Derick Flory

Game Art & Design

Game Art & Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Portland

Derick Flory

By asking questions, you make connections that can last a lifetime. Derick Flory , Game Art & Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Portland
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

When I was young, I did a lot of drawing, sketching, and painting a on my own. I kept hearing that art wouldn't get me anywhere, and I should focus on a real profession. But a few of my teachers encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Their words inspired me to follow my passion—no matter what anyone said. I ended up winning art and poetry ribbons in the county fair. That definitely helped validate my belief that I was doing the right thing for me.

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

Using what I've experienced in the field, along with the advice of other industry professionals, I try to prepare my students for what lies ahead. I convey the importance of meeting deadlines, time management, not being disheartened by negative critiques, and using the correct terminology so they can understand others. Classmate critiques, advice, tutorials, and tips really help bridge the gap between self-workers and team-based projects. That way, the students can get a better feel for the system and make the connections to succeed in their respective fields.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

Each class is different, and each assignment is intended to showcase a new skill and how students have improved as the term goes forward. I spend one-on-one time with each of them, and stay constantly in touch via email so I can inspire students and push them to ask questions. If you can where and how you can improve, there's no reason not to shoot for the stars.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?


Seeking out other students who may have skills different than their own can help them break through to the next level.

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

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or ask for help. I tell my students this every week. Someone in your class, at the school, in the tutoring center, in the job place, or online will know more than you. They may have found a way to get the job done in a quicker, more efficient manner. By asking questions, you make connections that can last a lifetime.

Anything else you’d like to share?

It’s a fantastic feeling to see the light bulb go on for a student as they make that connection between knowing what they want to accomplish and actually being able to accomplish it.