To teach is to learn

I am a teacher in Magdalena Abakanowicz Art University in Poznan, specifically, I teach Narrative Language in Drawing or, as it has come to know, just comics.

I would be lying if I’d tell you that everything’s wonderful and teaching was my calling all along, but I’m no nun or shepherd and life ain’t that easy too. Of course, I do enjoy teaching and, though lately it has been a challenge due to the situation that shall not be named, it has been quite a journey.

It is a thrill when you step into a class to showcase something that you truly believe in, that you are passionate about, and allow others to discover it. I know it sounds cheesy but: when I see my students thrive, it´s always, a parental proud moment for me.

I would be foolish if I didn’t learn from my students, who are younger, more talented and fuller of ideas. Yes, I obviously know more than them in what I teach them, but that doesn’t take away one fact:

No matter what, being a teacher is being constantly learning.

It’s true that there’s a limitation to that, but, in all honesty, if you pay attention, there are always gems you can pick up from them. I wouldn’t say that these have shifted the way I draw…it has been only two years after all, but it has affected many projects and ideas that have expanded in other directions.

As a teacher, and as I mentioned earlier, I just want them to discover the possibilities and the true magic about telling stories through the medium of comic. At the end of the day, that’s what once someone else did for me.

Studying “art”

Regarding studying I can honestly say that if I hadn´t been to Art College, I wouldn´t be the person I am today and I probably wouldn´t be doing what I´m doing now, which is doing what I love.

Of course, going to art school it’s always a nice way to enhance your abilities, to discover other points of view and grow as an artist overall. And though you could do all these things on your own, it is much easier, way more fun and interesting if you have hundreds of inputs around you at all times -being those from teachers or classmates.

Of course, not all is a bed of roses, but now that it has been a while, I can say that it was an incredible experience. What I´d like to mention, however, is that you might get judgemental more easily and run the risk to act like someone who would have a groom up their ass.

Once in a while you just have to check yourself and get back to reality.

Personally, I couldn´t care less if an artist is classically trained or not. What I’m interested in is not the artist’s background, life or anecdotes but their work. If there is artistic value in what they do, who’s to judge them by the fact that they are self-taught or that they might have attended art class for 20 years? Honestly, who cares?

As humans, we are scared to see other people being good at doing what we do, particularly if they are naturally gifted and if we had to endure years of hard work instead. It might seem unfair, but to me, that’s the irony in Arts.

Creation & Artistry

I don’t have a precise schedule regarding my creative process. However, even though we enjoy what we do, whatever an artist creates is work, it takes effort and time.

Sometimes I get so caught up in what I’m doing that I can spend 12 hours a day working. But obviously I have to be a functional human being, so from time to time I have to stop myself and prepare food, clean the mess in my apartment or go to the groceries store.

Of course, these periods of hour-long working only happen when I don’t have any classes or other tasks related to my job as a teacher. But it’s true that I normally spend at least half of my day drawing, now more than ever.

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