Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I embraced creativity from a very early age. Working as an engineer, I made comics online – poking fun of technology and geek culture. A few of them were published on CNET, and that led to a regular paid gig with a tech magazine in Europe. Getting my first paycheck and seeing my work in print in a glossy magazine with a large circulation made me realize there were opportunities to make money with my art.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My clients have included Microsoft, Bandai Namco, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Whether it’s designing a movie poster, pitching an idea, documenting process work, or knowing how to read and prepare a contract, I routinely bring my professional experiences and lessons learned into the classroom. It’s absolutely critical for students to understand that in today’s workforce, you have to wear many hats, work hard, ask questions, and have a can-do attitude. My job as an instructor is to give my students the time, tools and resources they need to become successful in their chosen field.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I make it a point to ground all my class projects and assignments in a real-world context, emphasizing the importance of visual process and research to the design workflow.
How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
I have high demands and expectations for myself, and when students see how much time I put into my craft, I think they understand what it takes to survive and thrive as a designer.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Teamwork and resource sharing are critical to success in this industry. Working across disciplines mirrors reality, and it’s important to understand and work within the dynamics of a team to get the work done.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Always be open to learning new things and sharing what you know with your peers. Be humble—there’s always someone who’s better than you are.
Anything else you’d like to share?
My job as an instructor is to give my students the time, tools and resources they need to succeed in their chosen field.