Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work as a professional graphic designer managing clients, completing deadlines, and creating digital art? TPS’ Adobe Illustrator teaches students how to think like graphic designers. Taught by Mrs. Escalante, this course effectively teaches students interested in digital artwork how to turn their passion into a profession.
Mrs. Escalante explains how to efficiently manage time and deadlines. During the class, she teaches new illustrative tools, explains current and future projects, and leads class critiques. Through the class critiques, a student’s work is displayed while others provide input. This method of critiquing models what clients or potential bosses will use to communicate their desired design.
In our interview, Mrs. Escalante described her background with graphic design while also explaining the Adobe Illustrator course:
Me: How did you start teaching at TPS?
Mrs. Escalante: I was called to the director’s office and to tell you the truth… I was a little skeptical of what kind of conversation I was about to have! I was unsuspectingly being interviewed over the next couple of friendly conversations with one of the directors of TPS. She was impressed with how I took charge of the course, and handled what would have taken a few hats to coordinate. She surprised me and I was thankful to God for everything! We talked about several things: how I got started in graphics, my experience, my desire to teach, my spiritual background, homeschooling, family life and so forth.
Me: How long have you taught Adobe Illustrator?
Mrs. Escalante: I’ve been teaching Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop for the past 6 years and loving it!
Me: How long does weekly homework for this class take?
Mrs. Escalante: I require light reading, well-done project research, minimal sketching and designing digital graphics in my course which differs with every student. I would plan for about 3-4 hours, but it could be less than 1-2 hours as the months pass and the students get more familiar with the tools and projects. Besides teaching the programs, I teach life lessons, study habits, career goals, and scheduling. To some students, they would describe me as a graphic design mentor who helps them achieve more with the class and makes it easier.
Me: What is your background in graphic design?
Mrs. Escalante: I have accrued more than 20 years’ experience in multimedia, photo retouching, color correction, marketing, video storytelling, photography, branding, creative workflow management, and print/digital design. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors, earning my BFA in visual communication, concentrating on digital design.
Me: Do you have any advice to a student wondering if this course is a good fit for him/her?
Mrs. Escalante: This course is for beginner designers interested in creating graphics, and entrepreneurs desiring to build their business and brand. It could be for the freelancer, the hobbyist, or the artist at heart looking for the next level of illustrating. My courses are created to spike an interest in the arts and provide a journey of where it could take them. In some cases, it takes them to their first job, and I am so proud of their accomplishments!
Students begin by exploring Illustrator’s many tools through in-class lessons and workbook activities. Throughout the year, they complete four main projects. The first project teaches how to navigate Illustrator by creating a simple postcard design. Students explore creating colored graphics, and learn how to format information on a postcard. Next, students will begin their midterm project: the stationary project. The stationary project focuses on the concept of establishing a personal brand. Students create a logo, business cards, stationary, and an envelope design. During the third project, students learn how to sketch and digitally create a Bible verse design which is transferred onto a T-shirt. In their final project, students design projects for clients. They learn how to take what their client wants and transform it into a practical design that meets the client’s needs.
Adobe Illustrator, available for students in ninth through twelfth grade, is a wonderful course for those who enjoy experimenting with graphics and digital art. Through completing four major projects, students experience what it is like to be a graphic designer, and prepare for a potential career in the graphic design world.