101 Things to Learn in Art School

101 Things to Learn in Art School

By Kit White

Lessons, demonstrations, definitions, and tips on what to expect in art school, what it means to make art, and how to think like an artist.





Lessons, demonstrations, definitions, and tips on what to expect in art school, what it means to make art, and how to think like an artist.

What is the first thing to learn in art school? “Art can be anything.” The second thing? “Learn to draw.” With 101 Things to Learn in Art School, artist and teacher Kit White delivers and develops such lessons, striking an instructive balance between technical advice and sage concepts. These 101 maxims, meditations, and demonstrations offer both a toolkit of ideas for the art student and a set of guiding principles for the artist. Complementing each of the 101 succinct texts is an equally expressive drawing by the artist, often based on a historical or contemporary work of art, offering a visual correlative to the written thought. “Art can be anything” is illustrated by a drawing of Duchamp's famous urinal; a description of chiaroscuro art is illuminated by an image “after Caravaggio”; a lesson on time and media is accompanied by a view of a Jenny Holzer projection; advice about surviving a critique gains resonance from Piero della Francesca's arrow-pierced Saint Sebastian.

101 Things to Learn in Art School offers advice about the issues artists confront across all artistic media, but this is no simple handbook to making art. It is a guide to understanding art as a description of the world we live in, and it is a guide to using art as a medium for thought. And so this book belongs on the reading list of art students, art teachers, and artists, but it also belongs in the library of everyone who cares about art as a way of understanding life.


$17.95 T ISBN: 9780262016216 224 pp. | 6 in x 6 in 101 b&w illus.


  • This small book, just 6 inches square, excels in presenting ideas that both artists and designers, at all stages of their careers, cannot be reminded of too often.

    Interior Design

  • Kit White's 101 Things to Learn in Art School is a delight…Anyone who has ever visited an art museum, made art, or read about it could learn something from this little book.

    Beth Williamson


  • There cannot be a better, smarter manual for anyone crazy enough to want to become a visual artist, or for the encouraging and/or bewildered loved ones of such a person.

    Kurt Anderson

    Studio 360 Blog


  • Everyone craves useful wisdom, right? Especially when they're young, and even more especially if they want to become one of those modern alchemists known as visual artists. Well, here it is: page for impeccably crafted page, the best, most thoughtful and lucid primer available for any young (or old) would-be maker of art.

    Kurt Andersen

    novelist, Heyday, Turn of the Century and public radio host, Studio 360

  • Kit White gives us a 'manual' in every sense of the word, a lifetime of art-making condensed into 101 cogent maxims that fit in the hand of the aspiring artist.

    Wendy Steiner

    author of The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art

  • There is a great myth that somehow rules constrain creativity. With grace and wit, Kit White's new book dismantles this received idea, and many others along the way. If the cardinal rule of writing is 'show, don't tell,' Kit White has done exactly that—he shows us what art-making is by example as much as through the rich content of this incisive book.

    Polly Apfelbaum