Cape students use state-of-the-art technology for graphic design projects

Grants from Tanger Outlets, Target and CHEF fund new hardware
Juniors Amanda Rose, left, and Ingrid Hetfield work with art teacher Jason Fruchtman to translate photographs into personalized graphic designs using digital sketch pads purchased with grant funding from Tanger Outlets, Target, and the Cape Henlopen Educational Fund. SOURCE SUBMITTED
November 4, 2013

Three community organizations have joined to give art students technology to increase their graphic designing skills. Thanks to grants from Tanger Outlets, Target, and the Cape Henlopen Educational Fund, Cape Henlopen High School graphic design students are learning the basics of computer-assisted graphic designing using state-of-the-art design equipment.

With this funding, the art department purchased 10 Wacom Intuos 5 Sketch Pads to connect to their Macbook laptops, enabling students to directly sketch drawings or alter photographs using the pressure-sensitive pads and wireless styluses and view the results on their laptops. These digital canvases allow the graphic design students to create their designs directly in digital formats, bypassing the need to scan. In addition, with funding from these organizations, the graphic design staff purchased and had installed a large wash-out sink for use in the printing process.

For graphic design teacher Jason Fruchtman, it is critical that the graphic design students have experience with the technology professional designers have at their fingertips: “It’s important to get this technology so students see what can be, what tools professional designers work with and have at their access,” he says. “We need to expose our students to these tools in high school, so when they get to college they have had some experience, and these new digital sketch pads help us.”

The first student product using these design or sketch pads is a one-color screen print poster, using a local landmark as a jumping-off point, giving it human qualities to bring it alive. “With anything we do, the work comes out so much better if it personally connects to the students, if they are emotionally connected to the subject,” Fruchtman says. “The quality of the final work speaks for itself.”

Junior Rachel Meoli, who plans to study fashion design in college, likes what she can do on this digital canvas. “I picked up working on the tablet pretty quickly,” she says. “The settings luckily were what I wanted, and I really like how it’s working. The biggest difference I’ve found is the shading - the value is different. You can see the lines and grooves of the pen more clearly on the sketch pad.”

For this current project, Meoli chose the clock hanging at the opening of Rehoboth’s Penny Lane as a starting point, morphing the clock face into the face of a stylized model. Other students used photographs of the World War II towers, the Breakwater East End lighthouse, the Cape Henlopen State Park fishing pier, or the Lewes welcome lighthouse at the entrance to Kings Highway.

After some research into the poster designs of the 1960s and Andy Warhol’s work with prints, the class’s next projects include the use of multicolored screens to design posters for other local events.

This 21st century work wouldn’t be possible without the community support, says Fruchtman. “I would really like to thank Tanger Outlets, Target and CHEF for helping me put our students in better position to become successful,” he said.

Fructman is interested in teaming up with community nonprofit organizations so his students can create designs and prints to help nonprofits publicize their events. Any interested organizations should contact Fruchtman via email at “We welcome any opportunities for the students from the Cape Henlopen Art Department to work with any nonprofit events,” he says. “It’s important for us to give back to the community which has supported us with these grants.”

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