Notes on SF: Travel as part of the educational process

The San Francisco trip was my last ISDP trip with my graduate degree in illustration. I am somewhat bittersweet about the journey and the multiple paths it has taken. I have seen, experienced and engaged in so much with such a range of people that this study has been a blessing and gift for me. The travel is key to the program as it reinforces whatever path you are at the time. The exposure to such a wide range of speakers combined with the self teaching that the travel provides to each individual is jarring and revealing in the mystery of what one learns. Sometimes it’s a direct hit, an immediate “Yes!”. Sometimes the lessons are more prolonged--happening over time--providing support as the bumps emerge or the questions remain unanswered. But for a week, you walk in other people’s shoes; you see what they are doing, how they do it, and what their hopes, goals and aspirations are at that moment. These presentations are another measure for an illustrator to say, “hey, this is where I am” or “I could do something like that” creating options that may not have presented themselves otherwise.

With Hartford’s program, it’s even richer as it has Murray and Carol Tinkelman. They provide their combined experiences as an illustration and education team--along with deep friendships with many of the speakers that one gets carried along with the current of these relationships. Just a small example is that Carol encourages us to contact those speakers who we responded to and write a quick thank you note. I did this with Don Ivan Punchatz and have had some nice conversations with him post trip. He is another guide that I have acquired on this path to learn and grow--another branch in the progress, another person to talk and lean on. The amazing collegiality of these professionals is generous, kind and they all seem to want to reach out, to teach, to inform.

Our trips inspire others. It was so wonderful to hear Courtney Granner and Robert Hunt, in two separate instances, make a point of telling Murray Tinkelman that they too, were taking their students on the road to learn, listen and see illustration in
different cities with different orientations and markets. You could hear the pride and excitement in their voices as they embrace this other way to teach and learn. It is to the Tinkelman’s credit that this universe continues to expand organically--giving and taking, learning and teaching, adding and building the community of illustrators and image makers. It is a sweet cycle that I am honored to have been included in. It will continue as will the conversations, relationships, ideas and personal evolution now that new groups are integrating this into their learning.