Wednesday, January 11, 2012



Ever heard the expression,"jack of all trades, master of none?" its seems like a good idea to be a "jack" initially, I admit. After all, if you know a little bit about a variety of subjects, then you will be versatile enough to do whatever a client calls for! What's wrong with that?? Well, while you WILL get a couple of assignments, you may not feel entirely comfortable doing that particular thing. For instance, I can DO background drawing, but it's a labor intensive activity for me, as opposed to cartooning and caricature which I can do in my sleep. When a client hires you to do a job, they're not expecting a generalist, they're expecting a master, who not only knows their subject inside out, but can even re invent and re adjust on the fly. When you are teaching, you don't want there to be any guesswork. You also want to have fun! Strive to teach on the subject that you KNOW. Doing so will help you develop your own niche, and it's this Niche which will focus you and make you stand out from the pack.


When I first began teaching art I was so excited to have the job, I started teaching "everything" I knew about the subject in the first session! I talked endlessly, never passing to take a breath, switched from one aspect of my subject matter to the next, gave multiple examples to accent my points, and sincerely wondered why I was getting blank stares.


The one thing that must always be remembered when teaching is that your audience doesn't know what you know. For many, this will be the first time they've been introduced to your subject, and they cannot be overloaded with too much information. THEY WILL NOT RETAIN IT! It's best when teaching, to teach on one or two topics and explore those topics from a variety of angles. It may seem like you will not fill up your allotted time if you teach only one or two things, but don't forget that you will be lecturing, demonstrating, having your class do hands on exercises, evaluating their work, and answering their questions. Trust me if you do things right, you will actually run out of time in most cases.
Teaching on one or two things also allows you the opportunity to do subsequent workshops on the same subject showing a different aspect, and can also give you the opportunity to introduce your products, books, DVDs etc. That expounds on your teaching, and your private lessons.

If you teach "everything" in the first lesson, there's no reason for them to reach out to you again! THIS is a lesson I had to learn the hard way!!


Artists in general, even at an early age,"march to a different drummer"we think different, we talk different, we dress and behave in ways that the general population feels is strange. For the most part, people aren't ready, especially when they're younger, to embrace and accept anyone who is not in any way similar to a result in childhood and adolescence, artists are subject to the ridicule, anger, and fear of others. Some become the butt of cruel jokes and pranks, others the victims of assault. The young artist, if he is not affirmed by someone, carries the scars obtained in childhood, and can still hear the ridiculing voices in the corridors of their mind. In an effort to quiet those voices, some take on other personality traits and behaviors more acceptable in the so called "real world", after all, it's much too hard to be an artist, and have an artists personality....


I was that young artist, that I eluded to in the previous paragraph. In an effort to bury the artist personality, I tried to adopt a personality more suited to the so called real world. Without going into detail, let's just say the result of that left me feeling angry and exhausted. Angry, because I knew I was presenting a "plastic person" to the world, and exhausted because it became to hard to keep up the charade. In despair, I reverted back to the "artist personality" no one seemed to like.
Then one day all of a sudden, people began to say the strangest things about me...

"wow, you really have a commanding voice!, it sounds like radio!" "wow, I never knew you were so funny, you're kinda zany!""wow, that's pretty deep what you said, I never would've thought that!"

Out of no where I was actually bein affirmed for being ME! so I began to embrace myself even more, and the more I accepted, the mire beauty I found and the more I wanted to show THAT guy to the world!
When I taught something being my old fake "this is what the real world accepts, self" responses from people were......acceptable.
But when I started being this articulate, zany, thoughtful, spontaneous artist guy, people began to respond so enthusiastically that it almost made my heart stop. I recall one insident where I brought an entire high school auditorium to it's feet in thunderous applause, something my son recalled had never ever happened with that tough crowd. I even had kids, now young adults stop me in the streets to tell me how much they enjoyed what they saw and heard...


It really is that simple. People are hungry for authenticity from teachers. When they get that, it makes the entire teaching atmosphere more enjoyable for both parties. If you are YOURSELF sincerely around your students, you will give out an energy that is going to resonate with them, and once that happens they will ask you back to teach again and again.


Teaching art gets a bad rap, in my opinion. Some look at it as a default job because you just couldn't get your REAL art jib started, or it's just a way to pay bills. Teaching is very rewarding. Most of us have devoted outpr lives to learning how to draw, paint,and sculpt why should thatknowledgejust die with us? It shouldn't. We have a responsibility to impart what we've learned to other generations so that they might expand and grow, and one day teach others. In a way, by teaching, no matter what the age group or setting, we're putting pieces of our selves into others ane insuring in a small way, that we will live forever.

Don't YOU want to live forever?

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