I love a good calligraphic line. It defines an illusion of 3d space. It breaks up the 2d surface of the paper.  With some small pieces of black mat board and some black India Ink, I created some rhythmic lines on glossy cardstock (11×17″) . I then cut up 4 sheets into 3 folded panels to make an accordion book.  I gave a demo for Deisgn I students. They experimented making their own lines and booklets. I believe each panel is 4.5×6″


This has been a running theme with my wife, Kim.  I once made her a retro cosmonaut using photoshop entitled SPACE VALKYRIE. (will post soon)

This theme of female empowerment has deeper roots in my life.  My mom, aunts and cousins have all been a strong and positive influence on me growing up and still. They have achieved a lot in their lives and provide me with endless amount of inspiration. I am truly thankful for all of them. And so, this birthday I decided to purchase a inexpensive wood screen from Speedball and vinyl cut for the stencil. Three t-shirts later, we have lift-off.  It would have been great to do this as a surprise, but it was even better going through the whole process with Kim. It worked so well, I now incorporate a contest in my Digital Art class, where everyone creates a design, we vote and then we print on t-shirts.  Makes a great memory from the class.

If you have access to a vinyl cutter, it is an inexpensive way to get a short run of T-shirts.  More designs to come!

Designed with Adobe Draw and Illustrator.

How do YOU come up with original shapes? This is the basis of how I teach Design I. The first day, we discuss cliche’ and how to just say NO! Throughout the blog, I will now be posting my sketches and notes from class. My colleague and I have always wanted to put together a book.  There are very few books on the subject of Design. And fewer on how-to-design. I am fascinated with people’s processes.

I teach the students to come up with strategies to come up with original and unique shapes. These shapes become their library for the entire semester–feeding their future projects. We move through two major directions…organic and architectural. I have my own processes which directly reflect who and what inspires me. 3d modeling, perspective drawing, architecture, topography, and biomorphic aesthetics feed my shape language. I try to show them many examples and in the end they find out what they like and keep going.

There is no “wrong” in my class.  There is only “good” and “better”. Stay away from that harsh word.  “Wrong” can be more detrimental than any “ugly”, “sucks”, or “crap”.

Projects for Digital Art change the most over time compared to my other classes. I like to stay fresh, although there are some definite keepers.  If I feel a need for a change, I usually visit Pinterest or Behance to see whats might inspire. In this case, I am cross pollinating with a project I do with my Design I class.  Accordion books are simple to put construct with just enough craftsmanship issues to give a beginning student a run for their money.  X-acto cuts must be accurate. Binding must be accurate.  Black matboard covers must be just a hair bigger than the print.  In this project, I had the student pick their own theme and a limit on page numbers.(12) They could use either or both Photoshop or Illustrator to complete. Template for printing was provided on Tabloid cardstock.  I find it holds up and stands up better than 20lb. paper. These gems are from Spring 2018 class. Enjoy.

The Twins turned two in 2017 and they were obsessed with Finding Dory. I made a huge sign for them featuring Hank the Septopus, which I painted on a repurposed Amazon box.  I also made some custom cake toppers all painted on cardboard.  It was one heck of a process.  After I found a workable image online, I gridded out the original and scaled up the image from a letter-sized print. Pencil construction lines and then paint.  They loved it and I loved their reactions.

It is tough to come up with new names for shows.  One great thing that a veteran professional artist taught me is to always have new names for similar exhibitions. The diversity looks better on a CV for students and curators both.  And so it is with our annual Student Exhibition every May.  I wanted to pull off something new.  In the past we have created and given ribbons to the exhibition winners, but I wanted to up the ante.  I took the theme of flight and a compass, incorporating a 3d printed airplane as part of the award.  The plane even points toward the NW.  How cool is that? So much fun to do and the students loved them.  Make it special for the students and they will always remember.


More and more Art Appreciation classes are embracing the hands-on experience when it comes to the in-class experience.  Gone are the days of lecture and unengaged students.  I have never considered myself a “lecturer.” I teach this class more like a studio class and it makes it more interesting for all of us. My class is at 8am and you bet there are plenty of students that don’t want to be there, so every week we conquer a new hands-on assignment.  I think its a great way to engage the student’s creativity. Many professors have embraced this since my first sharing of hand-on exercises back in 2010 and the interest has grown.  Now, there have been listings in the school catalog for Art Appreciation classes that say “hands-on.”  It is nice to think that I had a hand in this trend.

These images are from the Printmaking week. Political Art, stencils and spray paint. Oct, 2016 I believe. Posters made and put up around campus.