Episode 6: Listener Q&A



  • I am listening to your podcast and really loving it. (In fact, looking forward to listening was the only thing that got me to run this morning so thanks for that!) I wanted to ask @Lee-White if you could post your martial arts belt system that you used in class where people advanced through belts by exhibiting competence in increasingly advanced skills. I’m an amateur and 60 years old so I need an efficient system to make sure I’ve built up my skill base. I don’t have years to waste messing around learning by trial and error 🙂 I would love to use something like your belt system to guide me and it would also give me a sense of how far I’ve come and need to go. Jake’s analogy of music lessons is very apt for me since I’m a musician and am used to a very methodical approach to building skills.

    Thanks for the podcast.



  • @demotlj my kung fu belt system for grading worked really well. It was a simple concept: You start out as a white belt and with each major assignment in the class you had a chance to advance by getting a higher ranked belt. In order to advance you had to get at least 90% on the assignment. Some people got through on the first try. For others, they ended up doing the assignment over and over each week until it was at 90%. The only way to get an A was to do all assignments at 90% or better over the term.

    The beauty in this system was that it promoted true skill. Even if a student only ended up with 3 complete assignments, I at least knew they mastered the concepts. : )



  • I should add, this only works really well for skill building technique based classes like perspective, etc. Once you get into artistic expression in the advanced classes, grading like this becomes too subjective to work really well.



  • @lee-white My father was a psychology professor and he did a similar thing in that in order to pass is courses, every student had to get 100% on a test of basic concepts. They could take it as many times as they wanted but they couldn't pass the course without knowing all of those foundational concepts and then the rest of their grade was based on field work and research projects. I think it's a great way to teach and to learn.



  • Love the idea of a kung fu system like this! With self-directed folks like ourselves, maybe we would need to give ourselves assignments and post on the forum for feedback. Not sure how else we can determine if we've reached the equivalent of a 90% on our exercises. Any thoughts on how else we can evaluate our progress?



  • I also loved the idea of a king fu belt system. My mind is full of ideas on how I could expand the concept—especially since on of my big dreams is to teach illustration as well as publish.



  • Just want to say awesome job guys! It's so fun to listen to the three of you and laugh along with some things and get so much information and inspiration all at the same time! I feel like I'm legit sitting down with you guys and hanging out haha. Hopefully I'll get to meet all of you in person at some point in my life. For now it'll just be Jake in New York 🙂



  • I'm trying to dig through some of the podcasts and google to find links graduation speeches that have been mentioned. There was one that was mentioned about connecting the dots by Steve Jobs, and another one about making progress in your career and facing the mountain. The analogy was along the lines of your goal being the mountain and as long as a project turns you towards it, you're on the right track. Anyone know what I am referring to? I would appreciate the links to these speeches.



  • @nicholemarie Neal Gaiman "Make Good Art"



  • @jake-parker can we start a Beatles support thread where we submit illustrations inspired by Beatles music?