Game Art and Design Hero

Game Art& Design

I want to put my ideas in play.

Welcome to one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. If you’re still reading, then you must be up to the challenge. And that’s good, because you’re also in line for a career where you can feed your passion for gaming—and turn the skills you've honed into a career where you do what you love. Your future starts in our Game Art & Design degree programs, where you can learn what you need to become a key player in the game creation process. Using the same kinds of technology professionals use, you’ll explore what it takes to get games into the production pipeline. And get yourself into a dynamic industry. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty*. It’ll put your talent and commitment to the test. But it could also put you in a position to succeed.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1753 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to apply design and art skills, both traditional and digital, towards game related projects.
  • Employ the principles of gaming, to plan, design, and create environments, level play, background stories, and characters.
  • Demonstrate the requisite skills in presentation, interviewing, networking, resume-building and game business knowledge critical to seeking an entry-level artist and/or designer position in the industry.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the skills necessary to create quality, game-ready assets using industry standard techniques and tools.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the managerial and developmental aspects of the game production pipeline and demonstrate knowledge of planning, budgeting, specifications, constraints, scope, teamwork, problem solving, and deadlines that go into making a market-ready game.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience

I'm ready to take intensity to a whole new level.

If you see yourself using your creativity to tell stories, you’re looking at a rigorous education. In Game Art & Design, you’ll start with the fundamentals like the principles of design, drawing, and color, in both traditional and digital art. You can build skills in game design, level design, 2D concept art, 3D modeling, texturing, and real-time lighting. The focus is on the principles of gaming, balance, and usability; creating the entire gaming experience; and developing games that’ll be used in industry-standard engines. You’ll explore the planning, scope, problem-solving abilities, and economics of creating a market-ready game. And through it all you’ll put in a lot of hours, work your way through a lot of trial and error, and find yourself challenged by other like-minded students. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet Our Alumni

  • The Art Institute of California - Sacramento alumni Aaron Leong

    Aaron Leong

    Digital Filmmaking & Video Production , 2012

    "My education helped me to learn the fundamentals of production work and taught me the technical aspect of video production."

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    Aaron Leong

    Owner of 4th Wall Productions

    Aaron Leong is the owner of 4th Wall Productions in Sacramento, California. He’s responsible for client relations, directing, cinematography, equipment rental, editing, and color correction. As a freelancer, he doesn’t have a typical workday. “One of the biggest challenges in the freelance world is creating a reputation for yourself. People have to know that you’re worth it, so with any job go above and beyond expectation to prove it’s beneficial to have you on set,” he says.

    Aaron has been in the industry for 13 years and describes himself as “committed” to the industry. He’s worked in theater and performance, as well as behind the camera in production. “The work is heavy at times and very light at times. Take what you can get and save for those rainy days.” Before studying at The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, Aaron earned a degree in theater arts from San Francisco State. He studied theater because he knew that he wanted to become a director. Adding in a degree in Digital Film & Video Production helped him to make that goal a reality. “I was hired to direct my first budget narrative feature film in 2015 and it has been an amazing experience.”

    Aaron, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Science in Digital Filmmaking & Video Production from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that his education helped him to learn the fundamentals of video production work. It also taught him the technical aspects of video production. He recommends that current students be persistent and stick to their standards. “Take any and all jobs that come your way, adjusting your rate for the position. Not only are they great opportunities to learn from someone more experience, but they are always networking opportunities.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1374 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Amy Devereux

    Amy Devereux

    Graphic & Web Design , 2013

    "[My] education provided a solid foundation of design knowledge, both technically and theoretically. There's no way to learn everything ins school, but The Art Institute of California—Sacramento gave me the tools to start my career."

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    Amy Devereux

    Amy Devereux is a visual designer at Envoy, a start-up company in San Francisco, California. She says that she focuses on the company’s branding, marketing, packaging, and illustration. “My day is usually pretty flexible. It's a good mix of independent focus, collaboration, laughter, meetings, tangents, and lots of coffee,” she says.

    Before starting at Envoy, Amy worked at a creative agency for two years. “I started as an intern during my final quarter at The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, and was hired on full-time post graduation. After about a year, I was promoted to senior designer.”

    She says that it’s motivational to think beyond school to broader career goals. “If you look at every assignment as a means to your career, it becomes much more easy to prioritize classwork. It's not about churning out 15 sketch variations and reading 50 textbook pages, it's about deciding that these things are important to you.”

    Amy came into her current position with a print-focused background, so creating pixel-perfect icons was something that she hadn't done before. She searched the internet to find solutions to problems—but discovered that nearly every article listed different solutions to the same problem. “It quickly became a game of trial and error. I had no idea how extremely technical icon design needed to be—aligning vectors to a pixel grid, industry standards, and the millions of little things that can go wrong through export. But it led me to discover that iconography is a new favorite type of design.”

    She believes that creativity flows most naturally in a comfortable environment. “This was something I kept in mind as I evaluated a new position. I like to surround myself with positive people who will both make me laugh and push me to be a stronger designer.” Amy adds that a clean environment with natural light is also inspiring. “Add a cup of coffee and some tunes and those bezier curves will be unstoppable.”

    Amy enjoys seeing her work out in the world. She’s viewed her illustrations at a conference in New York City, and used a branded Snapchat geofilter that she created. “It makes design rewarding on a different scale.” The products that Amy creates are constantly growing and changing. She says that this inspires her to do her best work—and she continues to grow professionally by working on a daily side project.

    Amy, who in 2013 earned a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education provided a solid foundation of design knowledge, both technically and theoretically. “There's no way to learn everything in school, but The Art Institute of California—Sacramento gave me the tools to start my career. As hard as it could be sometimes, I would [absolutely] do it again.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1376 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Angela Bowles

    Angela Bowles

    Interior Design , 2015

    "The small class sizes helped the teachers to keep me on track. Also, the instructors' attention to detail, from the beginning to the end of my education, required me to have high expectations for myself."

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    Angela Bowles

    Angela Bowles is a junior designer for HY Architects. She is responsible for architectural drafting, architectural schedule organization, materials selection, client interfacing, and engineer consultant coordination.

    “I work with Revit or AutoCAD to create construction documents,” she says. Angela also develops presentation kits that either she or a project manager show to potential clients. These kits are typically designed with Revit, Sketchup, Photoshop, and InDesign. “Our projects are usually healthcare based. We work on a lot of tenant-improvement projects, but we often will create ground-up healthcare clinics as well.”

    She says that soon after she started her job, she faced a challenge—her coworkers were not responding well to the attitude that she brought to work. “I was asked to put on more of a team player attitude, rather than being so focused on my own success in the firm. I did the best I could to be more positive and have a can-do attitude no matter what. About a month later, I was rewarded a raise for working on the problem. I learned that I don't have to have all the right answers, all the time. I am always growing, so I should have a growth-driven attitude.”

    Angela has also challenged herself to pursue architecture in addition to interior design. “Architecture can be so technical. But I am considering taking the architectural exams because of the support I've received from everyone I work with, and the support of the instructors back in school. I'm very thankful to be where I am, and also every step I've had to take in getting here.”

    Angela adds that she is constantly learning, and that architecture and design is a field that requires a 100% commitment. “People are always looking for a fresh look or new design idea. People going to healthcare facilities are often sick, and it would be incredible if I were [somehow part] in their healing, based on the design of the space.”

    She enjoys seeing a client’s positive response to her design work. “They have such good responses because they see the design how the end user will. It's a fresh take. Long hours don't always seem to pay off, but usually in the end, I see that the work is worth it, because I’ve learned something I wouldn't have known before.”

    Angela, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that earning a degree paved a path to her current career. “My education was instrumental in helping me [to succeed in] my current job. The small class sizes helped the teachers to keep me on track. Also, the instructor's attention to detail, from the beginning to the end of my education, required me to have high expectations for myself.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1377 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2015

    "The most beneficial aspect of my education was preparing me to work hard and work fast. Generally, deadlines are never as far off as you want them to be. The Art Institute of California—Sacramento really prepares you to get your work done as fast as you can while still doing the best you can."

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    Daniel Otis
    Daniel Otis is an art director at Bukwild, a digital agency based in Northern California. He’s responsible for designing and directing website concepts for clients. “I spend most of my day in Sketch or Photoshop working out concepts. Once in a while, I will have a presentation or a meeting.” He adds that a few times a day, he gives himself a break and plays the game “Warfish.” Daniel enjoys the feedback that he gets back from satisfied clients. “Any time a client reaches out with honest appreciation of my work, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. As long as they're happy, I know I've done my job.”

    Daniel began his career working at Digital Gear before Bukwild contacted him to fill an open position. “The experience [at Digital Gear] was crucial in getting me used to a desk job, as well as feeling comfortable in an interview. Without the time at Digital Gear, I most definitely would not have gotten my job at Bukwild.”

    At Bukwild, Daniel works with clients from many industries. “We’re constantly brainstorming new ideas and concepts for all kinds of people. Specifically, I had never worked on an e-commerce site until [a client requested one]. Having to be 100% aware of where CTA's sat on the page and thinking of all the nuances that people have while browsing products on the internet was very new to me. It really pushed me to put myself in a user's seat while designing. In the end, we increased [the client’s] mobile traffic as well as overall conversions by over 120%.”

    He recommends that when tough situations arise, it’s important not to stress out. “If you can keep a cool head under pressure, your work won't suffer and nine times out of ten, you'll come out on the other side with a great product and a happy client.” Daniel faced a difficult situation when a freelance developer he’d hired left with only a week to go on an important project. He quickly scrambled to keep his client happy while negotiating extra time to complete the project. “The end product was actually better for it. Aside from learning not to hire on people you're unsure of for a project, I learned a lot about how to keep a client happy even when there's an issue in the process.”

    Daniel, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that his education prepared him to work hard—and work fast. “Generally, deadlines are never as far off as you want them to be. Being on the quarter system at The Art Institute of California—Sacramento really prepares you to get your work done as fast as you can while still doing the best you can.” He’s thankful for the creative environment that he works in. “Keeping fresh inspiration constantly flowing in to our team helps avoid things getting stale. Bringing some fun into the office helps a lot too. Being able to laugh with each other keeps us all looking forward to coming into work every day.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Debra Ledsinger

    Debra Ledsinger

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2011

    "My education provided me with the resources to continue my education and to remain current in my chosen field."

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    Debra Ledsinger

    Debra Ledsinger is a staff photographer at Dorfman Pacific. She schedules and plans photo shoots, shoots product and lifestyle photography, prepares electronic files for print and digital media, maintains the studio, and communicates with agencies, models, art directors, clients, vendors, and internal sales associates. Each day, Debra commutes from Sacramento, California to Stockton to prepare the studio.

    She calibrates her equipment and begins shooting photos. Debra uploads the images into a server or the company’s content management system. “The more fun and interesting days are those where I do lifestyle photography shoots or when I'm photographing on location,” she says.

    She is proud to have optimized the company’s photography flow to a point where over 100 products are able to be photographed and post-processed each day. Changes in technology keep her on her toes—and she’s committed to staying up to date with the tools of the trade. “Sometimes I think I liked it better when we would get all of the updates in one lump sum every other year or so,” she states.

    Debra adds that being a photographer takes a high level of commitment because there is intense competition within the industry. “To remain competitive, I participate in professional organizations.”

    She experienced the benefits of her hard work when one of her photos was accepted for publication in Vogue Italia. She’s also achieved success in various international photography competitions. But she says the best measure of success is providing positive and memorable experiences for the people that she photographs.

    Debra, who in 2011 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education allowed her to make a career change and provided the the resources current in her chosen field. She recommends that students stay focused, even when schoolwork seems overwhelming. “Find creative ways to address your challenges, seek wise counsel, and create an anchor to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place. These practices will serve you well when the going gets even tougher.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Greta Miller

    Greta Miller

    Graphic & Web Design , 2013

    "I learned very valuable career practices in my time at [school], including time management, to be over-prepared, and to have a reason for everything."

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    Greta Miller

    Greta Miller is an operations manager and graphic designer at Signarama Nashville, a sign shop in Tennessee. She manages and oversees day-to-day operations and departments including sales, customer service, design, and production. She also designs custom projects and manages production meetings. “As operations manager, I work with and oversee all areas of this business. I work directly with clients from start to finish on their jobs.”

    Greta enjoys helping clients to determine the best way to communicate a message.
    “This includes custom products and substrates like flat-cut acrylic lettering/logos, halo-lit channel objects/logos, customized reclaimed wood, or standard substrates like corrugated plastic.” She also works on full and partial vehicle wraps, which she says are her favorite projects.

    Greta works to keep her environment creative by working closely with clients. She discusses design ideas and provides proofs. Today, she says that she stands out as a leader—even after challenges in the workplace involving a difficult co-worker. Instead of quitting, she sat down with the coworker to find a resolution to the conflict. While things are still not perfect, she says that she’s working in a field that she wants to be in and looks forward to coming into work each day.

    Greta enjoys hearing input from her team members. “Everyone feels valued, no one is afraid to provide input.” And she feels the benefits of her hard work through continued promotions and raises. “The best career advice I've received was from my parents. They said to treat any company you work for like it's your company.”

    Greta, who in 2013 earned an Associate of Science in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education prepared her for a career by teaching her time management, to be over-prepared, and to have a reason to back up her designs. She adds that getting her degree helped her to move up in her career and allowed her to feel confident in her ability to move up the pay scale.

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1375 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Jessica Roots

    Jessica Roots

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2014

    "My education prepared me with the basic skills to design, create, and build a website. Other skills [I gained] included photo editing, video editing, copyrighting, and building relationships with clients."

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    Jessica Roots
    Jessica Roots is the owner of a company focused on web design and development. She meets with clients to kick off projects, then works on three ideas to present. Jessica begins site development after the final design has been selected. She also helps businesses to set up social networks and marketing. “A typical day of work involves a lot of time on the computer. Depending on the client, I can spend hours building their website or editing photographs and creating copy. There is the occasional onsite day where I get to spend the time with the client getting to understand their business to make sure that feeling is brought into the website.”

    She serves clients including Shift7 Interactive, ME Consultation Services, Amador Autism Group, We Roast Pigs BBQ & Catering, Sina’s Backroads Café, Cockrell Family Chiropractic, Heather LeMaster, FundMeFlix, and Dignity Health. Jessica says that while school was challenging, she viewed it as a learning experience. “An unexpected deadline is always something difficult to overcome. I had one client change the deadline for its website and it needed to be completed weeks before the original deadline. We regrouped and decided the top items that needed to be completed. Then I began working and completing tasks that were on the list. We met the new deadline with a lot of hard work.”

    Jessica believes that success will come if you love what you do. “Some clients will be easy and the projects will be a breeze. Other clients will make you wish you had chosen a different path (only for a little bit). No matter the client, you must be fully committed.” Most of her clients are small business owners on a tight budget. She works with them to achieve their goals and to develop a digital presence. “Each stage of my job has its own rewards and benefits. Truly at the end of a project is when everything comes together.”

    Because web development is constantly changing, she works hard to keep her skills current. “I recently helped a client to update its website because it wasn’t working, [even though they’d] just had the website built six months ago. Most of the standards were incorrect and it was not created to be responsive. Responsive design is now required due to the fact many consumers view websites on a mobile device.”

    Jessica, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education prepared her with the basic skills to design, create, and build a website. “[It also taught me] photo editing, video editing, copyrighting, and building relationships with clients.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Jodi Burgess

    Jodi Burgess

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2011

    "I learned the most from the advice that guest speakers and teachers gave about what it is really like out in the design world and working with clients. [The school] did a great job laying the foundation of design principles that I have fallen back on over and over again."

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    Jodi Burgess

    Jodi Burgess is the CEO and project manager at Webinet Media. Each day, she meets with clients to determine their website needs. ”I will recommend and sketch out a few options to understand their vision clearly. Once I have a direction, I design out three options for the home page. If a logo, video, or photos are needed, I assign it to my team and set up dates for completion,” she says.

    Working from home means that Jodi doesn’t have a typical workday. She generally writes proposals and designs mock-ups for client websites. “I also do a lot of the photography and am the second videographer for video projects. I love the diversity of my work. Each project challenges me in new ways. “

    Jodi built up to her position at Webinet Media by working as a graphic designer at Adventure Christian Church. There, she designed and printed a weekly bulletin, event flyers and invites, advertisements, and campus billboards. Her skills quickly grew when she worked at the church’s fall family festival, coordinating up to five photo booths equipped with lighting, backdrop, and a DSLR camera. She was required to immediately rename the digital file of the photo to match the subjects’ names—then add in the church logo and date—all to be returned within a week’s time. “I grew in managing teams as well as understanding studio lighting [during that experience],” she says.

    She recommends that designers show patience and listen closely to client feedback. And while she says it’s a great feeling when a client loves the first stab at a design, that doesn’t often happen. “The truth is your clients don't really know what they want until they get the first mock-up. Don’t get discouraged in that process.” Jodi admits that she’s still learning the best way to walk a client through the process of designing a website. “They are usually very overwhelmed, excited, and nervous. I am currently working on creating a video explaining the basics so that I can refer clients to watch it before our first meeting.”

    Jodi cultivates a creative workplace by giving her employees clear boundaries, then allowing each member of the team to express his or her voice. She believes that this leads to strong work and she enjoys hearing clients say that they are pleased with the final product. Jodi also finds ways to work within client parameters—even when it’s difficult. “We are currently producing a documentary for the Citrus Heights Historic Society. Our challenge is to produce a high quality film within a budget. We have to limit the creativity because of limited time and money. That is a challenge to produce the best with limitations.”

    Jodi, who in 2011 earned an Associate of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media From The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education provided a solid foundation for her career. “I learned the most from the advice that guest speakers and teachers gave about what it is really like out in the design world and working with clients. [The school] did a great job laying the foundation of design principles that I have fallen back on over and over again.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1378 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Jonathan Trujillo

    Jonathan Trujillo

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2014

    "My programming classes helped to fill in the gaps from being self-taught. The networking opportunities [I had at The Art Institute of California—Sacramento] also have been the biggest boost to my career."

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    Jonathan Trujillo

    As the lead web designer and developer at Tytanium Ideas, a creative agency in Rocklin, California, Jonathan Trujillo is responsible for all of company’s web design and development. He also completes graphic design work for the company’s clients.

    “A typical work day consists of a variety of tasks. I could be sketching wireframes on paper or in Sketch or building prototypes with the InVision app to present to our clients for approval,” he says. He also utilizes Sublime Text to code approved designs. Jonathan is extremely driven and enjoys coming into work each day to create. “I have such an amazing opportunity to do what I love and make a living doing it. I feel truly blessed to be able to provide for my family by drawing and coding things out of my head.”

    He recommends that current students utilize the knowledge of their instructors. “Talk to your program lead and the faculty. They are great about working with you through challenges.” And once new grads are in the workforce, Jonathan advises that they take the time to ensure it’s still a good fit. “I think one of the biggest mistakes you can make is staying with a company too long just to keep a job.” He’s fortunate to work with a group of creative people—with office walls that can be doodled on. “I have fun little figures on my desk that remind me of some of my most beloved movies.”

    The creative environment helps him to find ways through challenges. “I am challenged to learn more about how to make the websites I build convert more business for the clients that hired me. It’s a huge win for me when I know that I’ve made a client money instead of costing them money.”

    Jonathan, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that his programming classes helped him to become proficient in industry relevant software. He adds that the networking opportunities provided by the school have helped his career. Today he is proud to have a successful career that allows his wife to stay at home with their children. “There is nothing more important to me than my family and I feel like my hard work has helped me to provide for them.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Julia Mills

    Julia Mills

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2014

    "[In school], I learned how to work well, both on a team and individually. [I also learned] how to properly design and program a website, and how to utilize the programs that are widely used in my industry."

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    Julia Mills
    Julia Mills is a web and graphic design architect at Utility Telephone in Stockton, California. She designs and creates websites, printed materials, and marketing collateral—and meets with clients to assess their needs. “I help [to] develop new methods to provide the best possible services to our customers.” Julia says that a typical day includes checking email, meeting with her supervisors, and project work that ranges from website programming to designing and updating marketing materials.

    Prior to starting her current position, Julia was an intern at Digital Gear in Sacramento, California. She’s also a freelancer. She says that one of the biggest challenges she’s faced in the workplace is that her supervisors aren’t always tech-savvy. “It can be difficult to explain certain things to someone that doesn't fully understand the basic concepts. I've realized that not everyone has my skill set, so I need to slow down and explain things in a way that will make sense to them. It can be painful sometimes, but other times it is rewarding.” While her current work environment isn’t particularly creative, she does her best to show the value that creativity brings into the workplace. “I feel that sometimes I am misunderstood or that my process isn't respected. However, I do my best to show that I know what I'm doing, and that I am deserving of that respect.”

    She says that seeing the impact of her work makes the challenges worth it. “This past March, [after] I had spent two months preparing all of our materials for a trade show, I was able to see all of my hard work come together and present my company in a very professional and cohesive way. I designed new banners, a backdrop, new logo, marketing collateral, and business cards—the works.”

    Julia adds that working well with others helps to build respect in the workplace. ”If you don't put everything into your work, it will be obvious. People will know that they cannot rely on you to get the job done, or to do it correctly, and they will remember that.” She adds that while school is very challenging, graduation makes it worth the effort. “I can't tell you how many times I was so close to just calling it, and walking away from something knowing I didn't have enough time or sanity. However, if you rise above that, you'll come out a stronger person than you were before. Maybe you'll even have a good story to tell.”

    Julia, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education prepared her for a career in web and graphic design. “I learned how to work well, both on a team and individually. [I also learned] how to properly design and program a website, and how to utilize the programs that are widely used in my industry.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Alumni Keight Dawa

    Keight Dawa

    Baking & Pastry , 2015

    "My education embedded the necessity to master the basics and work cleanly in the kitchen."

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    Keight Dawa

    Keight Dawa is the lead pastry cook at Centerplate at Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers. She is responsible for checking banquet event orders for the week, and works on production baking of cheesecakes, brownies, cupcakes, and other specialty pastries. Keight also delivers dessert orders to clubs or locations within Levi’s Stadium and cleans up the pastry department kitchen.

    She says that culinary arts is a demanding industry that requires focus. “When the going gets tough, keep your head down and focus on your work. Do not panic, get angry, or give up. You will truly never know yourself and your abilities until you have been tested by adversity.”

    Keight adds that she faced a particularly difficult challenge when she was working a vineyard wedding in a remote location with limited cell phone service. The temperature was over 100 degrees and the location did not have onsite potable water. “Two of the cooks did not show up and the caterer almost fainted from heat exhaustion. I was hired to be part of front of house, but I jumped into helping the cooks finish appetizers and finish the entrees. By keeping a cool head and focusing on the work, we overcame the obstacle of being short staffed. The wedding guests did not know we were short staffed and enjoyed the festivities.”

    Her ability to work as a team player has helped her to make an impact. She says that her team appreciates that she’s willing to do whatever is necessary to meet deadlines. “In the off season, we brainstorm and test recipes that might make it into the next season's dessert menu.” She’s excited to note that her hard work paid off in a recent promotion to the position of lead pastry cook.

    Keight, who in 2015 earned an Associate of Science in Baking & Pastry from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education prepared her for the challenging culinary world and that it instilled the need to keep a kitchen clean and functional. She adds that she hopes to become an accomplished pastry chef within the high volume production industry. “I am challenged to find the balance between creating high quality desserts while fulfilling the high volume demand of stadium events.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2466 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Laura Benson

    Laura Benson

    Graphic & Web Design , 2012

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    Laura Benson
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  • Alumni Marcus Flakes

    Marcus Flakes

    Culinary Management , 2012

    "I discovered that my entrepreneur and business plan courses awarded me an invaluable skill set that I was able to transfer into any business segment. Besides understanding the science of cooking, I was able to tap my greatest potential, which was writing, presentation, planning, and personnel management."

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    Marcus Flakes

    Marcus Flakes is a budget analyst and resource advisor for the Air National Guard. He’s a military veteran, having served in the Air National Guard for 16 years and earning the title of Sargent First Class and Chief of Food Operations. Today, he’s working as a civil engineering operations budget officer. Marcus assists the Base Civil Engineer with preparing the monthly real property and military construction reports and other special funding reports as required.

    He recently earned a Master of Public Health degree and is a graduate student at Texas A&M University, studying Nonprofit Management. Marcus is also finding investors to restart the restaurant “Marco’s Pepper Grill” and he’s working on publishing the book “The Aspiring Chef,” which focuses on restaurant and organizational culture.

    His current job keeps him busy developing programs for grant funding opportunities. He also writes grant proposals. Marcus, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management, The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that his education prepared him for a leadership role. “I discovered that my entrepreneur and business plan courses awarded me an invaluable skill set that I was able to transfer into any business segment. Besides understanding the science of cooking, I was able to tap my greatest potential, which was writing, presentation, planning, and personnel management.”

    He recommends that current students keep track of their goals and visualize success. He followed that advice when he found himself without a home after a relationship break-up. “I slept in my restaurant until a regular customer of mine offered to buy a hotel room for me for two weeks. I continued to open and close my restaurant on time and even attended Chamber of Commerce Business meetings for more exposure.” He soon received a call that was life-changing. A news anchor for KTVL Channel 10 invited him to cook on live TV. “I prepared my dishes with conversation about the cuisines.” It was a very nervous moment for him, but he pushed through and completed the segment.

    Marcus understands that different types of leadership are effective in different work environments. “The restaurant environment requires a transformational leadership approach, where owners and an executive chef use coaching and motivation as a tool to keep [employees] engaged. I have used this approach for years and continue to use it when mentoring youth in the community.” He adds that his book features a chapter called “The Nonprofit Restaurant Approach” that focuses on organizational culture.

    He states that when he began to take an interest in history, art, culture, sociology, and cross cultural psychology, he discovered a new level of culinary understanding. “I [found] my niche, [which came to include] Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, Cuban and southwest cuisines, stemming from the enjoyment of working with chiles, vegetables, and sauces, as well as certain types of equipment.”

    While his current job is not in culinary arts, he says that the philosophy of cooking remains a large part of his life. “You have to do, feel, or say something that makes you feel sane in the most strenuous moments of our life. You will feel as though a trial or tribulation you are having is either not worth the effort or even feel like it’s the worst day of your life.” He says it’s important to realize that each day is a new day that presents new challenges. “Our biggest challenge is time, therefore you have to be proficient, tactful, strategic, and physically and mentally ready for complex situations.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1373 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Alumni Michael Starks

    Michael Starks

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2014

    "My education [showed me] how to apply myself and have the desire to always learn more than what is given."

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    Michael Starks
    Michael Starks is a developer at Bukwild, a digital agency based in Northern California. He’s responsible for creating data structure for websites and front end development. “I collaborate with project managers and designers to determine data areas and then wire up APIs (application program interface) for front end use.” He utilizes Vuejs, Coffeescript, and Stylus for his front end work.

    Before moving to Bukwild, Michael was a lead web developer for Digital Gear. Today, his workdays include jumping right in to focus on the current websites he’s building. He also meets with other developers to discuss best practices, questions, or for programming sessions.

    He says that he faced an obstacle when he took a larger role in doing back end development for Bukwild. “I was not very comfortable in PHP (a scripting language) and databases, but with time and a lot of work, I am at a place where I can solo a project without much help.” His group works to implement best practices and new technology to make the company more efficient. This recently involved a large change in the tools the group utilized. “It was a challenge to switch so many tools at once—all the while trying to keep up with what I have been learning in PHP. But now, I feel like it was relatively smooth—we progressed and now it's amazing to look back and see what we used to use, and notice the efficiency of switching over.”

    Development requires commitment, he says, and lots of late nights and stressful weekends. “There are many times where I feel like I'm overworked but the benefits outweigh the downside for me.” Those benefits include working with creative people who share thoughts and ideas. “I often can contribute with my animation background, and I feel like it's a very helpful group that can get things done in an excellent way.”

    Michael, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that his education taught him how to apply himself and have the desire to learn more. He adds that while school and work can be challenging, developers should understand that trying their best is rewarding. “There are so many things in development that I don't understand, and probably won't ever understand, but I'm always trying to improve and I know eventually it will come. That’s the way it's worked for me. If I don't waste time stressing about something I don't get, and focus on something else that I do get, it works.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Neil Estaris

    Neil Estaris

    Graphic & Web Design , 2012

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    Neil Estaris
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  • Alumni Scott Killian

    Scott Killian

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2015

    "My time [in school] taught me time management and self-reliance. I feel more confident in my problem solving skills and in troubleshooting problems."

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    Scott Killian
    Scott Killian is a developer for EIGA. He develops and manages websites and marketing items. Scott says that a typical day involves working on current projects and meeting with the team to discuss new projects. “During the day, I will get projects like building out emails, brochures, or flyers for different contractors,” he says.

    Prior to joining EIGA, Scott worked at Joint Medias, a company that he says helped to prepare him for a corporate workspace. “[It] gave me room to grow and trusted me to manage projects.” He recommends that current students stay focused and meet goals. “Manage your time and don’t procrastinate. Get a planner and use it.” Scott believes that success comes from committing to lifelong education. “Once you stop gaining knowledge, you stop any forward progress.”

    He adds that his career’s biggest obstacle was overcoming doubt that he couldn’t do something. “When I let that [feeling] go, I was able to dig into my knowledge and can now complete any functionality my employer needs. Each day brings new challenges—he’s currently working on a membership-based website that his team built from the ground up. “When I started, I had no idea what I was doing. Now we have a fully functional membership-driven content management system.”

    Working in the web design industry, Scott has come to believe that nothing is impossible. And he says that the benefits of his hard work continue to pay off—both with a successful career and his own office. “[I realized that] I could live comfortably and wake up everyday doing something that I love. I still can't believe I get paid for doing this.”

    Scott, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that his education improved his business skills. “Learning to speak professionally and concisely during presentations was very important. My time [in school] taught me time management and self-reliance. I feel more confident in my problem solving skills and in troubleshooting problems.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Alumni Sean Ireton

    Sean Ireton

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2012

    "The Art Institute of California—Sacramento provided me with excellent foundational skills to get my first job, then to continue learning my craft while gaining real-world experience in the web design field."

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    Sean Ireton
    Sean Ireton is a UX (user experience) designer for Vision Service Plan (VSP), a healthcare provider. He evaluates and designs desktop and mobile-based experiences for the company and its subsidiaries. Sean says that a typical workday includes collaborating with other members of his team—including project managers, online market managers, front-end developers, search engine optimization specialists, and business analysts—to design, test, and implement UX solutions for the VSP’s member, client/broker, and provider portals.

    Prior to joining VSP, Sean was the webmaster at Benicia High School and worked in web design for Three29. He showed his determination to succeed by completing his Bachelor’s degree program in just three years—taking five classes each quarter.

    And while there are always challenges at work, he likes the fact that VSP calls its clients “business partners.” Sean recalls a time when he worked with a difficult client—which made it challenging for his team to meet the client’s needs. “All the curveballs thrown at us during those projects were always worth it in the end, because the marketing director could see all the effort we put into it and always showed her appreciation. I learned that even if a client is difficult, or the circumstances aren't optimal, to always work hard.”

    He adds that working on challenging projects allows designers to grow their skills—and having a supportive team helps. “Fostering relationships among coworkers is very important. Understanding how people work, and knowing how they work best will help you understand how you can work best with them.” Sean asserts that these connections result in the creation of successful products. “I hope to be making an impact on the importance of collaboration within an organization—especially a large one like VSP.”

    He began his job as a contractor before being hired as a full-time employee—a situation that doesn’t typically happen at VSP. “This helped me to understand that my skills are valuable, and that not just anybody gets a full-time gig with great pay and substantial benefits.”

    Sean, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that the print and web design classes, front-end development classes, and the overall atmosphere of his educational experience prepared him for the real world. “Some students don't put their everything into their programs, so you get what you put into it. I [put in the] effort and saw productive results. The school provided me with excellent foundational skills to get my first job, then to continue learning my craft while gaining real-world experience in the web design field.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info. Read More...
  • Tirzah Johnson

    Tirzah Johnson

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2014

    "[My education] allowed me to gain confidence with my skills, especially when it comes to dealing with critiques."

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    Tirzah Johnson

    Tirzah Johnson is a user experience designer and developer at Lumens.com. She creates a user-friendly experience in an enterprise-level software-as-a-service e-commerce environment. Her responsibilities include analytic tracking, web development, landing page creation, third-party integrations, enhancements, bug fixes, and collateral marketing material creation. “I start my day by checking my email and adding any incoming requests to my project management system. My work consists of me identifying and executing enhancements to our e-commerce site experience, to bring customers closer to our brand, products, and mission.”

    Prior to working for Lumens.com, she worked as a technology director for Digital Gear, Inc. and as a web and graphic designer for The Art Institute of California—Sacramento. She encourages students to stay focused and “go with what you know first.” Tirzah says that if you’re trying to build out functionality, create a list of what is supposed to happen first. Then figure out which part of the system you can create with your current knowledge and identify the parts where you may have to ask for assistance.”

    She says that she’s often surprised at how much she already knows—once she’s completed the steps of planning out a project. Tirzah adds that this gives her a sense of control when she’s tackling new technologies. It has also helped to motivate her during a difficult situation. “I fell into a place in my career where I wanted to build better processes, but I was surrounded by people who had lost their momentum. I took it upon myself to stop being upset about it and network with new people who had a passion for their work—like me.”

    Tirzah mentions that a website can change the ways that people perceive a company or brand—and that a passionate employee can make the difference between a good and a great end product. “[This field] requires you to constantly learn and evolve with technology and there is high level of self-discipline that coincides with that.” While she’s still new to her company, she’s working to simplify processes and has suggested new technologies to her team. “They now are using task management that allows us to brainstorm new ideas together in a way where each person can take an equal part in the discussion.”

    Tirzah, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education helped her to gain confidence in her skills and to deal with critiques. She adds that she learned not to be too attached to her work—allowing her to always think of better solutions. Today, she is excited to be in a successful career where she’s often receiving inquires on LinkedIn. “I am constantly being offered positions because of how well rounded my skill-set is, so I think that is pretty awesome.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1379 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...

What Will I Study?

Game Art Design Study Section

I have the imagination. I need the tools.

In this competitive industry, companies are looking for creative people who are passionate about the craft of taking a game from concept to market-ready. The curriculum for Game Art & Design will help you prepare to do just that, as you study:

  • Digital Imaging
  • Life Drawing
  • Drawing & Anatomy
  • 2D Animation
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Character and Object Design
  • 3D Modeling
  • Game Art & Design
  • Texture Mapping
  • 3D Animation
  • Material & Lighting
  • Game Modeling
  • Game Production Pipeline
  • Designing Interior Spaces and Worlds


I'm looking for my proving ground

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Game Art & Design is built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we temper the tough with the support you need to make your creativity marketable. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field and internship possibilities at successful businesses. Here, you’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. So if your heart is telling you that you belong in a creative field, you belong here. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

 

Meet Our Faculty

  • General Education Program Coordinator Woodrow Wilson Wagner III

    Woodrow Wilson Wagner III

    Graphic & Web Design

    "I want to elevate the intellectual spirit of my students to help them exercise their freedom as active participants in the society around them."

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    Woodrow Wilson Wagner III

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

    Teaching my first college class, in the fall of 1999.

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

    When I worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., I used political communication methods to respond to constituents and brief members of Congress and media outlets on legislation. In the classroom, I use some of those same methods to help students connect the theories of communication to the actual practice. Students have often commented how analyzing the words of politicians, entertainers, and religious leaders applies to their real-world endeavors.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    My media and political communication lessons are designed to help students appraise the impact of advertisers, lobbyists, politicians, interest groups, and constituents. I want them to learn how to use communication to exercise their freedom, understand the needs of diverse groups, and create unique and innovative solutions to make their community a better place.

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

    I’m reminded of the words of President Woodrow Wilson, who said, “We are not men because we have skill of hand, but we are men because we have an elevation of spirit. It is in the spirit that we live and not merely in the task of the day.” My greatest goal as an educator has been to elevate the spirit of my students by helping them become proficient communicators in the real world. I want to elevate the intellectual spirit of my students to help them exercise their freedom as active participants in the society around them.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    As the workplace becomes more culturally, behaviorally, educationally, and philosophically diverse, more versatile communication is essential to students’ success. I teach them to appreciate their own communication styles and the styles of others, and to use this knowledge to develop far more effective and productive working relationships.

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  • Image #1: Culinary Instructor Carol Thomas

    Carol Thomas

    Culinary Arts

    "Dreams can come true, but it takes hard work."

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    Carol Thomas

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

    When I started college classes, I knew food and nutrition were my passion. Teaching others about nutrition and its impact on their life and health has become a lifetime goal.

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

    I bring in executive chefs, sous chefs, and former students to help provide a look into the real culinary world. Students learn a great deal by hearing stories of what actually happens in a restaurant, on a cruise ship, in a bakery, casino, ballpark, country club, or food truck. I try to enlighten them, get them excited, but also show the realities. Dreams can come true, but it takes hard work.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I ask students to research a famous chef they may never have beard of. They come back to class and share what they’ve learned. It’s a great way to enlighten students about the industry—and how some of chefs became famous because of a new concept they created. It lets students see that the possibilities are unlimited.

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

    I always point out that culinary students can use some help in creating the visual that sells what they cook. Students often work together in culinary classes with graphic design students and photography students. Creating a menu requires knowledge of typeface and graphics. The right photo can enhance the presentation of the food. It all works together.

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

    I tell them that their education will give them the knowledge and skills to prepare food, but that the business world is competitive—and their success will be determined by the attitude they take to the job. They need to show up early and be willing to stay late. And they need to listen.

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

    Be open to what the masters have to offer. Combine that real world experience with classroom knowledge to create a successful career.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I’m passionate about helping every student achieve their dreams. I’ve seen so many graduates go out into the world and soar in their profession. Those students make me believe in what I do.

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  • Holly Agundes

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Keep an open mind."

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    Holly Agundes

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

    After taking a computer science class, I realized I could never work in a traditional business environment. I had to do something with art.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    My Graphic Symbolism class is learner-centered and eclectic, yet focused. It’s designed to allow students to explore their own individual style while they create a marketable piece.

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

    Collaboration helps create awareness of other industries...each discipline relates to the other, and these connections can carry on beyond the classroom.

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

    I impart confidence, awareness, and hopefully the ability to laugh and learn from one's mistakes.

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

    Keep an open mind.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I welcome any student, and any prospective student, to come sit in on my classes.

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  • Culinary Instructor James McGrath

    James McGrath

    Culinary Arts

    "If you want to get better at something, do it over and over."

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    James McGrath

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

    When I graduated college and looked at my career options, they all involved sitting at a desk, working in an office. That wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. So I dove headlong into cooking, something I’d done part-time in school.

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

    The classroom will never be the same as a professional environment. But our responsibility as instructors is to help students develop good work habits. We simulate the kinds of problems and issues that happen in the industry, so that when students experience them in the real world, they’ll know how to handle them.

    How would you describe your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I encourage students to ask questions now, while they’re still in school. I want them to leave with confidence in what they’ve learned so they can succeed in their careers.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    When students work in teams, each one looks at the project from a different angle. They each offer a different perspective. And when they bring all those perspectives together, the end result is better work.

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

    Practice. If you want to get better at something, do it over and over.

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

    Don't be too hard on yourself. Judge your work based on how it’s improved since the last time you critiqued it.

    Read More...
  • Culinary Academic Director Katherina Griley

    Katherina Griley

    Culinary Arts

    Be confident!

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    Katherina Griley

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

    When I realized that, in my role, I had the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life every day.

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

    Relaying stories of my past experience in the industry makes the concepts and theories more relatable and concrete, and I think it helps students to know someone who’s actually lived the lessons they’re teaching.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    My favorite class assignment, and the one that gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment, is recipe costing. Most Culinary students are terrified by math. Teaching recipe costing in an interactive, hands-on way keeps them engaged. Realizing that culinary math is really just addition, subtraction, multiplication and division eases the anxiety. Solving the challenge becomes a fun process—both for me and my students.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    It helps students realize that they won't be alone, that they won’t be expected to excel at everything. Networking with others to share ideas, and tapping into other students’ talents, is crucial to their career success, no matter what program they’re enrolled in.

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

    Be confident!

    Read More...
  • General Education Instructor Laura Hohlwein

    Laura Hohlwein

    Graphic & Web Design

    "The best work flows from your own genuine interest and passion."

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    Laura Hohlwein

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

    I’ve always been someone who loves making art, loves writing, loves teaching. My father was an art professor and my mother was an English professor, so higher education has always been a fundamental part of my world. I don't know when I stopped worrying about whether I was going to be an artist or a poet or educator, but I no longer see the need to choose. All my interests are part of something bigger—engaging with life and with others in the most meaningful way possible.

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

    My decades of experience as a creative writer and professional artist inform my class discussions every day. Even though most students aren’t aiming to be fine artists or poets, I profoundly believe that the creative processes involved in those explorations create skills that are meaningful and transferable to most creative professions. In the case of writing, that means creating a sensitivity to story, substance, and meaning. In the case of fine art, it’s learning to play, invent, and control the elements and principles of design. I hope students can see how much fun I’m having teaching them, and consider doing it themselves someday.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    A texture project I assign in Design Fundamentals exemplifies a basic idea I have about creativity: that creative people should learn to do two very different things very well— play and edit. In this project, students roll out butcher paper over tables. Using black and white mediums of every kind, they cover the entire surface, draw over or add to each other’s work, and crunch, tear, or glue the paper. They generate all kinds of visual and physical textures and reconnect with the simple pleasure of playing. Then they cut up areas of the texture to create a typographical piece, editing the raw material to produce a clear effect.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Life is collaboration. Collaboration is messy, and it can create interesting dynamics. People tend to be either leaders or followers; trying out different roles can expand a student’s range. It’s a great lesson to learn, since in life you’re sometimes asked to work outside your comfort zone. I think in general that it’s critical that we engage, as often as possible, with people with other interests, beliefs, and approaches.

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

    The best work flows from your own genuine interest and passion. The first step in any creative endeavor, whether for yourself, a client, or your company, is connecting with the purpose of making the product on a personal level.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I’m enormously lucky to teach such an amazing variety of courses, to work with talented students and our impressive and genuinely supportive faculty.

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  • General Education Instructor Mark Emerson

    Mark Emerson

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Be prepared. be professional. Be ready to work."

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    Mark Emerson

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

    I’m very fortunate to be able to produce artwork outside of the classroom that I can share with students. I think it’s helpful for them to see the process that I use.

    How would you describe your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I assign a series of projects that build upon each other to encourage students to grow their abilities. By mid-term, in my drawing class in particular, they're able to translate what they're learning into producing their own work.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    As an example, the window assignments with visual merchandising force students to push themselves creatively in ways that they haven’t before. After completing the assignment, they’re extremely proud to have work they can add to their portfolio

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

    Be prepared. Be professional. Be ready to work. Be on time. Be better than your competition.

    Read More...
  • Media Arts Instructor Mikiya Okada

    Mikiya Okada

    Media Arts & Animation

    "You have to learn to produce a high-quality product in a limited amount of time."

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    Mikiya Okada

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

    I’ve enjoyed creating things ever since my grandma taught me how to draw a cartoon figure.

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

    I learned so many things in school that I later realized were true in the industry. I share much of that with my students.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I always give assignments that, in addition to being the most effective way to build knowledge, I actually enjoy doing myself.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    One of the things students learn through collaboration is that there are so many career possibilities. They realize that things they learn in their own area of study could actually help them succeed in another profession.

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

    Everybody can be great at everything if they spend enough time at it. But time is a luxury that no industry really has. You have to learn to produce a high-quality product in a limited amount time.

    Read More...
  • General Education Instructor Morgan Giles

    Morgan Giles

    Graphic & Web Design

    "There isn't just one way to do or think about anything."

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    Morgan Giles

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

    I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school.

    How do you help prepare your students for the realities of the professional world?

    Although I’m not a veteran of one of the industries for which we prepare our students, I stress that each of those industries has certain expectations regarding professional behavior, and I do my best to make sure they’re ready for the challenges and rigors they’ll soon be facing.

    How would you describe your approach to inspiring students?

    I try to inspire my students to look deeper into the visual culture and seek out what their work, along with the work of others, suggest about the nature of humanity, our society, our relationship to the world around us, and our ethical responsibilities.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    As important as it is for students from different programs to work together, I believe that students and teachers also need to collaborate with each other. My door’s always open for anyone who’s having a tough time with anything we’ve covered in class.

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

    I tell my students to think for themselves, and I remind them that there isn’t just one way to do or think about anything.

    Read More...
  • Stephanie Lamour

    Culinary Arts

    "Be positive, be strong, and never stop learning."

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    Stephanie Lamour

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

    Even when I was a kid watching my father cooking in the kitchen, I knew I wanted to cook.

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

    In the 15 years I’d been in the industry before I started teaching, I’d been hiring students coming out of other schools, and noticed a lack of knowledge and speed in some of them. When I started teaching, I decided to make sure I’d show my students how it works in the real world. I talk about the challenges they’ll encounter and how to deal with them. For example, I let them know that here, they have all the space and equipment they need. But in the real world, they probably never will.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    For my mid-term and final practicals, students make their own food and show me what they learned.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    All our classes are team-taught. I teach students the importance of working together and communicating with each other, because that’s how it is in the industry.

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

    Be positive, be strong, and never stop learning.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I’m very passionate about what I do every single day. I have high standards, and try to be a role model for my students.

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The Art Institute of Michigan alumni Calvert Griffin [My education] helped me to learn how to be an effective teammate and work well with others. Calvert Griffin
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, 2014, The Art Institute of Michigan