Emojis to paper creation offered at UTPB art camps

At University of Texas Permian Basin, students in two separate classes are learning how to make what has become everyday stuff — emojis and paper.

Sandra Vega and Justine Delatour are teaching the digital art course to middle and high school students at UTPB art camp. Vega said youngsters can sign up for one or two weeks.

The seven attending Monday chose the two-week stint. Art camp is for students age 12 to 18.

A paper making class for UTPB students was being taught by Associate Professor of Art Mario Kiran next door. Kiran’s class is not part of art camp.

Vega said the digital art course was like an introduction to graphic design class.

“They’ll just play with the program for a week with different assignments,” Vega said. “Mostly we can work off the originals, but you make it your own, too, so a lot of them are adding cute little quirks to them. I gave them the liberty of different shapes and different colors. They’re having fun with it.”

The students, she said, “are really good.” Last week, they were doing screen printing to create original T-shirts, which was probably more artistically liberating.

“Here, it’s a little bit more electronic, so some of them are real comfortable with it because a lot of them do use writing tablets and drawing tablets. And (for) some of them, this is very foreign so it’s really fun. They get to learn something new,” Vega said.

Delatour said she thinks the camp is beneficial for students and teachers because they probably won’t get a chance to do something like it in school.

“They just really appreciate it. They get to come in and have these kinds of experiences and enjoy themselves and learn all kinds of new things that they can pass on to other students and teachers,” Delatour added.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Cardona, who will be a junior at Odessa High School in the fall, said she has been to the camp before.

“I’m not really an emoji person, but making your own emojis, it’s not bad,” Cardona said.

Jessenia Lujan, 16, who will be going into 11th grade at the UTPB STEM Academy said it’s cool to be able to create your own way of expressing emotions.

“… It’s not easy, but I’m getting there. The usual ones I see are more bland … I’m trying to give it more feeling and more in depth,” Lujan said.

Kiran said his paper making course lasts seven weeks and he has 11 UTPB students. In it, they make their own paper to create journals or sketchbooks using ground up T-shirts. From scratch, he said, it takes about a week to make a sheet of paper.

Heather Parra said the class is really interesting and she remembers making paper as a youngster in school out of old paper. 

“He not only teaches you how to make paper, he teaches different ways you can use it besides just drawing or painting. You can turn it into classical style books where you can print on the pages and then turn them into a book, or just use them as a diary and you can also turn the books into works of art, depending on how you treat them. … He goes through all the different processes on that, so you’re not just learning to make paper even though it’s a paper making class,” Parra said.

Jisela Manales has never made paper before.

“I think it’s a lot more intensive than I thought it would be, but then again, I feel like I never really thought about the process of making paper. It’s just like such an everyday thing. It’s not until you actually do it that you realize how much work goes into it,” Manales said.