As school comes to and end and all the artwork and papers come flooding home, what will you do with it all? Take a photo or scan the best and the typical, then you can toss it all! You might want to hold onto one or two pieces, but this allows you to document those stepping stones in your child’s artistic and academic journey.
For the smaller pieces scanning will most likely get you a better image. Scanning at 300 dpi will give you a great scan that you will be able to use to reprint or put into a photo book. For the larger works, taking a photo of the piece will give you a good representation. The trick to taking a good photo is laying the work flat on the ground or mounting with painter’s tape on the wall and then shooting square on. You want the angle of the lens to be perpendicular to the object being photographed and line the edges of the work up parallel to your view frame. When you’re at and obtuse or acute angle, even slightly off perpendicular, the image will be skewed – one end will be narrower than the other. A tripod is helpful to get a good photo in this instance and keeps you from having to contort your body to get the shot.
Once you have documented all the artwork and other special papers for the school year, you can rename the image files with the date – your child’s name – grade. The date can be when the work was done, or if you’re not sure, the year (use the school year end if you’re not sure which half of the school year it was done in). Then tag these images as well. Other information to include might be the teacher’s name, title of the work, or what it was done for. Be sure to move all the image files to your one place and back them up! You can now dispose of, recycle all that paper!
Now that you’ve documented all this, what now? If you make a yearly family photo album or book, make sure to include some of both your child’s, and your favorite works. You could also do a collection of work over the years. We had a client that had a scrap book of their child’s artwork from preschool through second grade. As their grown child getting ready to move out and wanted to take the scrapbook with them, mom and dad realized they wanted a copy of many of those pages. We scanned them and put them into a photo book. Now parents and child can each enjoy those memories.
Other options include arraigning the best from a year or the elementary grades on a 16×24 or 20×30 poster and printing it to hang in your home. Put a picture of your child from that same time period on the poster with the artwork or framed beside it. If you want to share your child’s work with grandparents, make a calendar. You get spots to highlight 12 or more works that grandparents can keep and a calendar, two gifts in one.
What have you done with your child’s artwork from school?