Teaching Portfolio update emphasizing courses in design fundamentals, drawing, fashion drawing, drawing for animation. drawing for game art, observational drawing, Expertise in constructivist teaching strategies and leveling up in learning using Bloom's Taxonomy.
Levels, Layers and Professional Language
I believe that Levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy help students gauge
where they are in learning. Bloom's Taxonomy is a set of
hierarchical models used to classify learning objectives into
levels of complexity and specificity. I give students examples of
each of the levels as we embody the levels in the classroom. For
example, when drawing we are at the Application level. When
conducting critique we are at the Analysis level. Since students
identify levels with video games, the level idea has meaning, and
even a playful meaning, as students consciously level up in
Layers are embedded in all drawing software, and conveniently
in the history of art as well. Layers make sense to students.
Applying those layers to drawing, even with traditional media,
can make an efficient workflow when drawing the human figure.
The age-old artists’ layers of preliminary sketch, blocking in,
grisaille, scumbling, and color blocking can be readily applied in
the technology of today. In anatomy there are also layers; of
bones, muscles, fat, skin, and lighting.
Professional Language can also be gamified as students role-
play their future working selves in professionalized post mortem
critiques of finished drawings and projects. I encourage
students to look at class drawings through the lenses of line,
shape, texture, color strategies, value contrasts, illusion of
motion, and the perception of 3-D space and volume. Analyzing
these specific criteria give students useful feedback on what
elements to tweak and balance to achieve more compelling
Students come to anatomy class nervous about the detailed
biology involved, concerned with nudity of the model, and with
idealized concepts of drawing. Many students want to slow
down and be perfect. But industry needs efficiency and speed to
meet deadlines. My teaching offers structures to
compartmentalize and organize techniques into levels and
layers. My teaching philosophy is based on Bloom’s structure of
learning combined with 21st century application of age-old
design techniques to promote efficient, achievable drawing and
design success. Professional language and communication skills
build students’ confidence as they grow into their professional
creative selves. My teaching philosophy is that levels, layers and
professional language in the classroom add up to organized
• Design Fundamentals
Introductory course will explore the principles of design and
introduce and develop the creative process. Design elements and
relationships will be identified and employed to establish a basis for
aesthetic sensitivity and critical analysis. Design will be presented
as a tool of communication.
• Observational Drawing
This course involves observation and translation of three-
dimensional form into two-dimensional drawings. Starting with
simple shapes and progressing to more complex organic forms,
students build skills in composition, line quality, and use of light and
• Life Drawing and Anatomy
This course explores the fundamentals of drawing the human figure
through study of anatomy. Observation and rendering skills are
developed, and the use of various drawing media is examined.
• Life Drawing and Gesture
The course will focus on an interpretation of the human body,
based on major masses organized by gestural line, line of action,
motion, measurement, and foreshortening. Students will be
introduced to the power of gesture to convey narrative information.
• Color Fundamentals
This fundamentals course will provide an introduction to the
principles of color and an exploration of color theory as it relates to
design. Students will learn to use color in both traditional and
contemporary media, and to render color effects for print and
electronic production methods. In addition, the psychological and
cultural aspects of color will be explored, as well as their role in the
• Advanced Drawing for Animation
Building on knowledge from preceding drawing courses, students
will develop their drawing skills in the context of professional media
arts and animation applications. This course will place emphasis on
advanced drawing techniques and strengthening the skills through
real world observation.
• Fashion Drawing
The goal of this course is to provide fashion-drawing experience to
Fashion and Retail Management students. The students will
experiment with different mediums and techniques to express
fashion ideas in professional contexts.
• Advanced Fashion Illustration
Students learn advanced drawing techniques to render the fashion
figure, using a variety of media to render garment and fabric types
in order to produce a design process portfolio document.
• Tai Chi
Teaching at the Austin Kung Fu Academy students explore a variety
of slow-paced movements and learn the Yang 37 tai chi form.
This class has been everything I've ever wanted
from an anatomy course: honest, raw, insightful,
and educational. Thank you so much. You've taught
me how to illustrate dynamic composition while
maintaining a sense of realism.
I can definitely see my classmates are getting
extremely awesome. I really love this class'
exchange of positive criticism. Starbuck, as well as
my classmates, motivate me to push myself. I
definitely am so excited for this week's homework
to draw from nature.
I was a lot more comfortable & seemed to really
understand the dimensions to create animals from
imagination through the space mermaid
technique. Using complementary colors and light
and dark contrast made it easy to distinguish
different characters in the group staging drawings.
I really enjoyed making hybrid characters. Looking
at everyone's drawing it seems like days with no
model have a certain excitement to them, creating
a game according to Carmen's story was very
successful. Staging is starting to get easier for
myself and others in the classroom. Much
improvement in everyone and I feel I have
improved on many things using staging props and
showing directional force.
Student CommentsTeaching Effectiveness
Student comment on Instagram
Design your own Final Exam
Students used the vocabulary to craft one question for the
final exam that was challenging, yet that they felt confident
to answer. Students were to discuss their questions with
other students to get the best version of the question and
to avoid overlapping questions.
Here are some of the most interesting questions:
1. Illustrate something that incorporates both of
these concepts: abstract and focal point.
2. Illustrate 2 elements and one principle. Explain
how these 3 relate to your field of study.
3. In psychology Gestalt means something that is
made of many parts and yet is somehow more than
or different from the combination of its
parts. Briefly explain how you have experienced the
feeling of Gestalt during the course when several or
many pieces came together to create new meaning
or feeling of usefulness for you.
4. Name 3 or more elements and principles are
going to help you the most in your future career.
Briefly explain why these 3 are most important to
your future creative production.
5. Draw a simple design. Using the same elements
of the first design draw a second, more dynamic or
dramatic design. Write a sentence explaining the
story or mood of the first design contrasted to your
resulting revision. This question requires 2 drawings
and one sentence for an answer.
Students then stood up, read their question to the class,
and students answered and discussed the questions of
How many terms can you as a class recall?
Videos and Blogs
Video to promote school – in-class teaching
Color Vocabulary with Jokes by Students
Design Fundamentals student blogs
Lemon Day in Observational Drawing
We had new pastels in the classroom. Some students
had completed the color fundamentals course and
their use of color strategies created nuanced
relationships in the compositions.
Today we learned about light logic using
lemons! We talked about bracketing with values
on different parts of the lemon in order to make
it look more realistic. I had a little trouble with
the vertical placement on the second one. But,
with some assistance, I learned how to measure
the distance between 2 lemons and how
smudging the distant lemon will give it a more
We used Bracketing to learn how to shade light,
midtone, and dark values. This helped when
moving into pastels. We found the light logic on
the lemons compared to a sphere and used
vertical placement/aerial perspective to create a
picture with 2 lemons.
Today was lemon day! I had a lot of fun! My first
attempt of the lemons wasn't so great. My
proportions was a bit off, and I did not have
enough mid-tones. The second attempt came
out great! I used bracketing with values way
better and my proportion was a lot better. Also
my use of color strategy gave a nice contrast and
emphasis. Thank you for the tips!
Student Lemon Day drawings
Life Drawing and Gesture
Students study the anatomical aspects of
expression as well as the effects of lighting on the
mood of the figure.
Students post their drawings on the whiteboard with
magnets twice per class for peer review feedback and
As the term progresses students develop the
capacity to interpret shapes and values by using
the right-brained drawing approach.
Photo of folded paper still life Student drawing in white and black pastel on toned
buff paper from later in the term
Students arrive with a timid view of drawing
as a mid-toned outline of an object on a white
piece of paper. This timid early drawing of toy
shark still life is an example of a drawing from
early in the term.
SXSW Interactive Programming Committee 2012 - 2019
- Evaluate proposals for panels, workshops, and speakers
SXSW Education Advisory Board for 2013 - 2019
- Evaluate proposals for panels and workshops
Full time Faculty, Art Institute of Austin,
- Teach Design Fundamentals, Observational Drawing, Anatomy
Gesture Drawing, Fashion Drawing.
- Develop assessment tools aligned to course competencies for
Adjunct faculty, Art Institute Online, Art Institute of Pittsburgh,
March 2005 - 2009
- Facilitate online art courses in drawing, life drawing, and color
Instructional Designer, Texas Engineering Extension Service
(TEEX) August 2005 - 2009
- Evaluate existing OSHA training
- Redesign instructor and student instructional materials for
Industrial Hygiene course
Usability Consultant January 2003 - 2005
Polycot Networks LLC. Austin, TX
- Evaluate Web design and content based on needs assessment
and prototype testing
Development Researcher June 2001-August 2003
Accessibility Institute, University of Texas at Austin
- Coordinated development strategies for technology and
Coordinator: Convergent Media Lecture Series Sept. 2000-June
Advanced Communication Technologies Laboratory (ACTLab)
University of Texas at Austin
Online Community Manager, May 1998-June 2000,
WholePeople.com and WholeFoods.com, Austin, TX
Internet opera director/producer 1995-2003
Advanced Communication Technologies Laboratory (ACTLab)
University of Texas at Austin
Editor Austin, Texas 1995-1996
National Issues Convention, University of Texas at Austin
. . . Additional Experiences
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City
- Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin
Levels are Levels is a restructuring of design
fundamentals coursework for visual design, visual
effects, game arts, and animation classes independent
of changing technology. Our research focus modernizes
design education, creating relatable curriculum and
resources for today's learners by linking playable course
content to levels of learning.
Because design teaching has been based on fine art,
graphic design, and art history, today’s teachers must
adapt traditional material to fit into 21st century applied
art contexts. In addition, design teachers are often
design professionals who lack training in classroom
teaching methods. This book, for current and future
visual design professionals, is full of gamified proven
educational methods based on Bloom’s taxonomy.
Levels are Levels:
Design Practice to Wield Fundamental Powers of
Levels are Levels is a textbook aligning years of insights
from teachers’ application of Bloom’s Taxonomy to
design fundamentals curriculum. The result of this
alignment creates a playable classroom environment
that is student driven and project based. Students have
a firm grip on each level of learning. As they move
through the levels students apply new fundamental
knowledge to create engaging video game and film
animation scenes, backgrounds, levels, characters,
monsters, weapons, vehicles and other assets.
Project In Development Playable Curriculum
Levels are Levels
Design Fundamentals for the 21st Century
Design Aesthetics / Principles
The five Aesthetics of Design have the power to make
you into a successful leader. As a high-level thinker
directing your team toward one of the design aesthetics,
then another, provides direction and a visual coherence.
According to Pauline Brown at the Harvard Business
School, “it’s important for senior executives to possess a
combination of what she calls “aesthetic intelligence”
and “aesthetic empathy”— good personal taste
combined with a good understanding of what pleases
others. They need to understand how to engage the
senses and elicit delight.” (Nobel, 2017)
Formerly known as design principles, the Design
Aesthetics guide the overall look and feel of each
character, weapon, environment in the context of the
game’s core story. What are these powerful guides? The
Design Aesthetics are Unity, Scale, Emphasis, Rhythm,
Formerly known as elements of design, the Design
Variables in this curriculum are things you change, or
ask your team to change, in order to achieve an
effective composition. What are these variables?
Mindfulness, Color, Value, Shape, Pattern, Texture,
Motion, Line, and Point
Together, Design Aesthetics and Variables can be
configured into design guidelines with a specific
language for communication between designers. Design
vocabulary is a secret code.
Using the vocabulary, the secret design language, in this
book will mark you as a professional in the creative
professions. Creatives all know these vocabulary terms.
The terms are a secret code for creatives.
is a secret code.
Barry Underhill, Art Institute of Austin, former Director of
Honoria is a talented and dedicated artist and
instructor. Her passion comes through in her work
and the work of her students. We are lucky to have
her teaching with us.
Luanne Stovall, Color Theorist and teacher, The New Color,
The University of Texas at Austin
Honoria Starbuck embodies the most noble
qualities that have inspired artistic achievements
over so many years: vibrant spontaneity, fluid
imagination, soaring intellect, and the requisite high
spirits so magnetic to others. I respect her ability to
listen and her trained mind for innovative
curriculum design. It is such pleasure to work with
Honoria as we design and implement a new
Bauhaus moment in the arts.
Dennis Peterson, Life Drawing model
Thank you for the work opportunity to model for
your class last night. I was very much impressed
with your teaching skills. It was obvious that your
students have great respect for you. I was also
amazed at your understanding of model anatomical
mechanics. I was much surprised when you
identified balance as one of the uniting elements of
my final sitting pose. Brilliant observation!
You certainly are a well-studied and gifted
instructor. It was an honor to work with you and
your class. I hope that I can again get the
opportunity to work with you.
Though difficult, the challenges that you presented
were interesting and welcomed. As your students
progress, they may enjoy drawing some of my
gestures. The dynamics of short poses inspire me. I
love to feel motion when I view art.
Collegiate moment in the faculty offices with
the anatomy skeleton