Celebrate the Arts in you!

That Perfect Graphic

Finding that perfect piece of clip art graphic can be a time consuming task for anyone pursuing a unique, personal look to their work.  There are numerous image sites that provide free graphics for a variety of situations, e.g., pixabay.  Another alternative is what I am sharing here.

Adobe has put out apps that allow for image capture and simple manipulation to create that perfect piece of clip art, in this case, vector graphics.  Using these two, free apps provide a new perspective to photo taking, learning about the best ways to capture the outlines of your desired shapes.  Once taken, you can use other apps to colorize or 3D-ify them, which I’ll mention later.

Finder Finder, Today at 5.48.02 pm

Adobe Capture

Finder Finder, Today at 5.41.12 pm

Adobe Shape

Both of these apps (available for Apple and Android devices) capture shapes for conversion into vector clip art.  Adobe Shape is solely for this purpose, syncing all creations with your free Adobe account.  This syncs your images for use with any Adobe computer apps you may have, e.g., Adobe Illustrator CC, Adobe Illustrator Draw or Adobe Photoshop CC, however Adobe Capture offers other capabilities for gathering colour schemes, shapes, brushes, and looks.  These features are especially useful if you are wishing to extract colour themes from photos for use within other works.  Brushes take on the shape of your saved vector graphic for adding creative brush drawing within Illustrator and Photoshop documents.

Here is an example:

I want to create a music sheet for students with a musical instrument graphic, a recorder.  Here is the original photo taken after using Adobe Shape.

JPEG image-A1C2164E37C8-1

Here are two examples of taking the graphic into Pages (Mac) with a simple title added:

Recorder Challenge 1This is the same image copied, and flipped horizontally, with a shadow added to it.

Recorder Challenge 2Here is the same image with an added yellow line around/within the recorder from another app for Mac called, Logoist 2.5 (a fantastic app).  The image was enhanced, then copy-pasted back into the original Pages document.

This gives you an idea of how you can use Adobe Shape and Capture ‘on the go’ from your mobile phone to your finished document.  You will never look at small trinkets and unique objects the same way now that they can be captured in these two apps.

Another way I used the apps was to draw an image on paper with pencil.  After following the routines with editing the picture, these apps smooth out your lines making your artwork look even better – I’ve very humble drawing skills, but this helped me realise my thinking.  I could fill the shape with another colour, or add 3D effects to it.

JPEG image-2F33525BF79E-1Download and have fun!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

Recommended music apps October 2015

Interactive English

English On-the-Go!, Digital Storytelling, and Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival Training

I am offering two tutoring courses in learning, refining, and polishing the use of English through a variety of routines, activities, and resources, including mobile technology.  This approach is tailored for each student, blending the goals of the child, parents, and school.  I provide a holistic method to develop the child’s positive self-image and practice meaningful reflection to nurture intrinsic goal setting routines.

Please contact me to set up a free consultation and trial lesson.Shaw English Courses Oct 15Hk Speech Festival Training Oct 15

Meet the Teach

As many fellow educators start a new school year traditionally in August or September, Meet the Teacher Night is a usual practice in many schools.

Here is a novel way to introduce yourself and your students with a variety of useful free apps that are mobile and can be completed from your device anywhere.  Within these apps, you can take photos, modify your appearance (Disney), and use intelligent layout tools to create very impressive products for your website, newsletters, or classroom walls.

This graphic is part of a mini-presentation I will be making at the upcoming TeachMeet with the 21st Century Learning International in Hong Kong on Tuesday, September 8th.

Meet Your Teacher

Tutoring Available

I am pleased to offer my services for all ages.  Please refer to the ad below.

Tutoring Service Marshall Shaw

Isle of Tune

Isle of Tune Island graphic

Isle of Tune, an FREE online app by jim@happylander.co.uk (visit his site here – highly recommended for a unique site experience!) is an introduction to the world of music sequencing in a game-based style.  The iPad version is available from the iTunes Store for a cost of $2.99 US and it comes with many other features not in the free version.

Isle of Tune Mobile

Here is one of the top examples featured on the free online site:

Isle of Tune Beat It Sample

Do a search for Beat It, by Michael Jackson to see it live and in action.

Isle of Tune uses a town construction set where each icon (house, street lamp, trees, plants) play programmable sounds as a car passes by on the user-created street.  This app focuses on pentatonic melody writing and basic quarter and eighth note rhythms, all through graphical means, no traditional notation is needed.

It is icon driven as shown below from the help screens online:

Isle of Tune Firefox, Today at 10.42.48 amIsle of Tune Firefox, Today at 10.43.08 am

To assist the teacher and students with the musical component, I’ve created these help guides that show the pentatonic scale, tones/pitches, drums and other sounds various icons offer.  Each sound must be put into place on the island to be activated when a car passes by it.

Here are my help files:

Isle of Tune Information Sheet 1

Isle of Tune Information Sheet 2

In using this app in class, I’d suggest having students explore a typical pentatonic melody and rhythms, similar to the example below.  If you need a pentatonic resource, I have one here for sale from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

4 bar Pentatonic MelodyBasic Drum Patterns 4 samples

The creators of Isle of Tunes also provides ready loops that are wonderful learning tools, and can be modified.

Isle of Tune Loops

Students can share, save and load previously saved work from the site.

Here is a sample of ‘Beat It’ from the top created maps section with an musical highlighting of areas I would explore with students.

Beat It Isle of Tune Explanation

I would be interested to hear your experiences with this app.  My goal as an educator is for students to have some exploration time to see the work of others, create, and be guided by my curricular goals to build pitch and rhythm awareness.  This blend of game based learning with a curriculum component could help students see and play with music in a different way.  Who knows, this may be the key to what motivates some hesitant learners to push forward in the area of music creation.

The Music of Cinderella


Meet Patrick Doyle, a Scottish film composer born April 6, 1953.  He’s well-known for his other scores, Brave, Thor, Eragon, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  He’s been actively writing over 55 major scores since 1982.


In writing his score and its performance by the 65-piece London Symphony Orchestra, it offers:
•    fanfares and flourishes for the prince
•    magical sounds for the fairy godmother
•    furious chase music for the pumpkin-coach getaway
•    warm, lyrical music for Ella’s special relationship with her birth parents
•    English folksong tradition for a song that becomes another of “Cinderella’s” key themes: “Lavender’s Blue,”
•    choral notes for the transformation of Cinderella’s dress (suggesting “a gift from above,” he says)
•    her isolation in the attic (“an ethereal, melancholy touch”)
•    Cate Blanchett’s wicked stepmother (“a slightly more mysterious, otherworldly sense”)

Each of these themes offer great insight and inspiration (for your students) of how movie music is composed to help convey the deeper and subtle elements of characters, emotions, and backgrounds or environments.  This makes the whole movie experience of story line, video, and sound, an unforgettable experience for many, and part of Disney’s secret to its success.

Here are two of the movie’s many themes (visit YouTube for samples of the full score, or purchase online):

Cinderella’s Theme

Cinderella Theme 1In this strong and moving theme, Mr. Doyle uses the emotion of the octave interval to evoke a sense of strength with the main character, Cinderella.  This is one of the many versions of this theme throughout the score, also heard in the tracks:

  • Pumpkins and Mice
  • Searching the Kingdom
  • Courage and Kindness
  • The Stag

The piccolo trumpet and French Horns add to the regal nature of this theme.  Typically, this type of theme fills the listener with excitement, and sometimes, to tears.  (The suspensions help, too!)

Second theme

English Folk Song –  Lavender’s Blue

Here, Mr. Doyle used this folk song in playful ways, again in different and slight changes throughout… listen to it in the tracks, ‘Who is She’ and ‘Courage and Kindness’ for examples of this.  I’ve represented it here in two keys, in case you want to use this with your students on recorder, for example, and the first key is too difficult.

Lavender's Blue - CinderellaPlease email me your comments.  If you need any other themes notated for use with your students, let me know.


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