The current den mother of the Illustration department, Noël Claro is more than a professor at Parsons – she’s a designer, a baker, a mom, a crafter, and, sometimes, a part-time therapist. Besides being uber talented outside of the classroom, she’s one of the most sought after professors and teaches some of the coolest elective classes around. One of my favorite teachers at Parsons, Noël really tries to help her students as much as possible, through their work, internships, and maybe eventually in the job hunt. So I asked her to answer some questions for us and give us some insight on teachers and teaching at Parsons! Click here for some examples of student work from her classes.
Name: Noël Claro
Classes you teach: Pictozine, Beyond the Page, Required Typography, Design Lab for Illustrators
How long you have taught: 7 years
What you do when you’re not at Parsons: Freelance art direction at Nickelodeon and at my design studio
Thing you cannot live without: My flatform shoes!
Favorite artist or designer right now: Marc Boutavant
Now the tough questions:
What do you like most about teaching?
I love the classroom interaction I experience every week. I try to foster an open and communicative environment for my students and I encourage everyone to participate and contribute. That can be something as small as a comment on a project or something as major as demonstrating how to handle something technically. I also love that I learn from my students – I’m a seasoned professional, but every semester, my students all help me expand my knowledge and my approach to design.
What’s your favorite class to teach and why?
Beyond the Page is definitely my fave. I switch up the curriculum every semester to keep things exciting (for me AND for the repeat students that I tend to get). The assignments are a little broader than my other classes. This allows each student to bring their own personality to each project. I’ve also been able to reach out to a lot of different partners to come in and work on projects with the class and provide them with a real client-artist experience.
What advice would you give to prospective students about going to design school or becoming designers?
Try to explore as many methods as you can for problem solving while you’re in school. A well-rounded designer is comfortable creating things by hand and working digitally. And don’t be scared of typography! It’s an amazing design element that’s finally getting it’s due. Use it and learn about it and explore with it and draw it and make things with it!
What do you hate most in a student?
Lack of participation.