Meet Stacy Innerst, adjunct professor of graphic design.
Mr. Innerst is the winner of a 2017 New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award. He teaches courses in illustration, editorial illustration and computer graphics.
What inspired you to pursue a career as an illustrator?
Illustration kind of pursued me, to be honest. I studied fine art in college and was always accused of having an illustrative bent, so at some point I stopped fighting it! I try to bring a fine art sensibility to my illustrations, and I apply a lot of what I learned as a painter and a printmaker.
According to your website, you’ve taken on a wide variety of clients, including the NFL and Major League Baseball. What have been your favorite projects to date?
That’s difficult to say. I think I get the most satisfaction from picture books, though, because of their lasting nature and the great care publishers take in producing them. I’m always pleased with the finished product, and I really like the people who work in the industry.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
Having a voice. Being able to comment on life – the good and the bad – and reaching a point where people sometimes actually listen. I don’t take that for granted.
What advice do you have for students who want to enter the field?
Work hard, dig deep and listen closely. Pay attention to the things that others might not see until you point it out to them. Be a good communicator, and become fluent in the languages of art people, word people and your clients, who might be neither word people nor art people.
What brought you to La Roche?
I was aware of the good things going on in the design division here, and I’d had friends who’d taught at La Roche in the past. When I heard they were looking for an adjunct, I jumped on it and, happily, they hired me.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
I genuinely get excited when I see students push themselves to do really good work. I value good art and design so much that when I see students creating work that they’re proud of, it makes me happy. I also feel that my role is to make sure they leave their comfort zone a little bit – that’s where the real discovery takes place.
What can students expect in your classes? What is your teaching style?
I prefer individual instruction over lectures. I like to gauge where students are in their development and build on that on an individual basis.
It’s more of a studio experience than anything else. I don’t want students to do it my way, but I try to give them the benefit of my experience with various media and techniques. I’ll do demonstrations and expose them to some of the rich history and contemporary trends in illustration and art.
How do you apply your professional experience to the classes you teach?
I approach the classes as a professional studio. I act as an art director for the most part. The critiques function as a client meeting or an editorial board meeting. Students need to communicate their ideas effectively and artfully, take direction and defend their choices.
Learn more about Mr. Innerst's illustration career and his recent award from the New York Times and New York Public Library.