ex4.0-jared.millarOur Mission

This blog and site has a very focused mission: It’s about enabling you, the creative individual, the ability to gain more control over the visual playing field of two-dimensional space. There are two reasons why this is a desirable thing is. (1) If you have a good idea that you wish to visually express or if you have a sense for something visual that you want to work out, the last thing you likely want is to visually weaken, confuse or muck up your grand idea. (2) Better yet, what if this playing field of two dimensional space actually became your ally?

Why Now?

Wasn’t this the kind of stuff covered in everyone’s basic design class? Yes and no. Due to a vast myriad of reasons, no two students come out of the same class the same way. Some folks understand for instance, negative space or the notion of rhythm right away. Some folks aren’t able to click with these notions until a bit later. And for some folks, like myself, that sort of career-changing cognition at best briefly occurred during an entire undergraduate experience.

The rush to finish a program and earn a degree or certificate has been accommodated by institutions of higher learning’s justified interest in supplying career markets with eager and qualified new participants. The goal of school accreditation simply does not allow for an expanded – much less, a remedial – design program to rear its modest head. In anticipation, it’s not unusual to find that a few students have begun to hone their visual chops far earlier, before entering college.

A Life Changing Class

A few years after receiving my undergraduate degree, I decided to take a class at USC Extension with the highly regarded designer and illustrator, Leo Monahan. For the longest time, I was an admirer of his illustration and design approach. “If he ever teaches anything, anywhere, I’m taking that class”, was my thinking. That opportunity finally arrived in the late 80s in the form of a 10-week long Basic Design course. After taking what on paper seemed like the same course twice before at two different schools, it felt a bit disappointing to be back at square one in a sense. But after the first week, I discovered a visual world that I had never experienced before. Structure, it seemed, was in a background of nearly every move I made. Rhythm began appearing in most everything I had taken for granted. By the course’s end, I could control two-dimensional space in a confident and playful manner that I never had done so before.

LeoMonahanOur course has as its DNA core, the teachings not only from that class but also from Leo Monahan’s teacher, Bill Moore; Bill Moore’s teacher, Rudolph Schaeffer; and Rudolph Schaeffer’s primary influence, Arthur Wesley Dow.

Leo, though officially retired, is still exploring, teaching, manipulating paper and color on a very dynamic scale. We’ll be sharing his insights with everyone from time to time.

Continuing the Lessons

The value derived from my experience in Leo’s class has been far-reaching. I wish to share as much as I can with you, the visitor and perhaps be of help in accompanying you on a dynamic path of discovery. It is my intention to provide a valuable and free resource/learning environment. HSchneider3bVideos, Pinterest links and other tools will be shared through the various blogs. A forum will be added to accommodate those you seeking peer-to-peer feedback as you delve deeper into the exercises. Some of you might occasionally feel the need for more personalized, one-on-one online tutoring. For more information, contact me, Howard Schneider, directly at howard@hschneiderdesign.com to discuss fee-based customized lesson plans and short or long-term consulting options. For more information on myself, such as a cirriculum vitae, please go to http://hschneiderdesign.com/section/156082.html.


Bill Moore had seen more than his fair share of magnificent as well as challenging student work during a teaching career that spanned over three decades. The legendary Chinouards instructor of the 1950s, 60s and 70s had a reputation for challenging the mediocrity out of his students while also turning out some of the best creative talent across multiple eras.
Bill-Moore-img-croppedHis legions of luminary students included Oscar-winning designer Edith Head; Emmy-winning designer Bob Mackie; Oscar-nominated designer Theodora Van Runkle; painters Ed Ruscha and Robert Perine; Columbia Records creative director S. Neil Fujita; award-winning designer and illustrator Leo Monahan. Add to this list a cadre of animators whose work dominated the ranks of the Disney Studios for years. The list goes on.

Bill Moore was a student of Rudolph Schaeffer, founder of the San Francisco-based Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design that enriched creative lives from 1915-1983. Rudolph Schaeffer by CunninghamProfessor Schaeffer is credited with expression, “Design is the structure of art” and was an early student of Arthur Wesley Dow’s foundation course. This course’s exercises on Rhythm are contemporary interpretations of Prof. Schaeffer’s original foundation exercises.

Arthur Wesley Dow is generally credited with reinventing art education into more of the contemporary model we know it as today, drawing much of his inspiration from the Japanese concept of notan and master artisans of notan, including Hokusai.

ArthurWesleyDowThe legacy from Professors Dow, Schaeffer and Moore permeates the videos and exercises in this blog. One takeaway from Bill Moore that’s truly worth passing on is the bottom line he expressed frequently over the years: “Two principles underlie all forms of human expression…unity and rhythm”.