I began teaching illustration when I was living in Dallas, TX at Brookhaven College around 1982. That led to my teaching at then-called East Texas State University in Commerce, TX followed by a teaching stint at Miami University upon my return to Cincinnati in 1987. Eventually I landed here teaching at Columbus College of Art and Design for the last 15 years or so. It began in a class that met once every three weeks for three days to now my commuting weekly to Columbus from Cincinnati for my Tuesday and Thursday junior illustration class titled, “Styles and Concepts’. Here at CCAD I teach and serve as co-chair of the Illustration Department with Stewart McKissick.
Two years ago I switched from teaching juniors and seniors in an elective portfolio class to what is now a required junior “Styles and Concepts” class. The class is structured to teach illustration process and practices for the purposes of leading students toward a direction for personal expression.
Over the years I have found teaching to be extremely gratifying. It helps to keep me grounded and forward thinking. One of my goals is to create the same positive experience I had in my years of study at Miami University. Though the specifics of how we teach at CCAD and the shifts in curriculum change, working students to build a solid foundation for career building is our challenge. What I try to bring to my class is a positive work ethic, guided by time tested picture making procedures and processes in an effort to achieve tangible progress the student can see in their own work for confidence building and artistic growth.
My day usually starts between 5:30 AM – 6 AM, getting my breakfast, making my lunch and heading to Columbus before 7AM. I usually am able to get to Circle Hall, our Illustration Build at CCAD, around 8:45 AM – 9 AM. From 9 AM – Noon I have office hours to take care of some administrative duties or meet with students. I eat my lunch with Stewart in our office while discussing our daily concerns and get ready for my first class that begins at 12:30 PM. My first class runs until 3PM – 3:15 pm with my second class beginning a 3:30 PM. The second class ends around 6 PM – 6:15. After wrapping up and maybe meeting again with students, I try to head home by no later than 7 PM. On my way home I often stop by the White Castle to pick up a sack of ‘whiteys and an iced tea for the two-hour trip back home.
In total, I have four classes, totaling around 70 students. The students come in all sizes, shapes, talent levels and motivation levels; I see it as my challenge to reach each and everyone. Some days your are a teacher, other days you are football coach, a preacher, a mother and a drill sergeant. All in all, it can be a grind, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am very proud of our graduates, of whom many are doing well. I say that with the clear understanding that it is they that make us look good.
I got into illustration because I like to draw. I got into education because I like to teach.
So far, so good.