Alumni ad­vice

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I knew noth­ing about set­ting up a school, or cur­ricu­lums, or teach­ing

Ku­bert grad­u­ate Steve Lieber share his mem­o­ries of the school, and ex­plains why it works so well

What was your time at Ku­bert like?

I was in the comics and il­lus­tra­tion pro­gramme at the Ku­bert School from 1987 to 1990. I went in com­pletely ig­no­rant of even the ba­sics of art. I didn’t un­der­stand how to draw ba­sic forms. I didn’t know how per­spec­tive worked. I had never drawn with a brush. I’d never been ex­posed to ba­sic colour the­ory. I had a faint grasp of sto­ry­telling from read­ing lots of comics, but I couldn’t tell why some things worked and some things didn’t. At the end of my three years there, I landed a sto­ry­board job at the very first ad agency I vis­ited, and I’ve been a steadily em­ployed free­lance artist ever since. I can’t say any­thing about what the school is like to­day, but at the time they gave me ex­actly the ed­u­ca­tion I needed to launch my ca­reer.

What are your last­ing mem­o­ries of your time at the School?

My main mem­ory of the Ku­bert School – or the Joe Ku­bert School as it was then – is of long and very in­tense dis­cus­sions with a few of my class­mates. We’d spend hours and hours dis­cussing what we’d learned, scru­ti­n­is­ing and crit­i­cis­ing each oth­ers’ work and shar­ing our ob­ses­sive in­ter­ests.

What ad­vice would you give to those think­ing of en­rolling, and what will they get out of their time there?

My ad­vice would to be to get as much ex­tra feed­back as you pos­si­bly can from the teach­ers you click with. Just be­cause you did some­thing for one teacher doesn’t mean an­other can’t give you a cri­tique on it. Also, the hard-ass, highly de­mand­ing teach­ers are very of­ten the best ones. You should seek them out.

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