Remembering Jack Potter: Illustrator, Teacher, Mentor

By guest author Daniel Zalkus

“Straight, Curved, Fluid”




“No Gray or Middle of the Road”

“Supreme Caring”

If any of those quotes sound familiar to you then chances are you’ve passed through room 501, Jack Potter’s class at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). His class, “Drawing and Thinking,” was a staple of the Illustration department where he taught for over 45 years.


The class description from the undergraduate/graduate registration booklet:

“A class governed by a variety of premises, a wide range of thinking and seeking to build a new and stronger visual vocabulary. Thought of as a gym, to stay in shape with exercise involving highly creative interpretations. Models and props will be used extensively.”


I met Jack in 1997, taking his class based on the recommendation of another teacher at SVA, John Ruggeri. Jack was a legend at the school and a well-known illustrator during his day.


I had no idea what to expect but what I got was an experience I cherish and reflect on daily.


This week I’ll talk about various experiences I had in his class along with stories and anecdotes Jack told about his illustration career. If anyone else out there knew Jack or took his class, I’d love to hear any stories you might have too.

Continued tomorrow...

* Daniel Zalkus is a freelance illustrator, graduate of the School of Visual Arts and loves to wear plaid. To see samples of his artwork please go to

* My Jack Potter Flickr set

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