Before I joined the teaching profession, I worked as a graphic designer for a Real Estate agency and I wrote technical / user manuals for a computer company. I am too out-going for solitary professions, however, and switched to the very fulfilling career of teaching. I never did lose my love of graphic design. Here’s some examples of things I’ve done for my school.
School Bulletin Advertisements
You know the old saying, “If you want something done right, ask the busiest person you know?” Well, besides teaching, clubs, and productions, I also do the graphics design work for the different NIS advertising that are put into the weekly parent bulletins.
Programmes for School Departments
I like supporting my school as a whole, which means I do a lot for other departments as well. In particular, I always do the graphics / programmes for the North East Asian Mathematics Competition (NEAMC) when it is hosted at NIS.
I’m including the download links, in case you want to see what a typical programme looks like for events. I was also the lead organiser of the ACAMIS Cultural Convention at our school, and for that I not only made the programme, but organised / created the content inside as well.
The NIS Performing Arts Centre backdrop is 14 X 7 m in size, which means backdrops are big. Really big. To make a backdrop, it’s important to use Illustrator’s vector files so that they can be blown up to very large proportions while still maintaining crisp quality.
I designed this backdrop for school assemblies. The dimensions were measured perfectly so that PowerPoint immages fit exactly in the centre of the backdrop, and were framed by the two end pieces. The red borders match the Chinese pattern found on the entrance to the school cafeteria, as well as the window frames found throughout the school. The school logo and motto at the bottom sit just under all projections. The red sides are long enough to hide performers waiting in the wings when entering the stage.
Kick Drum Skin Covers
Making kick (bass) drum skin covers is easy and fun. It took a lot of experimentation at the beginning, to find the best method of attaching. Originally, we had the skins printed as large squares and then we cut them in a circle and attached them as a skin; however, we did need to be environmentally responsible, and getting a new skin for each gig was not a wise idea. In the end, we attached velcro in a circle around an existing drum skin. Each time we want to change the graphic, we simply cut out the skin graphic stick some velcro on it, and sick it to the skin. None of our skin covers have fallen off in the past three years, so we call that a success!
We have a generic (black), a Christmas concert (for the NIC Christmas Charity Festival) and a Lunar New Year version. Everyone loves the Chinese version so much that we leave it on the drum all year ’round.
Much of the graphic design work I do, whether for productions or programmes, is based on pre-existing stock footage that I manipulate using Adobe Creative Suite (mostly Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere Pro.) I took a graphics design course at Fanshawe College, in Ontario, and got enough skills to know how to tweak and arrange things as needed, but not enough skills to draw for myself.
I wanted to learn how I could do my own graphics design work, and not just rely on the work of others. Enter, my iPad with Apple pencil.
As part of my self-improvement, I’ve committed myself to drawing something every single day. Sometimes, I’ll work on the same project over the course of several days. Sometimes, I’ll finish a quick YouTube tutorial in an hour.
I’ve decided to focus on a music theme for my drawings. I love music (OF COURSE), but also I want some clipart / drawings that I can incorporate into my daily teaching. In the year of the tiger, I’m going to be working on a tiger with Chinese instruments theme. I’m going to use these sketches when my grade 6s do their Chinese Music unit in MYP Music. Here’s a general sampling of some of my drawings.