Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Story of Great Teachers: Over and Over Again

Quick, think of a teacher - a schoolteacher, a coach, a tutor, a mentor - who changed your life for the better.

Did that person see potential in you when you didn't necessarily see it in yourself?

Did that person make you feel like you existed and were unique?

Did that person take the time to focus on you and your own point of view?

Again and again I hear the Story of the Great Teacher. And each time it is incredibly powerful. And each time, it is about someone, who wasn't your mom or dad, noticing you and taking some time just for you.

So much is said about schools, and teaching methods, and money, and all of it - charters, vouchers, homeschooling, unschooling, bla bla bla...

But over and over I hear the Story of the Great Teacher, and the impact they have on people for the rest of their lives.

And every time, it is about how someone took the time to notice and encourage.

So, while we run around making charts and giving standardized tests and arguing about budgets, maybe there is one simple thing that goes at the core, no matter how much red tape and ideology gets layered on top.

That is, the great teachers and mentors in our lives are the ones who take time to notice and encourage. Every student should have someone who notices and encourages them. Every single student in the whole wide world. Someone who is out in the world, the school, the team, somewhere outside the family, who treats them like a unique person. Perhaps this is the core of great teaching, the ability to recognize students' personalities and abilities and to acknowledge them as people. That's it. You can put that on a chart any way you want.

Here is yet another version of the Great Teacher Story - please enjoy.

A Conversation with Davis Guggenheim from TakePart on Vimeo.

Leggy by Gianluca Maconi

pin up cartoon girl
Artist: Gianluca Maconi (blog, portfolio on deviantArt)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Walt Otto

Walt Otto (1895 – 1963) - Vintage Pin Up Illustrator
vintage girl illustration
Walt Otto Walt Otto pin up
Walt Otto art Walt Otto vintage pin up

Winning Support for a Nonprofit - Design Thinking

I'm doing quite a bit of design thinking and sketching right now... finding the intersection between design and everyday life. Life is designed.

If you are involved in a nonprofit, or a school, or the arts, or anything else where you have to continually advocate, it is vitally important to think through your potential supporters' point of view. For example, you can't win a new donor if they don't know you exist, or a fan if they haven't seen what you do. Your job is to help them move along the arrow to the place where they are most comfortable. Some will just be an occasional patron, some will go all the way to being an advocate.

For each step, you ask questions and design your communications to answer them.

I believe that most of the effort should go into those bottom three levels - because a nonprofit needs many oars in the water to thrive. Having the same three ardent supporters all the time might work for some (like if those three supporters are all zillionaires), but it's not really a model that's going to work (what if they don't put you in their will).

If your work is good, those who are enthused about it will naturally move up the arrow.

So ask yourself, how am I building relevance for people who don't know I exist?

Life is Designed - Packing Lunch

If you are a person, you are a designer. I've been giving a lot of thought lately to how Design Thinking applies in everyday life, and how we might do it more consciously...

Designers are very organized about how they solve problems, and when you are a parent it seems you problem solve, on a very fast timeline, all day long.

Here is an example where I applied Design Thinking to packing lunch. Designers spend a lot of energy up front defining what problem they are solving. Parents do too, but it's often in reaction to their feelings and the opinions of their kids as opposed to an organized or proactive plan. Parents also do a lot of assessment at the end of the process, noticing what comes back unopened or half-eaten, what didn't stay fresh very well, what disappeared.

Interestingly the shortest list, "Implement," is where I expend the most energy, stumbling around the kitchen in the morning trying to get all the parts to come together into one lunch bag.

Also in my case, since we use washable lunch bags, there should be a step in here called "Is the bag all stinky from open food or juice that leaked all over in there?"

Life is Designed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Knute (K. O.) Munson

Knute (K. O.) Munson - Classic Pin Up
vintage pin up girl
Knute (K. O.) Munson Knute Munson Pin Up Girl
Knute (K. O.) Munson Knute Munson Pin Up Girl
Knute Munson Pin Up Girl Knute (K. O.) Munson
KO Munson KO Munson

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Funny Cartoon Birthday Card: Long in the Tooth

A funny birthday card with a cartoon of a cave man and his cat.
The inside of the card reads:

“Feeling a little long in the tooth…Don’t….you look great! Happy Birthday!”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fireman Sam

Bec Winnel

Bec Winnel - Arts and Illustrations
Bec Winnel
Bec Winnel Bec Winnel

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Funny Cartoon Birthday Card: Spring Chicken

Funny Birthday Card: Spring Chicken card
Learn how to sell artwork on

A funny birthday card with a cartoon of couple of “spring chickens” and a duck.
The inside of the card reads:

“Ha…..Ha…..Happy Birthday !”

Monday, September 20, 2010

Finite Thinking is Bad for You.

Do you think of happiness and prosperity as finite things? Do you feel like there is only so much prosperity to be had and you'd better get your share? Here's a sketch to show a choice you can make in your thinking - of course, if you see happiness or prosperity or Good Things in General as these finite things, you're going to get a pit in your stomach every time someone else appears to have something you don't. In a finite world, they essentially took it away from you, didn't they? Otherwise YOU would have it, and THEY wouldn't.

But what if you can just go make more happiness, more prosperity, all on your own? What if your happiness isn't part of one big finite pie, and you can just go bake more pie whenever you want? Then your happiness is a unique journey that only you can take, and no one else can take it away from you.

Funny Cartoon Birthday Card: Hard Body

A funny birthday card with a cartoon of a older guy with an ample amount of self confidence at the beach with the message
“Hope your living out loud, Happy Birthday” on the inside.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Creative Beast Gets Unstuck

A little sketch with some ideas on what to do to get yourself unstuck. Your unconscious mind is like soil, and your ideas and thoughts are like newly sprouted plants popping through. So keep the soil rich by pouring in art and ideas and trusting your unconscious to do great things with it.

Funny Chess Cartoon: Day at the Park

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lucy Truman

Lucy Truman is an illustrator who epitomizes chic stylish glamour and idealistic living, drawing inspiration from several sources such as modern architecture, retro interiors and 1950′s-60′s popular culture
vector girl
vector girl Lucy Truman illustrator
vector illustration fashion Lucy Truman
Lucy Truman
Lucy Truman art

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