work, and help others where I can without it being dependent on me. In the screen-printing workshop I worked with a partner and discovered that you can get a lot done that way. You can make your design simple and effective by drawing upon the inspiration of others.


Workshop 3, Day 5 – More Classes and Project Work

Sam and Camilo

Sam and Camilo Screen Printing

Today we split the group in two for the morning. Half had classes in screen printing, the other half studied basic camera work and post-processing with Adobe Lightroom software. In the afternoon we all met together and resumed work on the client project, stimulated by the knowledge gained in the morning classes. Below are comments from three of the students.

Camilo pulls a print.Deysi
Today I learned a lot of different things. To experiment with the camera, which is new to me and I will be able to experiment more later on my own. I learned a lot about Adobe Lightroom including how to make a slideshow. I really like Lightroom because it is easy to use and very useful. Also working within my group this afternoon I learned a lot about my fellow students, and came to really admire them. I’ve learned a lot about my own work from them.

I feel like I am learning so much and improving everyday. I’m losing my fear to jump right in and experiment with Adobe Illustrator. I’m also learning a lot about using the camera, like how to focus better. I love being here and learning.

Screen Print by Werner

Today I learned sooooooo much! For instance I learned the method of screen printing on paper which has better detail than printing on fabric. I’m learning that it is difficult to be the project manager. It’s harder than I ever imagined. At the start of the workshop I thought taking this role would mean that I’d be relaxing a lot. But it’s not like that at all! And it’s especially difficult managing friends.

Workshop 3, Day 4 – Excursion and Fun Day

Today was excursion day. In the morning we all boarded a boat in front of our hotel and traveled across the lake to Panajachel where we played a game that the Fotokids staff had devised. In the afternoon, we visited another town traveling by pickup truck. Upon return some of us stretched screen fabric on frames in preparation for tomorrow’s screen printing workshop.

I like a lot to work with people speaking different languages. It was fun, like a game. Also I liked taking photos as part of the “Amazing Foto Race” game. We can’t always take photos in a fun way. Normally it’s homework.

Portrait of mentor drawn on an egg was one of the items in the scavenger hunt.

It’s been a long time since I did a photo scavenger hunt, but I liked it because it was fun. I liked learning how to build the screen printing frames because it will serve me well in the future. It was difficult to learn but we are all learning together.

I liked going on a boat to Panajachel and play the “Amazing Foto Race” game. We weren’t in our normal groups and had to speak 3 languages between the group. And we had to speak with strangers, including those at the bank. I also liked riding in the pickup truck. That was really cool. And we saw landscapes we hadn’t seen before.

Camilo rides on the front of the boat on the way back from Panajachel.

After returning to Santiago I had the chance to use the sauna this afternoon. When I stepped out I felt like I was 15 again. [ed. Camilo is 18]

Workshop 3, Day 3 – Classes and Project Work

Deysi, Gaby, and Camilo review fellow student's poster concepts.

Day three included morning classes in both design and photography. On the design side we focused on Adobe Illustrator techniques including type handling, making compound masks, using clipping paths to mask photos, editing and creating pattern fills. The photography classes studied aperture, shutter speed, and their relationship to exposure – then followed up with bracketed exposure shooting assignments and exposure adjustment in Adobe Lightroom.

The afternoon session was devoted to developing first-draft creative concepts for the client’s project. A few select drafts are pictured below along student impressions from the day.

My favorite part of today was practicing how to use exposure with the camera. It was really fun and really interesting to see the huge change that can happen with light in one photograph.

Today I learned that I need to pay attention to be able to complete the work I’ve been assigned. I learned about responsibility and also about how I should learn from my errors.
We worked in teams today, and I discovered that working with two people brings more ideas, and working in a group means you can take ideas from others. You need to be very open and accept constructive criticism to be able to better my work.

I really liked today’s classes because I learned how to do a lot of tricks in Illustrator. I especially liked learning how to edit patterns. I loved the Lightroom class because it was so new for me. We had a really productive day with the work for the Hospitalito.

I really liked when we went out to take photos because I learned a lot about the different light sources, it really appealed to me. Through that class I feel I’ve learned a new form of expression and more than that, the teachers are excellent.

I’m really enjoying the role that I’ve been given as project manager. I feel with this responsibility I’m learning about myself and also about my classmates. Something else I like is working in groups, I feel that with this we have more communication amongst our classmates.

Workshop 3, Day 2 – Meet the Client, Begin Creative

Deysi and Josefa enjoy a laugh while working on their preliminary design concepts.

All week as we conduct the 3rd D4K workshop we’re taking a little time at the end of the day to poll the kids on their impressions of what they are getting from their experience. Below are Ana, Werner, and Camilo’s comments from today.

Today we went to visit the client and now I realize that we have more real responsibility. In addition to learning new ideas, I enjoyed looking at the many examples of great poster design that our teacher showed.

For me it was a very educational day, and we got a chance to talk to the client. In addition we got to know what they wanted. I like having professional contacts and new experiences.

Camilo, Sam, and Werner enjoy the garden as they sketch out their design concepts.

Well for me it’s my second experience, and I’m really happy to be here again in the design project, and I hope to learn a little more.

Workshop 3 Day 1

Photo of Students

Students meet on the lawn to prepare for their client interview. Photo by Stu Estler

Today we gathered together, students from Guatemala City, Honduras, and Santiago Atitlan, and began getting to know each other through a little game. The volunteers presented examples of their work so the kids knew where they were coming from. Then we introduced the project – a small local hospital wanting to produce a diabetes health campaign. The format of every Design4Kids workshop begins with meeting a client and learning what their communication needs are, and ends with presenting a design solution on the last day of the workshop. In between we develop creative ideas and produce the artwork. The best part about it is that the kids do all the work!

We finished the day writing up the questions for the clients and if we hadn’t have stopped them, they would have kept working for hours. Below are the kids impressions from the first day of the workshop.

It’s great because we’re learning to work together as teams with kids from Guatemala City along with kids from Santiago Atitlán and to work with real clients.

Its great because, especially coming from the city, we don’t normally get to have the kind of specialized expertise that we get in these workshops.

It’s a great opportunity not only to learn tricks and techniques but to work with new people not always from the same group. As human beings we’re not always going to work with the same people in life so it’s good to learn to work together.

Besides learning the graphic design skills, we are learning about a disease that could affect us. Many of us have relatives who have diabetes but we don’t know how it affects them.

I’m new to Fotokids so for me I’m happy for the opportunity to learn what graphic design is, how to inspire others with it, and how to practice it.

I’ve had the privilege to be in all three Design4Kids workshops, and have learned a lot. In the start I knew nothing. I’m not saying that I know everything, but I now know a little bit about a lot of things. To me it’s a great to see how you can use graphic design to help other people, like what we’re doing now, helping people to take better care of their health.

Meet Nancy McGirr – Inspiration Behind Design4Kids

Portrait of Nancy McGirr

Nancy McGirr with several of the Santiago Fotokids.

On the eve of the 3rd Design4Kids workshop, and after a week of running bio’s of the volunteers and founder, it seems fitting to feature the woman who inspired, and enables the work we do.

Photographer, journalist, educator, and for much of the 1980s, war correspondent, Nancy McGirr is no stranger to anguish. Covering the conflicts in Central America for the Reuters news agency, she saw her fair share of suffering. Going from barrio to barrio to tell the unfolding drama of conflict, she often noticed deplorable conditions and “thought someone needs to do something about that.”

Then in the early 1990s she was in Guatemala covering a different kind of war. Aware that the Guatemala City dump was home to an entire community of people who subsisted entirely off what they could gather there and decided to do a story and bring the situation into the light. Working on her story she met many of the deeply impoverished residents. And naturally she met their children. It was heartbreaking to see the conditions these kids faced. Born into generations of extreme poverty, their opportunities looked bleak.

With the encouragement of local nuns Nancy decided to teach these kids something that she herself knew very well, photography. By putting cameras in their hands and teaching them how to use them, she gave them a different way of seeing, and a way of expressing what they saw. And they saw a lot, relatives sniffing glue, rooms torn up after a drunken rampage. Without exposure to television or other media they shot without preconceived notions, or self censorship. Their raw and powerful work soon won the group recognition. Their photography began to be shown in international exhibits, and a book was published entitled “Out of the Dump.”

Photo of Nancy Working

Nancy working during D4K2

What began in 1991 as a 6 month photo project is still thriving 18 years later. Hundreds of very poor kids have been profoundly affected by their involvement with Nancy’s group now known as Fotokids. Many of the kids from the original group have now graduated from college and now volunteer teaching the younger ones.

Learn much more about Fotokids by visiting their website or by watching this terrific 17 minute documentary video..

Ed. Note: Beginning Monday December 7th, we will be blogging student content once-a-day, every day during Design4Kids Workshop 3 which runs through Saturday the 13th.