This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Teaching art the hard way, and the easy way

As an art teacher, specifically Graphic Design, I've mostly taught art the hard way. That is, I've prepared demonstrations, I've shown techniques, I've shown my students the great masters, like Paul Rand, Saul Bass, and David Carson. I've carefully inspected student artwork, and painstakingly pointed out areas that needed improvement. I've given tests, I've read essays. I've done critiques. And it's a lot of work.

But there were times when I had to take the easy route, even if for a day - if I had been ill or something. Teachers are only human! And on those days I would simply smile, hope that my cold medication was doing its thing, and tell everyone that their stuff was great. That's a lot less work.

Nowadays, of course, I don't teach at all. And I've gotten way too lazy to go back that kind of work! So, if someone shows me their artwork, I just smile and tell them it's great. In over ten years of teaching I very rarely found anyone who would push me and say something like, "come on, give me some help here, some advice, don't just tell me how great it is!" Most people just smile at their masterpiece, no matter how awful it is, and go sit down.

Like a lot of things I'm discovering in my life, this isn't the attitude that most people have towards doing criticism. Most people are delighted to give advice, to criticize, to advise. But me, hey, I got paid for it. And if you're not paying me, I'm not working.