Interview: Jason Pedersen Takes Us To School

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Starting April 28th a local hero by the name of Jason Pedersen, will be teaching comic book illustration classes at Heroes and Villains in Tucson, Arizona. Enrollment is still open and at a dirt-cheap enrolled fee of $50 for a 4-week session with more classes to follow.If you’re not familiar with Jason Pedersen he is visual artist who has been featured in Crossgen, Moonstone, The Tucson Citizen, The Arizona Wildcat, and Illustration pages.

Pedersen’s work is glorified with lustrous colors and life like characters that anyone can imagine being saved by.  For these reason it only seems fitting for a man of such caliber to be instructing the course.

Recently I had the opportunity to interact with Jason Pedersen via the magical Internet tubes with a few questions in regards to the upcoming art sessions.


CBT – Who’s idea was the class? Heroes and Villains and yours collectively?

Jason Pedersen – It’s something Heroes and Villains and I have been talking about for about a year.  It started like most things, wishing the community had something like that available.  Heroes and Villains used to run art classes and draw nights, this is the first step to further uniting the art community in Tucson.


CBT – Is this a “from the ground up” approach for students?

Jason Pedersen – For the most part.  The three planned “semesters” will start with the basics of art, and creating an image.  Each subsequent semester will be more in depth. It’s really going to be geared toward people with /some/ knowledge but are still very much learning the craft. 


CBT – Should students have some sort of pre-existing knowledge/skill-set?

Jason Pedersen – It will be helpful, that’s for sure–but not necessary.  While this first semester will talk about the basics of creating an image, having a basis to draw from and build upon will allow a student to gain more from the classes.  Realistically, most people will have been through some classes in school, and older teens and adults will already have the urge to learn and have likely, at the very least, done some self-teaching.


CBT – Have you ever instructed a class before? If so, do you have any interesting anecdotes to share?

Jason Pedersen – I have taught.  It started in high school, I’ve run a few seminars, and now in my current job, I’ve taught tattooing.  Many people come into it without much art knowledge, and it’s been my job to give them at least the basics.  My first “Ah ha, I think I might like doing this” moment was actually back in High School when I was helping my teachers with the younger classes.  Someone was having a hard time understanding the concepts of light and shadow.  After spending some time with him, he told me he got it, that I explained in and made it easy to understand.


CBT – What is your curriculum going to consist of? Pieces? Theory? Course work?

Jason Pedersen – It will start with some theory. In order to create art, you have to know at least some theory.  There will be some demonstrations from me, as well as homework.  While there is no grading system, it’ll be important to make sure everybody is getting what they came for.  I plan on critiquing each students work throughout the process, including at the start of the “semester” and then again at the end, and offer up a “where to go from here” synopsis at the very end.


CBT – Your art course is priced at the fraction of most other locally run studios, why was the decision made to offer the course at such an accommodating rate?

Jason Pedersen – The price was set by Heroes and Villains, but ultimately, it was to make it more accessible to people who might not be able to afford those other classes.  Heroes and Villains has always been a place to come and have fun, it the feeling I’ve always gotten since I started shopping there years ago, and it’s part of the model we used in setting this class up.


CBT – How’s the enrollment process coming along?

Jason Pedersen – It’s coming along at a pace we anticipated, but classes are filling up quickly.


CBT – What do you anticipate as far as enrollment demographic?

Jason Pedersen – Realistically, this is geared toward people with beginner to intermediate art skills with interest in the illustration and comic art fields.  While we don’t recommend the class to people under 14 or 15, I expect a broad range of people to be interested in it, and hopefully everyone attending will be able to take information with them that will improve their art skills.


CBT – Do you have any words of advice to offer up to your incoming freshmen, such as myself, who have absolutely no artistic background?  What about for your more “callused” apprentices?

Jason Pedersen – This goes for anyone taking this or any class: come to class with an open mind. Be ready to learn things you didn’t know, hear ideas put in ways you may not have thought of, and possibly repeats of things you’re already adept at.  This is an opportunity to grow, no matter where you’re at skill-wise, and that can’t happen if you aren’t open to what is being presented.  Come to class ready to leave a better artist, and it’s likely going to happen.


For more information on enrollment visit

For more information on Jason Pedersen visit

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