To those reading, you have likely shown interest in lessons with me, reached out to me, or otherwise gotten in contact with me. Or, you're being proactive and have looked into me and my profile further, which I highly appreciate!
Whichever way you've ended up at this post, welcome, and I aim to try and answer the question of whether or not I would make an effective tutor for you, or whoever you are reaching out to me on the behalf of.
NOTE: In these times of quarantine and the threat of the COVID-19 virus, I am currently ONLY doing online lessons. I leave the at-home/in-person options available to signal that, hopefully sooner rather than later, this is an option that will eventually be available again, but for the time being, I am not doing in-person lessons at all. It is a service that, under normal circumstances, I would make available, but for everyone's safety, I work exclusively online, from home.
And, as a result of having to work from home, here are some current limitations to what I'm available to teach at this time...
It is currently too resource-intensive for me to teach students who exclusively use traditional mediums. Pencils, paints, physical mediums like this are hard for me to demonstrate live over a webcam setup, with a headset on and a mic setup, with my student on a computer screen. My attention is far more split when attempting this and it is harder to make lessons engaging. I also live in a rural area and am trying to quarantine and isolate as much as possible, so making sure I have plenty of supplies for consistent lessons is also difficult. The logistics of teaching traditional mediums online, live, mean I have decided to opt-out of teaching these subjects at this time.
In short, I do not teach students how to use traditional mediums at this time.
I have a lot of parents reach out to me on behalf of their children. These parents aren't always artists themselves, or only have a vague understanding of what kind of lessons their child could benefit from. The world of art is big and broad and maybe a little confusing for those who aren't already active and surrounded by it, so I completely understand when a parent approaches me, not realizing whether or not I can actually fill the role that their child needs. Here are some ways for those parents to decide whether or not I may actually be a good fit for their child.
- I am a Mentor, not a Teacher. This distinction may seem like semantics or splitting hairs, but it's an important one to what I do. I am not a licensed Teacher, I am not trained to teach, per se. I teach, and I have been teaching for some time, but I am not someone who has taught classes eight hours a day and has a strict lesson plan and curriculum. I was a workshop leader, a role model and mentor, an instructor, but not really a teacher. My skills are to act as a kind of creative consultant, to give my mentees exercises and advice and critique, to demonstrate concepts and fundamentals, to build portfolios and get high schoolers ready for college and college kids ready for work. I offer personalized and individual mentorship based on that person's highly specific goals and interests. I am not a Teacher, I am a Mentor.
- Do you know what your child really wants? Does your child want lessons? Again, I'm not a Teacher-- I'm not here to supplement the few empty hours of your child's day and keep them preoccupied or teach them academic topics. I'm not on this platform to lecture at your child about things they're not very interested in. Most kids of a certain age and with certain interests just aren't going to benefit from how I teach, and that's fine! So, please really, really communicate with your child and understand what their goals and interests are. So many times I'll ask to know more about the child, and I will be told no details about them, not even their name. It's not that I don't care about the parents, but I care about my mentee, the person I'm going to be teaching, even more.
- I do not teach multiple children at a time. While I have taught group workshops, the nature of teaching online makes this difficult now. And in those workshops, all of my students were of similar skill levels, interests, and goals-- I can teach a lot of different types of people, but not if their goals, abilities, and interests are too disparate. So, I can't teach your 16 year old and your 12 year old at the same time. I can't teach your traditional artist son and your animator daughter at the same time. This kind of falls back on the above statements, as well-- I'm not a Teacher, I am not here to occupy your children's time, I do not run a classroom. I focus on one-on-one development.
- Does your child have access to the required tools and software? In a nutshell, I teach digital art and software. Your child will need a graphics tablet and access to software relevant to what they're trying to learn. They will need a fairly competent computer to work from, as well. These things absolutely do NOT need to be top-of-the-line, premeire products, or industry standard, or anything like that (in fact, I highly encourage beginners to start on freeware and budget tablets, to even see if they enjoy making art this way without making massive investments), but for us to be able to go through our lessons, I need them to be able to screenshare (so I can watch their technique and give live feedback), and to be able to watch mine at the same time (so I can demonstrate and explain concepts in the moment). Your child will need software, a graphics tablet, and a computer at minimum.
- What about IPads and Procreate or (other app)? This is tricky-- because I have worked with students who use an IPad and apple pencil and Procreate or other software. However, we needed to use a third party application and a computer in order for them to screenshare. I also cannot give instruction about Procreate, in specific. I can teach fundamentals and how to paint or animate in general, but I cannot teach Procreate, as a software, as I do not use or have access to it. So, if those things are not an issue, then I can work with this, but it is not quite ideal.
- How old is your child? This list may tend to circle back on itself a bit, but these points tend to be interrelated. I believe sometimes parents see that I'm a multimedia artist with teaching experience and believe that I am able to work with very young children. And I keep my policies loose in order to account for potential fringe-cases and stay flexible. But I'll say here and now very explicitly, I'm not very interested in teaching your elementary school aged child, unless they have expressed an explicit interest in wanting mentorship. And, maybe at the risk of ruffling some feathers or furrowing some brows, I'm not convinced that children of a very young age benefit from traditional, one-on-one "art lessons," and even less-so over an online platform like Wyzant. Every child is different, maybe some could gain something from this kind of tutelage, but remembering being a young artist myself, the absolute best support I recieved at the time was just being allowed to express myself, being accommodated and enabled, being given tools and books and just... love and support and encouragement. Being made to sit still and listen to a teacher and being led through some kind of craft or painting was not the thing I needed, I simply needed the space to grow on my own. It wasn't until I was a teen did I recieve lessons under a mentor of my own, and that was exactly the right time to hone and expand my skills. I was given the choice to pick up a pencil, and it was my choice to simply never put it down. Again, this isn't to say all children shouldn't get lessons from a young age, but I want to challenge parents to really think on whether or not their child would actually benefit and enjoy it, and I'm not trained to work with children in the first place. I am not a typical school-level art teacher, I wouldn't even be allowed to teach in any public school because I do not have a teaching license. So, I don't feel suited or comfortable trying to teach children below a certain age.
I am always wary when I am reached out to, or when I reach out, and my questions about a child are never answered. I genuinely want to know: what kind of art is your child interested in, what experience do they have, what does your child want? These are important to me! Please, when I ask these questions, take the time to answer them! Because when you don't, I'm left wondering if the child has any input in your search for a tutor at all.
So, with those out of the way, I'll quickly summarize the ideal conditions where you/your child may benefit from my tutelage and mentorship:
- Upper Middle School/High School/College aged (and above)
- Explicitly interested in digital art, graphic design, and/or animation
- has a tablet and a desired software available to them
- Wants to build a portfolio
- Has actionable goals or a career in mind
- needs someone to boost their confidence and advocate for their creativity
- is very passionate about their art/medium of choice and has a desire to grow
There are other instances where I can be helpful!
- Do you need critique or a fresh pair of eyes on your project? Need a quick consultation?
- Want to learn a specific tool, tip, or trick? Learn how to achieve a certain effect or reach a specific result?
- Need some help with fundamentals and theory? Stuck on a piece or how to practice or improve, but don't necessarily need a full mentorship?
- Need artistic career or schooling advice? Maybe could use pointers on how to reach your artistic goals?
I'm available for all kinds of assistance, so I don't want folks to feel like they can't get in touch with me for fear of not fitting of a specific type of client. If you think I may be able to help, reach out, but be very transparent with me about what you need or are looking for!
There are a lot of other factors, as well. I am based on the Eastern coast of North America, so I am in the Eastern Standard Time zone, and most of my students are actually in other time zones. If you are in a different time zone and only have time late in the evenings, I may not be able to accomodate, as I have a household to consider, so late-night lessons are not much of an option at this time (I usually try to be done with lessons for the day by 9pm EST or so). I also dedicate my weekends to a mix of rest and working as a freelancer, so if you are only available on the weekends, I may not be able to always accomodate for this. I can sometimes make exceptions, but I cannot guarantee my availability, or schedule for weekends regularly.
I am not always able to troubleshoot your computer/software/internet problems. I cannot teach about software I've never used, I can't fix or troubleshoot specific computer or internet problems you may have. It is up to my clients to be sure they can operate their hardware and that their software is up-to-date and functioning. I don't teach computer science and maintenance, and I can only teach software that I personally know how to use. It does help when my clients have experience and literacy with computers (and in the digital art industry, I would say that this is somewhat necessary).
Do not contact me for freelance work over Wyzant. I will not accept your offer. I have other avenues of contact and specific types of work and audiences/clients I appeal to. I'm generally not going to be interested in or qualified for your project. Sorry!
Do not expect me to do a ton of work before a lesson for you. I have had individuals reach out to me saying that they have very limited time and that they need a quick lesson, but that I need to do preparations beforehand with specific materials. In one instance, I was contacted, scheduled a lesson, told to prepare an example for them, and then saw that they had no payment info on file. I am not here to do your work for you. Either you are interested in learning a skill or a software or are asking for my time as a consultant, or I am going to turn you down. I am not going to make your cover art, your logo, or your assignment for you. I do see whether or not you have payment info on file, and I will not complete a lesson with you until Wyzant lets me know that you will and can pay for my time.
I will generally not take on last minute lessons. As much as I wish I could help everyone, a lot of people come to me with problems I'm not fully qualified to solve in a short amount of time. When you come to me last minute, there's a lot of room for miscommunication, desperation, and then disappointment when I can't magically solve your problems. So, please, do not come to me with your last minute, due-tomorrow projects. The most I will do is send you some relevant tutorials or learning materials, and wish you the best and hope you can learn to say 'no' to things you aren't fully qualified to attempt on a deadline, or can use the experience to understand that art and digital projects are hard and time consuming, like anything else.
If you have made it through this entire post, great! Thank you so much for reading, and hopefully, understanding! If you have any questions about anything stated here, I encourage you to ask!
Thank you for your time and attenion. 🙂