Get off the train once in a while

October 6, 2015 by Andrew Robinson in

I’m taking a class this semester and it’s been very eye opening, literally.

I decided I wanted to up my game so to speak with my own graphic design work. I have, on occasion, done some graphic work for OTN and lately I have found that I tend to go back to the same patterns of thinking and creating. It was a little frustrating because I knew there was a better way but I needed something to unlock my creativity.

I reached out to Ken Harper, one of the graphic design professors, and he agreed to let me sit in on his graphic design class. GRA 217 is the first graphics class that many of our Newhouse students take so it’s a very big class, about 30 to 35 students. So in fairness to his requirements for his students I told him that I didn’t need a grade and that I would not submit my work for his critique as he had way too much to do for his “real” students.

So I sit in the back, the last row, and two things have happened so far. I discovered that my eyeglasses prescription is grossly off (the screen at the front of the class is only clear when I shut one eye) and second, this class is teaching me to look at design very differently.

I think I’m learning something.

I’m learning a lot about design but I’m also being reminded to get my head out of the sand to challenge myself and try something different.

Working at my position here at OTN is kind of like being on a train. We left the station on August 31st, the first day of class, and we’ll arrive at our destination on December 11th, the last day of class.

In between then we’ll experience moments of joy, boredom, problems, issues, excitement, satisfaction, disappointment and a whole range of emotions and accomplishments. But the train is always moving and you can’t get off until we hit the station on December 11th. And then we do it all over again in January.

So there is a tendency on my part to just kind of hunker down, try to keep the train on schedule, make sure everyone is safe and make the ride as fun as possible for my “passengers.”

But taking this class has reminded me that I need to keep an eye out for the engineer (me) too. It’s good to get off the train once in a while, see what other people are doing and how they are doing it. I have watched Ken’s teaching style and that too has been eye opening. He has an engaging, eccentric style that I like. And he really knows his stuff! See that italics? That signifies movement, advancement . . . I learned that in his class ☺

We’re not half way through this ride yet and it feels like we’ve been on this train for quite a while. But I’m very glad I decided to get off the train every Monday and Wednesday at 2:15PM and visit Ken Harper’s class.

It’s been good for me and I hope, for my passengers too.

Andy- The GM