Ask an Artist: What's a Good Workout?

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday March 26, 2015

One of the most interesting questions answered in the DART Artist Q&A is, “What do you like best about teaching?” 

Baltimore-based artist and designer Whitney Sherman answered the question in January. She wrote, “I teach at the Maryland Institute College of Art. For many years, I taught part-time in illustration and design (then called Visual Communications). 

“Through my position as Co-Director of Dolphin Press & Print at MICA, I was also able to work with printmaking students in publishing editions with Henrik Drescher, Michael Bartalos and Peter Kuper.

"Four years ago, I founded the MFA in Illustration Practice program, based on a course I developed called The Lab. As director, I teach a full load, but a good portion of my time is also spent on administration which is the academic equivalent of being an art director: find the right talent, match them with the program needs, and let them do their best.

“What I like best about teaching is looking for the places where things intersect, seeing what interesting things can develop from there, and getting students excited about that.”

Map Your Day, art by: Sandie Maxa, Sarah Jacoby, Dingding Hu and Martin Haake.

So I took a closer look at her recent book, Playing with Sketches: 50 Creative Exercises for Designers and Artists. Starting out as a designer in the pre-digital world, Whitney turned her illustration talents into client presentations. When she became interested in teaching, she found herself urging students to redefine drawing as a communications tool, rather than an activity, for example: an imitation of Renaissance master artists such as Rubens and Raphael.

Dream Resume, art by Stella Bjorg & Martin Haake

The book is a creative workout, “calisthenics,” Whitney says, “for the hands and the mind.” The book shows examples of artists from around the world from Zara Artelj to Jaime Zollars. Above and below are a few that looked like fun to me.

Playing with Sketches: 50 Creative Exercises for Designers and Artists by Whitney Sherman (Rockport) is available in both print and pdf editions. 

365 Days of Drawing, art by Daniel Horowitz.



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