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In Celebration of Teachers

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week. From the various ‘professionals’ I’ve encountered through years of schooling to people who simply have acted as inspirational guides and life mentors, I’ve been blessed with some of the best.


And while self-study, through books and online tutorials, is a huge part of my journey, I’d just like to say how wonderful and gratifying it is to partake in live classes. To watch the process in real time. To ask questions. To develop relationships with those teachers.


For me, it’s invaluable.


I’ve been taking art classes to develop my illustration skills for the past four years. Most of them have been through Storyteller Academy. From my first drawing classes, featuring the talents of author-illustrator Arree Chung (founder of Storyteller Academy) and artist Alex Leon, to my illustration classes, led by the phenomenal author-illustrators Julie Downing and Isabella Kung, to character design and collage, orchestrated by the brilliant (and vibrant) author-illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton, I’ve not only learned technique and sharpened my skills, but I feel like I have a team that’s cheering me on – not to mention the support and encouragement of my other classmates!


This past week, I wanted to see if I could apply what I learned from Bonny Snowdon’s tutorials on drawing eyes, ears, and noses to creating a full animal. I’d found a cute picture of an opossum online and decided to challenge myself to not only draw it, but well, kind of stylize it to a slightly more cartoon-y style.


Because I like to complicate everything.

I used traditional colored pencils on a sketchpad. I found that while I wasn’t unhappy with the animal itself, I was having trouble with the background. It looked too...colored in.


So, I asked Isabella during our weekly session, who immediately offered suggestions, one of which was to consider multimedia. Here’s one of the results (I uploaded the picture to my iPad and digitally added watercolor):


It was an 'ah-hah' moment for me. But it's just kinda what Isabella does.

It's what all good teachers do. Every day. They have their own special brand of magic. They offer fresh perspectives. Fresh eyes. Fresh air so we can breathe and stretch and play.


I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my teachers...and teachers everywhere for all they do for all of us. Won’t you join me?


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