Last week I shared my intention to spread some holiday cheer in unexpected places. And I invited you to join me.
Five random acts of kindness by the end of the year.
#1: I decided to write a letter [email] of gratitude to a teacher from design school. Jeff Kleinsmith is a brilliant designer. He runs a studio called Patent Pending Industries with the equally talented and venerable Jesse LeDoux, and is the Art Director for Sub Pop Records in Seattle. Jeff designs gig posters and album covers for a living. How cool is that?
It is highly unlikely that he remembers who I am, but I will never forget the class I took from him at SVC.
On the first day, I still remember sitting outside in my car, palms sweaty, willing myself to get up and walk through the door to his classroom. My stomach in knots, I was intimidated by his rockstar reputation. And still very unsure of my own talent.
For all 12 weeks of his class, I lived miles outside of my comfort zone. We did collage work and we drew our type by hand whenever possible. We designed CD covers and posters.
He told us we should spend at least as much time, probably more, on our typography than on our imagery and layout. He told us if we weren’t evolving and trying new things, he wasn’t interested in what we were doing. And at the end of class, in his evaluation, he told me I had a very interesting illustration style.
That may not sound like much, but it was the first time anyone had ever called me an illustrator. Wow. Me? An illustrator? The idea took slowly root. It was something I hadn’t even considered, believing that the designation of illustrator applied only to those talented few who could draw with perfect realism.
As my sketchbooks can attest, I do not draw with perfect realism.
I may not hear anything back from Jeff– I’m not in it for the response. I hope he received my message of gratitude, and if only for a moment, that it made his day just a little brighter.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou