August -December 2021
Weekly: Thursdays 9AM-12PM
Venue: MHub
Area 15, Chiwengo Road, Plot #46 Box 1689. Lilongwe, Malawi | +265 999 57 37 02

Instructor: Kristen Palana *Email: kristen (at)

our class at mHub in Lilongwe

Helpful Resources:

Our Agenda -Overview of the next five months (PDF)
The Online Component of this Course -Login Page (*Go here each week to log in to the online companion to the live training.)
75+ Resources to Get FREE (copyright free) Images, Music, and Videos For Your Projects (*Use these resources for creating your own design projects when you are NOT using your own drawings, photos, music or videos you made yourself.)

Week 1:

Day 1 Presentation -The Psychology of Color
Color Psychology Cheat Sheet (PDF)
How to Use Color In Your Wardrobe: Video and Cheatsheet (PDF)
Further Reading: Politicians and Color Psychology
Real Boys Wear Pink

Get set up on our online platform.

Week 2:

Present Color Homework Photographs from Last week.
Color Facts Mini-Quiz
Check-in-Online Course Progress Getting Access
Today: Introduction to Photo Retouching and Digital Imaging
Video: Dove Evolution
Video: 5 Tips to Up Your Photo Game
Using the camera on your computer (or phone) take a photo of yourself. We are going to edit it to make you more “magazine ready.”

*Another photo to use in class (optional): Download here
If you want to use Gimp at home you can download it FREE here.

Week 3:

Present Photographs and Gimp Experiments from Last week.
Power Poses Article
Amy Cuddy: 30 Seconds on Power Poses
How Power Poses Affect Testosterone

Intro to Nthambi and how to write scripts for social media.
Bi-fold brochures. Story Strategies. “Your first idea is usually your worst idea.”
Continuing With Photo Retouching and Digital Imaging

Another Photo to Use- Red Eye 
More Videos:
Start Taking Better Photos Today- Composition
Nthambi Covid Video -Washing Hands

Week 4:

Discussing Nthambi scripts for UNFPA -in progress and plans for next week.
Continuing With Photo Retouching and Digital Imaging

Video: Let’s Review and expand on some digital imaging basics. Watch
Making a targeted color effect using what we already know so far in Gimp.

Photo: Make this Cat Thinner
Free online tool to quickly remove a background from image
Get inspiration here -Image morphs and Photoshop design contests

Week 5:

Today: UNFPA opening ceremony and remarks.
Present final Nthambi scripts. Discuss any changes or improvements you made since last week.
Module 1 Demo- Time to show what you learned before we move on to Modules 2 and 3.

More background dropping tools in Gimp. Video: 5 Ways To Remove A Background with GIMP

In Class Assignment: Introduce Your Selfie
Take a new photo right now or using the one you brought to class, demonstrate the following three techniques saved as three separate images. (*png files will be fine as they can be shared online…)

  1. Make a normal photo but “magazine ready.” Adjust levels, contrast, etc. if needed. Clear up any blemishes or spots you don’t want in your image. Make sure the background is OK. Make any image improvements as needed as if your photo was going to be on the cover of a magazine or front page of a website. This can be your nice profile image we can use when sharing images about the class on social media.
  2. Take your original photo. Clean up levels, etc. This time make an image that has a targeted color effect. For example, you are in color but the background is black and white… etc. Or everything is tinted blue but your eyes are tinted orange, etc. *Remember you need to use layers for this one.
  3. Warped Selfie/ Image Morph. Using any of the other tools (smudge, dodge, burn, etc), color effects, filters, or warp tools… make a warped version of yourself. You might give yourself giant “anime” eyes like a cartoon, make yourself really fat or thin, make yourself into a comical caricature (or really scary), put yourself in another background, etc. The possibilities are endless. Whatever you do, have fun and make it memorable!
  4. Homework: **Please put final images in our WhatsApp Group.

Review: Extra Gimp Techniques You Can Look At: (Also available in the online resource course here: )
20 Awesome Photo Retouching Tutorials in GIMP
Resize, Crop, and Reformat an Image
Adjust Brightness, Hue, and Saturation
Scale, rotate, flip, or transform images
How to blur a face (or anything else)
Remove red eyes or blemishes
Whiten teeth and add lipstick

Week 6:

Today: Present your three images. Make sure you popped them in our Google Drive. (*link is in our WhatsApp group.)
Show examples of good vs. bad design
Big Media Event: Discussion. **Save the dates Nov. 10-12.** Brainstorming session on 30 minute presentation.

Video: Beginning Graphic Design -Fundamentals

I’ll get you started using Canva (sign up online for free account) and/or Scribus (download free) for social media graphics/ page layout design projects.

Resource: Free Canva Magazine Cover Maker

In Class/Homework: Using Canva and Gimp and any photos you already have, make a magazine cover that looks eye-catching and professional using everything you have learned so far about images, layout, color, composition, and design.

*Make sure you also have or get access to our online class Canva/Stencil social media graphics course. You can also take my tutorials online FREE here:
Sign up for Canva or start experimenting with Scribus on your computer.

Week 7

Today: Discussion: What did you read about in the design books or go over this past week that you didn’t know about before and you think every designer needs to be aware of?

Survey: Please make sure you have filled out the survey I sent via WhatsApp to help inform our presentations at the Mangochi conference.

Videos: Why Visualize Data: An Awesome Example
Typography Basics

Get started with Canva (sign up online for free account) -Demo on recent work for UNICEF using Canva. Making infographics demonstration. In Class/homework: Practice using and exporting from Canva. Make sample infographics on any topic you’d like.

Week 8

Today: Sort out vendor forms for UNFPA. Show infographics done in Canva from last week.

Videos: Beginning Graphic Design: Color
Beginning Graphic Design: Layout & Composition

Work in groups of three or four to create animation script using info and docs below, especially the key stats. Remember Young’s wish that the animation should start with Nthambi saying, “Hi. I’m Nthambi. I’m 17 years old…”

Research: Malawi Vision 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals *Specifically research how teen pregnancy in Malawi is hampering the country’s progress toward realizing its vision for 2063.

Week 9

Today: Discuss Oct. 30 media event. Student groups present draft Prism scripts. Based on student feedback, we will either use one script or create one from all. Kristen will get started making a skeleton of the animation and putting the final script together.

Digital Illustration using Gimp. Read the cheatsheet
Video: Watch this 2 minute overview

In Class/Homework: Work on digital illustration that will eventually be your profile image in our Prism presentation (draft skeleton sample). Start gathering content for your individual presentation page. If time, start making graphics and images that will go in presentation and animation. Each student chooses 1-3 key stats or points from the script. *Let’s write it down so we all know who is working on what. Using agreed-upon colors and fonts, make simple images in Canva that illustrate these points in an interesting and eye-catching way. These will become images we use in the final animation which is why unity is so important.

Sessions 10, 11, and 12 (Thurs. Oct. 28, Sat. Oct. 30, & Thurs. Nov.4)

Session 10 Family meeting:

1.) Updates on PRISM- chat with UNFPA and President. Some late-breaking changes
2.) Update on class/ job opportunities
3.) Update on tablets
4.) Update on animation in progress and what I need from you.
5.) Update on presentation/exhibit progress and what I need from you
6.) Saturday Oct. 30 at 2PM. mHub. Be there! 🙂
7.) Next classes and event (will count as 1 or 2 sessions). Note dates Nov. 10-13 should be blocked out.

**Work in Class Time** Our only goal in advance of the PRSM conference in Mangochi Nov. 10-13 is to create, edit, tweak, and finish our group animation, posters for the exhibit, and group presentation. Please come to class on time and be prepared to work on your deliverables with your group and on your own.

For reference:
Draft Animation as of Oct. 26 (*All images at this point are only placeholders. Chichewa voiceover will be added.)
Draft Presentation as of Oct. 26
(*All images at this point are only placeholders)

Session 12

Session 12 Family meeting:

1.) Updates on PRSM- Details so far on transport
2.) Update on class/ job opportunities
3.) Update on tablets
4.) Update on animation in progress and what I need from you. -Chichewa placement
5.) Update on presentation/exhibit progress and what I need from you -Send images and text for your presentation page no later than today.
6.) Work in class on posters. I need a final version by end of today to be sent to Joseph for printing.
7.) Next session will be in Mangochi and focus on career development, freelancing, working for clients, having your own business, or any questions you have. Will be a group coaching session.

For reference:
Recent animation as of Nov. 3 (*All images at this point are only placeholders. Chichewa voiceover will be added.)
Draft Presentation as of Oct. 26
(*All images at this point are only placeholders)
Template for A1 posters on color

Session 14 (Session 13 was held in Mangochi last week)

Today: Congratulations on successful presentations at PRSM. Feedback. Discussion. What did you learn?
A look at the next few weeks. Sessions 15-18 ending on Dec. 16 at mHub. Plans to meet at UNFPA? Certificates and graduation? Tablets? Today we are moving more into workplace skills, freelancing, entrepreneurship, and audio/video/animation. Time is limited, but let’s see what we can do in the next four weeks.

See online courses (offline videos at mHub) for the following courses: (Follow these and start taking at your own pace.)
Make Quick & Easy Marketing Videos Like a Pro Using InVideo
Freelance Success For Artists: A Quick & Easy Guide
Soft Skills & Career Success: How to Be Excellent at Work

Understanding your own biggest strengths- First we need to identify them. Then we can try to use them better at home and at work moving forward.

1.) The VIA Character Strengths Survey

The VIA Survey is the only free, scientific survey of character strengths in the world. Take this simple, 15 minute character test and discover your greatest strengths. Take it here (register a free account first)

2.) Intro to Audio/Sound Design (for Animation, Film, and Video as well as standalone sound-art)

Download Audacity FREE
More free sound design tools here

In Class/Homework: We are going to be making a Soundscape. This can be a narrative story that only uses sound, it can be abstract, it can be experimental, or it can be musical, or it can be a combination of all of these. [*If you are stuck for ideas, please do either a sound portrait of mHub or a sound portrait of a place in or around Lilongwe. Use a combination of sounds to make a listener understand what it is like in this environment. ]

Session 15

Discussion: What are your top 5 VIA strengths as determined in last week’s survey? How to use your top strengths at work and at home.

Meyers-Briggs personality type. Take the test
Video: Meyer-Briggs Explained

Soundscapes. Listen to student projects.
Show Canvas used for Teams- Graphic Design work with Natalia and Prince
Video: 5 ways to INSTANTLY make BETTER VIDEOS!
Introduction to InVideo

Final Project: For the next three weeks, you will use InVideo to make a short video. Some options include:
1.) Make a demo reel/video portfolio of your work and use this video as a resume/ showcase of what you do
2.) Advertise your service, organization, or business
3.) Make an educational video on a topic you care about (Similar to our Nthambi teen pregnancy video)
4.) Tell us a story

Homework: Plan your final project on paper, start gathering sounds, images, and video to populate it, start writing your script and come prepared to the next class to start working on it. PLEASE don’t start until we look at your plans and discuss first!

Session 16

Family Meeting: Update on final classes, tablets, and last day. Discuss plans for final project.
Help me plan the final (working) class next week. *Final project is due the following week (Dec. 16) though location/time is TBD. Possibilities: work in class day/ advising only. Social media and web design for entrepreneurship/freelancing, more video help, etc.

Brief intro to Positive Psychology, Appreciative Inquiry, and the Stop Doing list.

Video resources, camera angles, sound etc.
15 Essential Camera Shots, Angles and Movements in Filmmaking

Link: 50+ Camera Angles, Shots, and Movements: A Complete Guide

Work in class on final project. Individual help and career guidance (if needed). Also: Ask me anything! Review time.
PRETEND your final project is due next class (It’s due one week later) and have it ready to show to class. Next class you’ll get feedback and can make final changes before it’s actually due.

Session 17

Last working day in class. ***Start time: 10AM (students can come at 9AM or earlier as usual though.)
Entrepreneurship basics. Web site. Social media pages. How to have them working in harmony with each other. LinkedIn. Recommendations. Get future job preferences from students. Show work in progress for final project. Work in class time in InVideo on Final Projects.
Stay tuned for last class details for next week.