Find Lead Graffiti on Facebook Find Lead Graffiti on Etsy

   Find Lead Graffiti on Twitter Find Lead Graffiti on Instagram


stories 2016


Moments Carved in Paper: Book #3
Grading as a textbook

The third in our series of fine press, limited edition, autobiographical books of stories focuses on Ray's grading strategies while he was teaching in the Visual Communications Group at the University of Delaware.

Of all of the milestones in my teaching life, the one that stands foremost is receiving the title of Grandmaster from The Art Directors Club of New York in 2008, honoring me and my life's teaching work. The ADCNY describes the ADC Grandmasters as educators whose careers in creative education have impacted and mentored generations of student creatives and whose legacy is a far-reaching network of industry leaders and professionals in Advertising and Design. The nomination for that honor was connected to my family and students including Bill Oberlander, class of '81, former student and president of the Art Directors Club; Ann Lemon, a class of '84 graduate who served on the Grandmasters Committee; Nancy Vonk, class of '79, who presented the award; and my daughter, Terre Nichols, class of '88, who first championed the idea.

It isn't possible for me to look back on my life and say I deserved the honor. Some seem to think I do. I'd like to hope they were at least somewhat right.

So one challenge I would like to try to answer with this book is to name something in my teaching career that argues positively for the award, other than the lucky fact that I had more great students than any one teacher deserves.

Strangely, I think it was my grading strategies.

Click the image below to see it double-sized to see more detail.

My teaching style, both from the point of view of critiquing and grading, came from a desire to explain in some reasonaly understandable way, how the things I've seen and thought about affect my evaluation of work. What makes something good or bad, better or worse.

The grading produces passes through 3 stages of development over about 15 years of my teaching career

          Dots - grading on and off, interesting or not interesting

          Shelves - top, middle, bottom

          Tennis Tournament - 6 steps, but you have to successfully pass each to move to the next

The book is printed in an edition of 115, 3 of which are not for sale, 12 in a deluxe version with additional elements or information, and 100 in the standard version. They are bound as flutter books which allows us to print only on the front side of a sheet of Somerset Textured White 300 gsm stock and to seriously impress the type into the paper. This particular book has handlaid in dots and a tipped in photo. One page has an inkjet printed image directly on the Somerset stock.

The fine press book is available for sale in our online Lead Graffiti store under "books".