Monday, August 4, 2014

This One Goes Out To Art Teachers


This is a somewhat snarky post about those art/illustration students that exhibit behaviors counterproductive to improving their craft.  I've never had a student that's met all of the above criteria but a few that hit most of them. To set the record straight - I was this guy many times during my schooling in the early 90's. As school at the University is about to start in a few weeks I thought I would draw up this translator for teachers to get a laugh but more importantly to bring awareness to illustration students all over the world. We as teachers may not call you on your self destructive actions but know this: WE'RE THINKING IT!

I often start out my classes telling students what I think - when they do ________. It gets laughs and I see many of them squirm around in their seats realizing I'm not far off. I'm not the kind of guy who is going to call you out in class to embarrass you. I might make a light hearted joke to get my point across but I just don't have it in me to yell at you in class. Please don't mistake my lack of communication for ignorance, apathy, oblivious bliss, or that I'm unaware of what you're doing.

I've been around students long enough to know that when someone tells me how hard they're going to work on the first day of class it sends up a red flag. Too many of you who announce your future art victories have proven to be the laziest non producing students I've ever had. The students who sit quietly in the back are the ones that usually put up impressive work. There is a direct correlation between students who act the most defensive during critiques and the quality of their work. I get it - you're not ready to be taught. You're already feeling like you might not belong in this class so you go into defense mode. It's going to be ok. We'll work together to improve your artwork.

I'm hoping that my little comic up there might bring you to a level of awareness that will help us move forward. Just know that I know what you think I don't know about what you're doing. It's not fooling anyone - it's just delaying your education.

UPDATE - I got so many "why isn't there a positive slant?" comments, emails, messages that I decided to give them what they wanted! Here is the updated version below:




11 comments:

  1. Perhaps have them read The Art of Possibility.

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    1. I'll have to check that out Lori Ann :)

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  2. I was reading that list hoping that I never did those in your class. Ha! Always room for improvement.

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    1. Zack I was almost all of these at one time - I wanted to bring awareness - you're awesome!

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  3. This also makes a very clear point about how readily people mistake underconfidence with overconfidence. I did quite a few of those, but because I was completely terrified of the rest of the class and didn't feel like I deserved to be there. I didn't talk to the rest of the class or participate in critiques because they were all better than me. The alpha artist in the class totally made it clear there was nothing that I could do to help them so I just shut my trap and watched. I admit, I wish my teacher had called me out; I definitely would have gotten more out of the class if I hadn't been so certain of my own inferiority.

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    1. Great points - I appreciate your point of view and I've seen that before too...my main goal with this is bring awareness for my students and students anywhere - if you see yourself in here somewhere you might be able to use it to make positive changes :) ...I wasn't a good student when I was in school - much of this is from personal experience...

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  4. I remember well being an illustration student, especially how well defined two halves of our class became as we entered the second semester of our junior year (when the rubber really hits the road). One half were hard workers, quiet and respectful of the teacher, logging long and late hours in the open studios late into the night. The other half were the partiers who were out socializing and recreating late into the night, except the night before a project was due. That group always had the most unreasonably negative comments during critiques and their work showed their lack of effort.

    You can always tell a tree by the fruit it produces...

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  5. I have to make sure my professor sees this. Thanks for the funny share!

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  6. Right on. I taught one semester at a university that will go unnamed and was shocked at the student's attitude. I let them think they were successfully scamming me. I didn't have the energy to both teach and engage in psychotherapy. Needless to say I was very disappointed. I had a few good students thank goodness.

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    1. Sad isn't it...we're there for the hard workers - right?

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