Jeff Zehner

Game Art & Design

Game Art & Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Jeff Zehner

Embrace change, because it often brings new opportunities. Jeff Zehner , Game Art & Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I realized I had art skills when I won first place in a first-grade art contest.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I use the skills I’ve learned making four internationally-released games, as well as running my own company, to make the classroom experience as real and relevant as possible. And I’m able to offer insights into how the industry has changed over the last 25 years.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I usually fashion class assignments to reflect the kind of deliverables that’ll be expected of students once they’re working in the industry.

In what way do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I make it clear that I expect the quality of their work to be up to the industry standard. Students generally respond by striving to do their best—and they often surprise themselves.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

Most jobs in the industry require working with others. Students should practice working together in teams to help prepare themselves for the real world.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

In this industry, change is constant. To keep up with all the advances in gaming, you need to keep learning.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Embrace change, because it often brings new opportunities.