How I learned to turn on creativity like a faucet (dueling art professors)

How I learned to turn on creativity like a faucet (dueling art professors)

So, I went to college for graphic design, and I took a lot of drawing and illustration classes.

I had these two teachers who were so completely opposite, it made me feel like they were doing it on purpose. I’ve changed names, appearances, etc. for protection - mostly my protection, because I don’t want to be hunted down. 

Their names were (but weren’t really) Mr. Octavian


and Mr. Kringlefritz.

Do those names sound too “made up”? I’m never sure about the etiquette of changing names. Oh, well.

These two teachers were about to wage a philosophical war in my cranium.

Mr. Octavian

Mr. Octavian was a teacher who seemed to be coasting towards early retirement. 

His classes were little more than artistic study hall. He’d say a word to two about the assignment, then he’d go mess around on his computer. He gave us the option to leave if we wanted too. Most of us did, so we ended up spending maybe 15 minutes in class every week. He’d say

He didn't care when we turned in the assignments, because our creativity must be allowed room to breathe.

His feedback was kind of like this:

I appreciated the extra time - I didn’t want to be in class, and I could get my assignments done faster than most people, so Mr. Octavian’s style worked for me. I didn’t learn a whole lot, and expectations were so incredibly low. I would just give 50% effort to my work, turn the paintings, drawings, and sculpture in on time, and get amazing grades, just like every other class I didn’t care about.

Of course, this made me one of the most studious of the class. There was one guy I knew who wasn’t just skilled at procrastination: he’d perfected it, to the point that it was almost an art form. His name was (but wasn't) Theo.

He had guts - for one of mr. Octavian’s drawing classes, in which we had weekly assignments, Theo turned in every assignment for the entire semester the day AFTER the final.

His final grade? B.

Mr. Kringlefritz

Then, there was Mr. Kringlefritz. He was the polar opposite to Mr. Octavian, the rebalancing of the universe - I got to slack off in Mr. Octavian’s classes, so destiny created Mr. Kringlefritz to smack me around. He was terrifying.

A couple of Mr. Kringlefritz’s rules:


There were times in his classes when he’d just put some poor college kid through the ringer that I wasn’t sure I could continue:


Now, remember what Mr. Octavian said:


When I was terrified, under Mr. Kringlefritz's demanding thumb, I found that I actually could turn creativity on like a faucet, very reliably! My logic went like this:

Guess what else I found that I could turn on like a faucet? Punctuality and responsibility. Who knew?

So -

After a brief stay in the "creativity must alight on your shoulder like a butterfly" camp, I packed my art supplies and moved on.




My time as a fugitive

My time as a fugitive