I don’t normally use this blog to for personal posts or text posts (and I feel bad for not posting artwork lately, but I’m still between scanners). Today I must make an exception for a text post. If you attended or are attending SCAD I encourage you to read it.
I recently heard that Dave Gildersleeve is not going to be teaching at SCAD anymore. I don’t know exactly what happened, but if you know SCAD you know it has a tendency to fire professors for inscrutable reasons. A lot of professors I respected greatly left SCAD during my time as a student, voluntarily or otherwise. However, I always thought Gildersleeve was beyond this. Apparently I was mistaken. I can’t really express what terrible news this is.
G-sleeve taught me literally everything I know about color and painting. Over three years of taking his classes whenever I could, he imparted a wealth of knowledge about color, storytelling, pacing, page flow, lighting, composition, perspective, anatomy, and so, so much more. You would be hard pressed to find any graduate of SCAD’s sequential art program who doesn’t owe an enormous debt of gratitude to this man. Most the department’s present faculty took classes with him when they were students.
His classes were always laid back and casual. His conversational style of teaching is exemplified in his TED Talk, linked above.
But you could count on him, in individual meetings and formal critiques, to give it to you straight every time. Gildersleeve could look at your thirty-second thumbnail gesture and tell you the crop was too wide or too close. He could look at the work of a novice or of a seasoned professional, and give honest, practical, and sage advice to them both. Getting assignments back in his classes, I and my fellow students would eagerly scan the tracing paper overlays on which he scrawled notes about our work. Often, he used the overlays to redraw poses or compositions underneath, and we were always dazzled by how few lines he could use to show a better alternative to whatever drawing we had submitted.
I have yet to fully comprehend, process, and utilize the lessons I learned in Gildersleeve’s classes. I imagine this will take me years. I’m glad I took notes.
It deeply saddens me to think that future students won’t benefit from Gildersleeve’s wisdom. If SCAD can’t find it in its cold, corporate heart to let him teach there anymore, the class of 2016 will be the last one to take classes with him. I really can’t think of a worse sleight against future generations of aspiring cartoonists than this.
If you took classes with this great teacher, this great guy, I encourage you to reblog this with your memories or comments, or write your own post about him. I don’t want this to pass silently like so many other decisions SCAD has made. I know I will be haunted by this dark turn of events for a long time to come.
I can’t believe this is happening.
I’ve had the privilege
or would it be pain, god his punsof taking his materials and techniques class and his environments and props class back to back a few quarters ago with one rienlen (i hope you don’t mind me dragging u thru the mud with me Lan)
it was…an intense quarter. G-sleeve himself is one of the most laid back guys out there, but he won’t take your shit either and calls it when he sees it. He imparts valuable nuggets of wisdom and interesting life stories to boot. His critiques were always useful, and those overlay redraws on the tracing paper were something i found immensely helpful every single time i got an assignment back. Despite my sleep-deprived zombie shuffling into his class
most some of the days (both Graham and Lan can attest to my level of cognizant awareness or lack thereof actually i’m pretty sure kristi and james and jon and josh and everyone who were in the classes with me could attest to this whoops), I was always thrilled to be in his class because I got something new out of it every day (i promise). We had our good times, our… differences over music choices (i have amazing taste in music thank you very much), and it was always a joy to be in classes that pushed your art to the next level while still being entertaining and laid back.
SCAD is not doing any favors to future students by dropping one of the most passionate interesting and helpful professors teaching there right now. I hope I’ll be able to take at least one more class with him (or rather I hope he’ll be able to put up with another quarter of me haha) and that he’ll be going on to do bigger and better things than SCAD.