Some Old Academy of Art Friends

6 Oct

Chuck Pyle was my “Beginning Head and Hands” teacher at my alma mater, the Academy of Art University (it was just a “College” back when I went there.) Chuck is now the Director of the Illustration Program at A of A. He was a stickler for traditional drawing a la the Golden Age of Illustration (Norman Rockwell, Wyeth the Elder, that other Pyle) and  he was tough as nails. I don’t think I ever pulled more than a “B” in Chuck’s class and that was after really sweating it. I caught up with Chuck last year when I sat in on some “Clothed Figure Drawing” classes that are kindly offered to alumni, free of charge. He was a young instructor of about 25 when I took his class all those years ago, but he looks pretty much the same today as he did then. If you nudge Chuck, you might get him to admit that he might, possibly, be distantly related to that other Pyle, one of the greatest of the late 19th/early 20th Century illustrators.

Francis Livingston was a young instructor at the A. of A. when I was there also, about the same age as Chuck. I never took any of his classes that I can remember, but he subbed several times for a couple of my Illustration teachers. He had loads of talent and his early work was posted all over the A. of A. Illustration Department’s bulletin boards, intimidating the hell out of all of us humble Illustration Dept. students/wanna-bees. He’s now a top-ranked illustrator and fine artist specializing in Old West art scenes.

Randy Berrett was yet another one of the Young Turks of the early 1980s at the A. of A’s Ilustration Department. He was my “Advanced Head and Hands” and “Clothed Figure Drawing III” instructor. Like Chuck, he was a toughie who insisted on Norman Rockwell-levels of draftsmanship. Today, he’s a highly successful background illustrator for Pixar movie studies and has created background scenes for almost all of their famous films.

Heather King was my “Illustration I” and “Illustration II” instructor. She’s now retired from teaching and free-lance illustration, but still sells her fine art online.

Bill Sanchez was my “Clothed Figure Drawing I and II” guru/drawing god. He’s still teaching Clothed Figure at the A. of A., thirty-four years after I took my first class with him in the fall of 1978! I sat in on one of his classes last year, and he’s still yelling the same things at students as he always did: “Wrapping around! Contrasting values! Push the foreshortening!” I never learned to push the foreshortening very well, sad to say. Bill was in his mid-thirties and had a big, poufy shock of red hair when I first took his class; today he’s got the same poufy shock of hair, but now it’s paper-white.

One Response to “Some Old Academy of Art Friends”


  1. Drawing of a Musketeer « foleytown - October 8, 2012

    […] a couple of shots from a drawing of a Musketeer I did in a Clothed Figure Drawing class at the Academy of Art in the summer of 2011, when I returned to my alma mater to take advantage of the free drawing […]

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