Graphic & Web Design
Graphic Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Phoenix
Slightly uncomfortable? Good. That means you're growing. Alison King , Graphic Design Instructor
, The Art Institute of Phoenix
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
It all came together for me in high school. I loved design, but had no idea what I was doing. I kept at it, and as a senior I became yearbook editor. I loved the challenge of publication design so much, I decided to apply to a New York City design school. My commitment to working in the arts started the day I stepped on that plane.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I have the battle scars from working in our industry, so I’m able to show my students the value of resilience. Life throws curve balls, and being able to improvise and pivot is important if you’re going to succeed in this fast-paced profession.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
First-year students can be overwhelmed by expectations, so I offer one of my favorite mantras: "How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time." In my observational drawing class, each lesson focuses on a skill such as sighting or perceiving values, and by midterm we start putting those skills together in concert, like a symphony. Students are often surprised how eye-opening a few simple lessons can be.
How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
Slightly uncomfortable? Good. That means you’re growing. Students often don't know how far they can go until they’ve been pushed outside their comfort zone. I remind them that the pain, awkwardness, suffering, and self-doubt are only temporary—once the job's done, they’ll want to sign up to do it all over again.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
I tell my students that it takes thousands of hours to truly master something. Practicing your craft every day is so important.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Find mentors you admire, and make yourself indispensable to them. Work for free on something you're passionate about; Volunteer: It's some of the best networking out there.