Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Creative Ways to Use Old School Portraits

Here are 4 cool ways to repurpose school pictures from “back in the day.” With today’s embrace of retro images and digital art, you’ve got an interesting combination for creativity.

1. Make Face Collage Art
The more old pictures you have, the better. School yearbooks are great for this purpose. You can also find millions – literally millions – of old school pictures online. Shutterstock is just one of many sources, and it’s got lots of free photos.
These are good projects for kids. Give them sheets of yearbook pages and scissors. Instruct them to cut out just faces or the face and shoulders. Yearbooks are cool because most have lots of pictures of sports teams, dance teams or the band in action.
Think of a theme for the collage – a zoo theme for example, or a Christmas or Hanukah theme.

Next, start gluing faces you’ve just cut out onto large sheets of cardstock. Place them randomly or in an arrangement that will produce the picture you’ve got in mind.
Once there are 8-12 pictures on sheet, then use crayons, markers or paint to develop the theme. Make each face into a zoo creature. If a holiday theme, draw party hats on the portraits and then fill in the scene by drawing in the details.
2. Paint Them to Make Cartoons
You’ll need paint that will stick to the photos. Or, you can photocopy the photos onto card stock. The advantage of doing this is that you can turn one great school portrait into as many copies as you want.
Next, using any color paints you’d like, paint over the portrait using the features it already has. Paint the lips bright red, for example, or cerulean blue if you prefer. Do the same for the eyes, brows, hair, etc. Shade the skin in interesting tones.
This method can produce some really dynamic works of art suitable for framing. Here’s a way to “cartoonize” photos digitally, but doing it by hand is a blast too!
3. Use them in Retro Decorating
Vintage images are quite popular. Find old school pictures – or portraits of any type – from days gone by. You’ll discover from great stuff:
1980s – Big Hair
1970s – Bigger Hair, Mustaches, Freaks
1960s – A Blend of Hippies and 50s Leftovers
1950s – Grease! Enough Said
1940s – Portraits of the “Greatest Generation”
1930s and Before – A Potpourri of Interesting Stuff
4. Put Photoshop to Work
Here’s how this one works. Scan the portraits to digitize them. Then, work with Photoshop or a similar program creatively alter them. Have fun changing faces in lots of ways until you develop styles you really like.
The newly created images can be used in a thousand ways. Consider making a Pinterest page with what you’ve created or adding them to your Facebook page.
Selling your work might be an option too!

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