I am a lover of great design and illustration. I love consuming copious amounts of inspiration hoping some of it will rub off. It often does.
It’s not unusual for me to surprise myself by creating something I never knew I had in me. More often than not though it can be a mission to improve. Cold hard discipline is required to step out of a comfort zone and try new things.
Then there’s teaching! I have recently been doing lettering workshops with young people.
Teaching is something I have always done in some shape or form. It’s my way of giving back. I’m always interested to see if I can break down complexity so that what seems lofty is accessible even to a child. The illustration above is the result of a collaboration I did in a lettering workshop for teenagers. It was certainly interesting teaching them about design.
When I am teaching people who know very litte about my world, I have to be crystal clear on what things mean. I cannot rely on a savvy audience filling in the blanks. I am asked unusual questions. I have to provide a lot more context. I must enthuse listeners so they do not switch off.
To use a boxing analogy, it’s the difference between shadow boxing and sparring. Shadow boxing feels great! no opponent, no pushback just punching the air. Sparring means the pressure of handling an opponent. Out of pressure comes new insight, learning. Insight into what the most important issues are not the minutia. Insight into new ways of looking at the world. Learning about personal limitations, ideas that are past their sell by date, rediscovering just how much I actually know.
The greatest reward teaching affords is watching the light bulb come on when someone finally ‘gets it’. Watching new mindsets form and new skills germinate. Its a win all around, great for the teacher and great for the student. If you have the capacity to do so, I strongly recommend you share your knowledge and skills, you’ll be better for it!