Donald S.

Pittsburgh, PA


Dr. Don PhD: Writing, Drawing, Art and Architectural History

10+ Hours
Background check passed as of 1/16/17
4.6 average from 5 ratings
Good first class with Donald
— Charles, Pittsburgh, PA on 11/24/16


Send a message explaining your needs and Donald will reply soon.

Response time: 4 hours

Contact Donald

University of Pittsburgh
History of Art and Architecture
University of Pittsburgh


University of Pittsburgh (History of Art and Architecture)

University of Pittsburgh (PhD)

About Donald

I have been writing and drawing since the age of 5, and earned a PhD in history of art and architecture at the age of 51! I am a lifelong learner and love sharing my knowledge and experience in text and image. I have taught students of all ages and experience levels one-on-one, in non-credit workshops, and in college classrooms, and large university auditorium courses. Subjects include art and architectural history and theory, writing (creative and academic), drawing, cartooning (comic strips, comic books, graphic novels), graphic design and image editing in Photoshop and Illustrator (and other page layout programs), and city planning history. I have strong interests in American and World History, Western Philosophy from ancient to modern, urban studies, and world cultures. I can help middle and high school students succeed in their preparation for college and exams of all kinds, and students of all ages in reading comprehension, proofreading, and editing of papers and projects big and small.

An educator must first understand where the student is at in order to help them take the next necessary step in their learning, whatever that may be. I strive to create a relaxed, supportive, and confidence-building atmosphere in which you can realize your potential and reach your goals, one foundational step at a time. While the immediate task may be the mastery of a specific skill or subject area (history, writing, perspective drawing, artistic anatomy, software mastery, test prep) or the completion of a particular project (a term paper, test, or creative work), my ultimate goal is to help inspire your curiosity and put you in charge of your own education as a competent and capable self-learner.
I have been writing and drawing since the age of 5, and earned a PhD in history of art and architecture at the age of 51! I am a lifelong learner and love sharing my knowledge and experience in text and image. I have taught students of all ages and experience levels one-on-one, in non-credit workshops, and in college classrooms, and large Read more

24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 20 miles of Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Background Check: Passed

"Good first class with Donald"

- Charles, Pittsburgh, PA on 11/24/16
Grammar, Literature, Proofreading,
Reading, Vocabulary, Writing
Elementary Education:
Grammar, Reading, Vocabulary

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

Adobe Photoshop

I have used Photoshop professionally as a graphic artist since the 1990s and continue to use it daily to edit images, add color to line drawings for graphic novels, and create original illustrations for print publications, digital presentations, and online distribution. I have taught Photoshop to students from beginners to advanced who are learning the program for the first time or who are seeking to master the finer points of image editing and prepress output. From basic cropping to subtle color corrections, layering, and choosing the correct resolution and file format for the job, I can help you unlock the mysteries of Photoshop so that you can put this powerful program to use for your images!

American History

I have a strong passion for American history from the first contact between European settlers and indigenous populations to the present. I am particularly interested in the art, architecture, music, film, and intellectual contributions America has made on the world stage, but also its political and social history. I am especially interested in contemporary debates involving urbanization, population, and the environment.


I have a PhD in history of Art and Architecture, and my dissertation research was on the planning of modern American cities, particularly their civic and cultural centers in the early and mid-twentieth century. I have taught university undergraduate courses in western architecture from the ancient world to the contemporary built environment, including modern architecture and architectural theory. I created an original course on the revitalization of deindustrialized urban regions. The study of architecture is not only about cornices, columns, and construction techniques; it is more importantly about the social uses to which buildings are put, and the human communities made possible by ever-evolving cities.

Art History

I have a PhD in history of art and architecture from the University of Pittsburgh. I have taught art history courses at the undergraduate level and have lectured in world art, American art, European art, modern art, contemporary art, and a variety of architecture courses. I have studied the arts of Mesopotamia, Asia, aboriginal Australia, and the ancient Americas, including Mesoamerica, and have a particular love for classical and Gothic art and architecture. I am also passionate about the history of American illustration from Harper's Weekly to the graphic novel. I am conversant in postmodern critical theory and aesthetics from the ancient world to the present. I have taught art historical writing and have led groups of students through small galleries and major museum collections. Experiencing art personally is a tremendous gift and studying art history is one of the most rewarding academic pursuits I know of!

Art Theory

Understanding what historians, critics, and theorist on art and architecture have written on works of past and present art and architecture adds to our enjoyment and appreciation of our shared cultural heritage. I am interested in art theory and criticism from Lessing and Hegel to Arthur C. Danto and Robert Hughes, and from classical antiquity (the Ancient Greeks and Vitruvius) to post-modernism, post-structuralism, post-coloniality, and gender studies (Clement Greenberg to Frederic Jameson and beyond). I earned a PhD in History of Art and Architecture from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013, and have taught undergraduate courses in World, American, Modern, and Contemporary Art; Western, American, and Modern Architecture; Elementary Art Education (Pre-K to 3rd Grade); and studio art courses in basic design and workshops in drawing, cartooning, and digital design. I also review books on art, architecture and other topics for a major daily newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I have more than 30 years practical experience in cartooning, illustration, and graphic design, as well as research and participation as an artist in gallery exhibitions.


Do you like sketching and drawing for pleasure? Want to develop your professional graphic art skills? I have loved drawing since the age of five, and have been a professional comic book artist, freelance illustrator, and graphic designer for more than 30 years. I have created numerous comic books and graphic novels for major and independent publishers, and created illustrations and logo designs for several editorial and commercial advertising clients. I have over 20 years experience as an art instructor for students of all ages, ambitions, and skill levels. You'll enjoy drawing more after a few lessons with me. When you're ready, I can help you develop your writing, drawing, coloring, and other technical and marketing skills to make your graphic novel or other art project a success in this competitive field!

Graphic Design

I have created illustrations and graphic designs for the publishing industry through advertising agencies, public relations firms, and comic book industry. I am expert in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and am highly skilled in most page layout programs, including Quark Xpress and InDesign. I am capable of troubleshooting problematic files and converting file formats as well as teaching compositional principles and basic design skills.


Even a best-selling author with a shelf of published books can use an extra pair of eyes to catch those typos and make sure their point is coming across clearly! Academic (assignment, papers, theses, dissertations) or creative (fiction, poetry, drama), writing is a process of discovery about what we think and what we want to communicate to others. By composing texts, we explore our private imagination and grapple with our understanding of the world. In revising our written expression, we hone our thinking and sharpen the message we want to convey.

I write stories published as comic books and graphic novels, and articles and reviews for newspapers and magazines--I also provide feedback to already-established writers. I also teach college writing and help students of all ages craft reports and term papers so that they may become the best editor of their own writing!

Whether your current assignment or project is big or small, I can help you focus your subject, polish your prose, and become the kind of writer you want to be, whether you're shooting for academic success, professional advancement, or personal gratification!

World History

I have taught American, modern, western, and world history through the prism of art and architecture as well as culture, politics, economics, and social history. I currently teach at several western Pennsylvania universities including Waynesburg and Robert Morris, and have also taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Carlow, and the Community College of Allegheny County.


I have been writing creative stories since the age of five, and have seen my work published in comic books, graphic novels, articles, young adult book reviews, and more. I have taught writing at the college level and provided informed feedback to aspiring writers of all skill levels and subject areas. I am an experienced Beta-reader of novel chapters, non-fiction essays, and term papers, and always provide clear, concise, constructive feedback to help you sharpen your work, clarify your argument, and make a professional impression! Self-expression and confident communication are vital for success in any career. Whether you are conducting archival research for a doctoral dissertation, or developing a screenplay for the next big movie franchise, I can help you take the next step in mastering the craft of writing!

University of Pittsburgh
History of Art and Architecture
University of Pittsburgh


University of Pittsburgh (History of Art and Architecture)

University of Pittsburgh (PhD)

Good first class with Donald

This is the first lesson I had with Don. He showed me his sketch book with his fantastic drawings. He taught me the basics of drawing. It was very useful to watch him drawing the ellipses and reducing the complicated human body into a few basic shapes. It's a good start for me as a beginner..

— Charles, Pittsburgh, PA on 11/24/16

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $40.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Donald will travel within 20 miles of Pittsburgh, PA 15205.