By Kathy St. Amant


October 30, 2012

What am I? A teacher? A professional Graphic Artist/developer? HMMM….

Maybe I can figure this out by discovering which came first…Which occupation came first for me? Was I a teacher of the digital arts first, or a professional digital graphic artist/developer? Well, in my case, they pretty much came simultaneously.

I had gone into the UCLA Extension program because I was offered the opportunity to work with UCLA Law School to design the graphics for their new admissions application website. At the time I did not have a clue what digital graphics were or what I needed to deliver to them. I had 3 months to learn it and deliver. I had gotten my hands on Photoshop 3  (NOT CS3, but 3!). I had to figure out how to use it, and FAST. I also had to learn about website production. I jumped in and took the classes I needed to help me, and got the job done on time. I had so much fun, I signed up for their Professional Designation in Digital Arts certificate and spent the next 3 years immersed in the world.

When I graduated from my UCLA Extension program, I was offered an opportunity to teach Final Cut Pro at a small private college. I told my friend who was the connection with the college that I had just learned it. He was so adamant with his argument…”Well, you know more than they do!” So, I took the challenge. I found out that I LOVED teaching the digital arts!

My teaching career got a bit stalled because, well, I never graduated from college. I didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree (this is a whole ‘nother story!). So, after 3 years of going to school for the digital graphics arts, I was in the rhythm of studying and went back to school. I graduated from CSULB with my BA in Studio Art, and went on to Pepperdine U get my Master of Arts in Educational Technology so I could teach in a “real” school.

In the meantime, my digital arts career and skills grew. I garnered a few key clients that allowed me to progress my skills and digital arts knowledge. I discovered not only how to do them, but how to work with clients in the professional world. When my opportunity to teach again came to me, it was because I had industry experience as well as the digital arts experience. I was hired to develop a digital media class for the web. It is now called Digital Media Production as it now caters to all devices.

Today I split my time between teaching my classes; Photoshop, Dreamweaver II, Fireworks, the Digital Media Production class, building my new classes; Adobe Edge Animate, Social Media, and WordPress,  with my freelance digital arts career. So, which one comes first in my life? Which one is “me”? If anyone asks me (other than a prospective client!) what I do, I first say I am a teacher. I feel that every job I complete as a professional artist/developer is a step in learning what is out there to share with my students. Bringing the real world projects into the classroom is a key feature in my classes. My students LOVE this! They appreciate that I can show them tips and tricks that will help them move their careers forward quickly when they are ready.

Technology is changing at a break neck speed. Studying is key to staying on top of  the curve. Do I study because I am a teacher, or do I study because I need to provide the newest and the best for my professional clients? The circle keeps going around. I am a teacher. I am a professional digital graphic artist/developer. My studies include growing my skills in teaching as well as technologies. It takes many hours of study to keep up with the technology changes going on right now. As a teacher, I MUST stay ahead of the game. I have to be ready to provide appropriate tutorials that teach the students what they will need to be competitive in the world when they graduate. I also need to build my skills in the newest technologies so I can provide my clients with the most up to date technology for their companies so that they can stay relevant and on top of their competitors. It is also for me! I love to learn.

And, just one plug here…
Now that is where to go to learn the newest any time!

If someone was to ask if there were any careers in this world where working in one builds the skills for the other, I do believe I have the answer! The circle keeps turning….


  • By Cathy Brown - 12:52 AM on November 8, 2012  

    Everything you learn if hugely disparate areas is 99% transferrable – maybe even 100% transferrable. And learning new things, finding new solutions figuring things out for yourself is hugely enjoyable. Adobe TV is fantastic. Huge fan.


  • By Saeed - 4:48 AM on November 11, 2012  

    Who is a teacher? Infact am impressed

  • By michael chibuzor ojiako - 6:22 AM on November 13, 2012  

    Good day kathy,am so happy for you and your progress in life and work.I am an African male, who also desire to learn graphic art design and also eager to teach it to our people. Here in our country you barely see where this lessons or courses is being taught or am using this medium to seek for your hand as my teacher and i promised to be humble and obedient to your lectures.

    • By Kathy St. Amant - 5:46 PM on November 13, 2012  


      There are many online courses that you can sign up for. I teach on campus at the moment and not online. Our country has a system of community colleges that have online courses at very reasonable prices, and are open to all. Try this in your search engine:
      online community college digital art classes, USA.

      Good Luck!

  • By Lukas - 6:00 PM on November 17, 2012  

    Thanks for sharing… you are not the only one with an identity crises 😉

  • By Vuyisile Lindani - 8:58 AM on December 19, 2012  

    This is very inspiring to me this as a new Visual Arts and Design Educator looking forward to use the experiences I found from the old masters.