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Independent Study

Private Instruction, Mentorship, and Consultation for Creative Growth in Graphic Design and Art Direction.

Take charge of your work and your creative growth.

The Independent Study is an 1.5 hour private session to help students and professionals alike improve their work, their feelings and emotions toward making work, and ultimately take their portfolio to the next level. This is intended to be supplemental to a design curriculum or profession—designed to be taken along with normal studies at a University or continuing education for working professionals.

It’s Project Based Learning: You and I will work together on assignments, projects, and personal work with the goal to improve each deliverable in both concept and execution.

We can work on one project, a group of projects, or a portfolio whether real or imagined. And in doing so, I will teach you principles and philosophies that open you up creatively. It’s part classroom and part therapy to remove your creative blocks—that nagging negative internal voice.

I Develop Creatives

I’ve taught Graphic Design and Art Direction since 2010 starting at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, NYC and since moving to Nashville in 2015 I’ve taught at Nossi College of Art, Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film, and O’more College of Design. Across all the curriculums in which I’ve taught I’ve noticed I bring something different. I train designers like I was trained, I’m honest about the work and I lead my students by art directing the projects. I don’t put my thumb print on the work, but look at the natural abilities of each student and develop those abilities to their fullest potential.

That’s the way this industry is set up, ideally of course. You start out as a graphic designer or junior art director and your work is mentored by a senior art director who then takes your ideas and improves them. Through this process you learn how to see, how make better choices, and ultimately grow as you gain experience. This mindset, unfortunately, has been lost or is rare in most educational and professional settings.

I find that most curriculums across the country are really good at teaching software (Adobe CC, Sketch, etc.), maybe drawing and painting, but the thinking and work evaluation is something they lack. The biggest complaint I hear from creatives and students is that they receive literally no direction are left with empty instruction like “try harder” or “this layout doesn’t work”. The nuts and bolts of training are left to ambiguous phrasing, that leaves them lost. In these cases true articulation of direction is most beneficial and necessary to give a student proper guidance. A student must be shown what they are doing wrong and how to improve the work to actually grow and learn. That’s where art direction comes in, I learned the most when James Victore (my mentor) would grab the mouse out of my hands and show me what to do or tear my concepts to shreds and show me a better way to think about them. And I continue in that tradition, I teach by showing, and you learn as we work on projects together.

”I want to thank you for being such an amazing mentor to me and every other one of your students. You bring out the best in each of us. I learned so much about design and how it impacts everything in life. Before attending [ your classes ] I thought I knew what design was about. I was wrong. I guess you can say now I know how little I knew. You didn’t just teach me about what design was, but how to think as a designer. I also really appreciate the life lessons you brought into the classroom. your classes felt more real…Thanks for teaching me to be the head and not the hands.” - Abraham Mast

Training the head, not the hands

I can help with software but there is a real need to train a student how to come up with interesting ideas, evaluate work, articulate feedback, and freely work with others—that is what makes a designer and art director, improves their work, and makes them a valuable asset to any organization or client. I call these things the four Cs: Communicate, Collaborate, Concept, and Critique. They are fundamental in training a creative professional, and their impact on a student’s work is undeniable. Check out my student gallery section.

Independent Studies are one-on-one sessions designed to train designers and art directors how to…
Communicate: clearly and effectively articulate ideas and give constructive feedback
Collaborate: freely contribute opinions and ideas to teammates, clients, and bosses
Concept: generate smart ideas that are unique instead of looking around and imitating other work
Critique: see work clearly and know what to do to improve both concept and execution
By working on projects for college, real life, or personal work.

And in doing so, I help…
Remove the negative internal voice that constantly criticizes our work and says we aren’t “good”
Gain clarity and awareness that resolves the “imposter syndrome” that is present in most creatives
Find freedom to work with less stress, ultimately finding your own voice and personal style

With my instruction and your effort, you can improve your work and become more creative.

Sessions & Pricing:
Ala Cart $100: A Single 1.5 hr Session (purchase as needed)
Long-Term Learning Package $360: Four 1.5hr Sessions (to be spaced out once per week or once per month throughout a semester or summer)

20% off for my previous students from Watkins, Nossi, and O’more.
Sessions can be done over skype, facetime, or in person.