Valentine's Day Lesson

valentines day post

Sometimes I forget about incorporating holidays into my lessons. I know at some schools celebrating holidays has been frowned on, but so far not at my school (cross your fingers, hope to die..).

Anyway, I don’t always incorporate holidays, often I forget about them until they are just a few days away…so without further ado, here are a few ways to do something special for Valentine’s Day this year:A day or so before Valentine’s Day, say something like: "Ok, class, I want you to use everything we have learned so far to make a one sided Valentine’s Day card. Open a new document and make it 5”x7”. Have fun!”

  1. Another thing I like to do is point them to some online tutorials. There are tons of sites out there that teach step-by-step instructions for almost everything. Here are a few that I liked (but I have to be honest with you, I didn’t test them all…):
  2. If you don’t remember until the day of, and you are feeling totally stressed and guilty because you didn’t get as much done as you wanted and kids aren’t enjoying your class as much as you hoped and you are behind in grading and… my advice is to STOP, have some chocolate, and pull the kids out of whatever you have them doing and play a game with them. It can even be an art game. I mentioned one that I like to do in a previous blog post.


Don’t feel stressed about feeling the need to incorporate every holiday. YES, you are the art teacher. NO, you don’t need to feel guilty for the things you are too busy to do. 

Whatever you choose to do, just remember, that teaching art should be fun! Hard at times, yes, but fun nonetheless. If you have the time, try one of these tips out, if not, wait until next year. Valentine’s Day will be here again in 365. :)

Are there any tutorial website that you like? Let me know in the comments! 

Now available!! 9 weeks of Graphic Design lesson plans and videos


Disclaimer: This is an old post. If you are interested in graphic design lessons, go to the "All Lessons" tab to preview my lesson resources. Thanks! 


It’s HERE!!!

It’s finally here!! I am proud to announce that my first set of lesson plans and video tutorials are now available!

If you are interested in purchasing some graphic design lesson plans and video tutorials that will simplify the last half of the school year. Look no further, They’re HERE!!! Click this link to learn more about them.

If you are interested but not willing to commit, sign up for my email list (below or in the sidebar) and receive 6 FREE graphic design tutorials and see for yourself the quality of my content.

For those of you who pre-ordered, THANK YOU!!! Your content should be jailed to you by now and you should have access to all of this content (if not, let me know as soon as possible and I will get them to you.).

I cannot guarantee that my lessons will make your classes run smoothly, but I CAN guarantee that they will save you HOURs of time researching and learning how to do a certain technique, or wondering what method would be best for a specific project, or how to explain a project or assignment.

TRUST ME, I have been in your shoes and I remember what it was like to continually feel burned out and confused. Now is the time to take control and get the tools you need to be successful.

Have some questions about the lessons? Contact me! Leave a comment! I'd love to chat with you!

Relax and rejuvenate before the coming semester!


Merry Christmas!

I hope that the semester has ended well for you. I am specifically thankful for those of you who have followed me through my digital adventure. I have so many plans for the new year, both for this site and for my classroom and I really hope that you will join me as I add more lessons and insight to this site.

Be sure to do something FUN over break! I have been working like a dog over this last semester and I definitely need this reminder! If you are a workaholic make sure that you take some time off to BE with family or friends this holiday season.

What I mean when I say that is don’t allow your worries about school to take you from the people you love this Christmas. Take at least a day and don’t allow yourself to think about anything related to work. When your mind drifts to school matters, pull yourself back to where you are and be present with your family.

It is wonderful to be devoted to your job, but everyone needs to refuel. In fact you can take some of the stress off of yourself in the coming semester and purchase the 9-week lesson course and video tutorials that I have created for graphic design.

I am very excited to announce that it will be available NEXT WEEK! This is your very last chance to get the pre-sale price ($19) for these lessons.

But whatever you do, try not to stress. Worry only feeds fear, and neither of those emotions are any good for us!

Now I was hoping that you could help me with something. I have created a survey that outlines what will be included in my lessons, but I want your feedback. Is what I have created what YOU would want? Should there be something added? Is there any part of them that you would never use?

As I create more content and more lessons, I want to make sure that it will be something that will be beneficial to you. So PLEASE go to the survey and tell me your thoughts. I anxiously await your response!

PS: Here is the link to the survey:

Here is the link to pre-order the first 9-week graphic design lessons:

And don’t forget that you can sign up to get FREE Adobe Illustrator Introduction video series by signing up for the email list below or in the side bar.

Again, Merry Christmas! May God give you rest and contentment this fine holiday season!

Plan to Live


I have been toying with the idea of making a planner to help my organize my life. There are so many things that scream for my attention everyday (both at school and at home) that sometimes I feel like a gerbal in an exercise ball. Going fast, but going nowhere!

I have looked at dozens of planners and have not yet found what I am looking for. So I thought, "Why not make my own?"

So I am wondering, if you had the perfect planner, what would be in it? The sky is the limit. Lists, calendars, sketchbook pages, anything you can think of!

Below is what I have come up with so far. Feel free to try it, then come back with suggestions to make it better!

Daily Planner

Tell me what you think!

Illustrator Menu Bar, the Nuts and Bolts

illustrator menu

The menu bar is like the nuts and bolts for the Illustrator program. You can find some of the same functions in the menu bar as well as you can in the option bar and the floating palette.

However, the menu bar is the only place that you can save, save as, open, create a new document, and all the document set up that you may need.

When you get more comfortable with illustrator, you may not even need to use the menu bar. If you look to the right of many of the menu items, you will find a keyboard shortcut. This can be really helpful when you are doing repetitive tasks.

Illustrator Menu Bar

This is the LAST blog post in my 1 Minute Illustrator Overview series (although, it may have taken you more than a minute...). These are the things I wish I knew when I was getting started.


If you want a more comprehensive Illustrator rundown, check out my free Graphic Design in Illustrator introduction video tutorials.

In the coming weeks I will be releasing my first 9-week set of lesson plans! I am really excited and hope that you will check them out! Pre-order now for a 50% off price:

Pre Order My Graphic Design Lesson Plans

Illustrator Palette, It Holds More Than Just Color!


It is difficult to lump all that the Palette can do into one little explanation, but I will do my best to be as concise as possible.


As I mentioned in my 1 Minute Illustrator Overview post, the Palette is…well, a lot like a painting palette, only it does much, much more! You can change the color:

Illustrator Swatches PalatteIllustrator Color Palette

But you can also change the stroke (or outline) size:

Illustrator Stroke Palette


And maybe one of the most important, adjust layers. Layers are very important in all the Adobe programs. Basically, if your Illustrator document were a painting, it would allow you to peal off layers of paint and change colors or make other adjustments without damaging the painting! Wouldn’t that be awesome if you could do that with regular paint!?

Illustrator Layers Palette

A lot of the adjustments found in the Palette can be found in the Option Bar, but the nice thing about the Palette is that it doesn’t ever move or change. You can also add or remove Palette items as you find the need.


Again, this is a VERY QUICK outline for the Palette. These are the things I wish I knew when I was getting started.


If you want a more comprehensive rundown, check out my free Graphic Design in Illustrator introduction video tutorials.


More Illustrator run-down to come next week! But in the mean time, what did you think? Does this make sense? Comment below!

Option Bar Basics…REALLY Basic

option bar

The option bar is directly related to the object you have selected. It gives you…wait for it…options for the object.


For example, if you have a text box selected, you would expect to be able to change the font, text size, text orientation, color, etc:

Option bar with text selected


If you have a shape selected, you can change the fill color (inside), the stroke color (outline), or perhaps the opacity:

Option bar with shape selected

If you have an image selected, you will be given options for it’s placement on the page:

Option bar with image selected

This is an easy one to understand. Just remember that it changes with the object you have selected and it will give you specific options based on what the object is.

Again, this is a VERY QUICK outline for the tools. These are the things I wish I knew when I was getting started.


If you want a more comprehensive rundown, check out my free Graphic Design in Illustrator introduction video tutorials.

Did I leave anything out? Is there anything that is confusing you? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Tools to Get Started in Illustrator


The tools panel is what controls everything you do in Illustrator.


Just like you wouldn’t be able to use a hammer to screw in a screw, if you don’t have the right tool or don’t know how to use the right tool in Illustrator, you will be unable to do achieve the effect that you are looking for.


When looking at the tools in the toolbox, I like to start with the most simple of tools. No matter what version of Illustrator you have (mine is CS6), your version will have these simple tools:

  • Selection Tool (Black Arrow): This tool allows you to move things (objects, text boxes, or images) around and resize them.
Selection Tool
  • Pen Tool: Truth be told, this tool takes some practice to get it figured out. I plan to have a more in depth discussion on it at a later date. But basically, it is a very precise line tool. You can make curves or straight lines in one fail swoop!
Pen Tool
  • Type Tool: You guessed it…you type with it! You have two options when using the type tool, you can either single click and then your type will continue on one line forever. Or you can click and drag to make a box. If you do this then your type will stay inside the box you draw.
Text ClickText Box
  • Shape Tool: There are a number of shapes that you can whip out in Illustrator. I am not going to get in to specifics here, but if you click and hold on the shape tool, you can see the default shapes. Once your shape is selected, just click and drag your curser to create your shape.
Shape Tool
  • Color Picker: The color picker is important not only to select the color of the shape, but also to select the stroke (or outline) of the shape. Simply select the object you want to recolor, then double-click the color picker to change the color. If you double-click the solid box you will be changing the fill (or the inside of the shape) and if you double-click the box with a square cut out of the middle you will be changing the stroke (or outline).
Color Picker


Again, this is a VERY QUICK outline for the tools. These are the things I wish I knew when I was getting started.


If you want a more comprehensive rundown, check out my free Graphic Design in Illustrator introduction video tutorials.


More Illustrator run-down to come next week! But in the mean time, what did you think? Did you think there are any tools I left out?

1 Minute Illustrator Overview


Don’t make Adobe Illustrator this big ugly hard thing that you can’t do because you don’t understand it. Like all things worth learning, it is going to take some time to learn all the nuances of the program.


But here is a quick introduction to help you on your way that may make the learning curve shorten a bit:

  1. Tools - The tools are the core of the Illustrator program. The tool that you choose will determine what you are going to do on your open document. When something is not working the way you think it should, check the tool that you have selected. When you find a white line across the middle of your design, it may be that you have the Eraser tool selected when all you were trying to do is move an object from the left to the right of your document.
  2. Option Bar - This is related to the object that you have selected. For example, if you have a text box selected, then the option bar will give you options to modify your text (i.e. font, size, alignment, etc.). If you have a shape selected, then the option bar will give you options to modify your shape (color, stroke or outline, opacity, etc.).
  3. Palette - Think of the floating palette as a painting palette, only this one is customizable. Instead of just finding and selecting colors, you can also control stroke size, make gradients, store brushes and specific colors you are working with, and much more!
  4. Menu Bar - The menu bar is similar to the menu bar in many other software programs. This is where you go to open, save, and create new documents, but you can also find many of the same functions that the floating palette or option bar hold. Illustrator (and PhotoShop) tries to make it easy on you by having about 20 different ways to complete any given task you are trying to accomplish.


In the weeks to come, I will be diving into each of these topics in greater detail, stay tuned for more great content!


What do you think? What is confusing you about Illustrator?

IT'S HERE!!! High School Graphic Design in Adobe Illustrator Video Tutorial!!! FREE!!!


Disclaimer: This is an old post. If you are interested in graphic design lessons, go to the "All Lessons" tab to preview my lesson resources. Thanks!


They are finally finished!

Sign up for my email list below (or in the side bar) to try them out TODAY!

These videos outline the elements of design as the students learn Adobe Illustrator. It's like killing two birds with one stone! The lesson outlines line, shape, color, value, space, and texture. It also takes the students through the basics of using the Illustrator program: opening a page, adding new artboards, using specific tools, etc.

If you like these videos, you can pre-order my nine-week lesson plan pack which will be ready by the New Year (2016). These lessons include video tutorials, lesson plans aligned to the National Core Arts Standards, PowerPoint presentation, detailed Examples, and more!

If you try these video tutorials, let me know! I want to know if you like them or if there is anything which could be done better! Thanks in advance!