by TeacherLem Iglesias– IN THIS  four part blog series, I will discuss in detail how I organise my lessons to teach my classes more effectively. As art teachers, we all have our own teaching styles and techniques so it may or may not work for every class. However, it’s always great to know what other art teachers are doing and to just pick up new ideas that would help us in our quest to inspire future artists .  

These posts will include each level of engagement the students will undergo, the approximate time needed for the lesson, the basic ideas needed to be understood by the class, basic skills to be utilised, procedures, pictures as well as web links you can use to reinforce the lessons.

The first project I will present is titled: ‘HOW TO DESIGN A SUPERHERO’.

We just concluded this project and the whole class (including myself) was quite impressed with the results (see the photo above).

Target audience: Year 9 (about 13-15 years old).

Approximate Lesson Time Required: 40-MINUTES


Every artist needs an inspiration to do something worthwhile, and all great artists stands on the shoulders of an even greater one who has inspired them: JMW Turner inspired the Impressionists; the Impressionists inspired Cezanne; Cezanne inspired Van Gogh; Van Gogh inspired Picasso and Picasso inspired everyone else who came right after (even if some of these artists deny it).

When I choose an artist to help inspire my students to do a project, I choose someone they can relate to, someone that would prompt them to say “cool” or better yet, hear one or two kids shouting “awesome!” from the back of the classroom.

With the popularity of the Avengers and X-Men movies these days, it was an obvious choice.

Our Artist Inspiration for this project is legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby.

Jack Kirby_2

If you’re saying Kirby who? That’s precisely the reason why I chose the guy. Until recently, he was never given enough credit for his work in creating famous Marvel characters and only after a bitter copyright battle with Marvel Comics did he get his due. He was ‘The Man’ who visualised/illustrated, mainly, Stan Lee’s words and ideas as powerful drawings on paper. According to comicvine.com, Kirby “designed and/or created” the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, Nick Fury, Thor and the Silver Surfer, among others.

To highlight these facts,I prepared a PowerPoint presentation on Jack Kirby’s accomplishments in life and his great contribution to comic books. I usually keep the information to a minimum of five facts for the class to easily remember. For example, see the screen cap below:

Jack Kirby_1

  1. He’s an American- I need to explain this, since in our previous lessons we mostly talked about European artists.
  2. He worked for both Marvel Comics and DC- Even I thought he worked exclusively for Marvel.
  3. He was a ‘Penciler’- there is also an ‘Inker’ and a ‘Colourist’ for most comic books and yes, a ‘Writer’ (Stan Lee).
  4. He was born August 1917 and Died in 1994- to highlight  which age his creativity peaked
  5. Copyright Battle- this part got the students very interested since they only knew about Stan Lee- the old guy with walk-in cameos in all Marvel movies- whom they thought as the one who single-handedly created all the Marvel characters.

I talk about all these five points in detail (see sources for Jack Kirby below) and concludes the discussion with a quick pop quiz to see if my students picked up some information after the presentation. It’s a fact that only retain about 80% of what we see and hear, so it’s always a good thing to check which 20% they have missed and repeat the facts once more.


After the discussion on Jack Kirby, I ask the students to Google for other superheroes and choose 3-4 superheroes that they like. I sent them to THIS LINK showing a sample of the Top 100 Superheroes.They were instructed to focus on the costume design of each character. They were then asked to print out  images of the superheroes they have chosen for pasting on their sketchbooks. These images will be used as ‘visual triggers’  or a part of an idea bank, which they can refer to in creating their own superhero costume designs later in the procedure. See the screen caps below for samples.

Superhero Resource_2

Superhero Resource_1

Continued on my next post: 2nd Meeting PREPARATION- Mind Map and Thumbnails

See you guys next week 🙂


Sources for Great Artists who inspired other Great Artists:




Sources for Jack Kirby:




Source for Learning Retention:



3 thoughts on “Design a Super Hero 1: Artist and Resource

  1. Pingback: Design a Super Hero Part 2: Mind map and Thumb nails | teacher lem's art class

  2. Pingback: Design a Super Hero 3: Exhibit Present Evaluate | teacher lem's art class

  3. Pingback: Papier Mache Action Figures by Year 9 | teacher lem's art class

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