My Mission: To Inspire!

Tami and Jim Henson

So I once again braved the hallways of elementary school. My mission: to inspire! Mission Completed? Failed? Impossible? The jury is still out, but I had a blast and I hope some kiddos did too! This time I was off to Beech Hill Elementary to speak with their kindergarten classes. Oh my goodness, these teachers have special cat-herding skills known to few others. I can barely get my one dog to sit on command…and even then, it requires treats!

The school has some skills of its own as I learned too. Beech Hill Elementary was just named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School. Representatives from the school are heading to Washington D.C. to get the award and everything…legit, right?! I was honored to be a tiny part of a good school doing great things.

The purpose of my presentation was to talk about what I do as an illustrator, and also try to explain graphic design to them. I try to point out all of the places where a designer’s work can be seen and the impact that work can have. The slide below was awesomely inspired by another designer in my same “career day” shoes. It poses a great choice that helps visually explain what graphic designers do. Even a kindergartner can discern the difference between effective vs ineffective design.

angry birds

As with any encounter with kids, the best part is the random things they will say. They crack me up! Here are just a few of the highlights:

Me: Does anyone have any questions?
Little girl: One time I poked myself in the eye with a pencil!
Me: Ouch! Does anyone have any more questions?
Little boy raising his hand with a “question”: Both of my parents are illustrators.
Me: Oh, that’s really neat!
His teacher, interrupting: Billy- your parents work at Boeing.
Me: Well, that’s interesting too.
Me: One of my favorite illustrators is Dr. Seuss. You all know Dr. Seuss, right?
Little boy excitedly raising his hand: I have 50 million Dr. Seuss books.
Me: That is QUITE a library you have.
And really, if I was speaking about creativity and design…who is to say if these were random thoughts at all? I would also add that anyone who has given a talk anywhere to anyone will tell you that excited random thoughts and questions from the audience beat bored indifference ANY DAY!
Thank you to Beech Hill Elementary students and teachers for having me join your fun. I hope you keep all of your random child-like joy forever!

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