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Thanks for visiting my work. I became interested in art at 14 as I explored the work of my Norwegian great great grandfather, Hans Gude's, incredible romanticist paintings and watercolors. I started off drawing cartoons, which got a lot of positive attention from my middle school friends, so I kept it up! I wasn't one to be noticed in school.


As I grew, I branched into more realistic work, but never studied art formally, so I'm a self-taught artist, doodler, and some-time writer. For me, there are three important ways one can draw.


The first is eye-hand drawing, which means what you see in front of you comes out your hand as a drawing. 

Another is brain-hand drawing, which is drawing something from memory, something you've seen. 

Finally, there's mind-hand drawing, meaning mindless doodling of nothing specific, letting your mind run with it. All three contribute great value toward becoming a competent artist, meaning someone who can interpret what they imagine. 

I spent many years after high school doing odd jobs, such as a factory foreman in Los Angeles doing woodwork and wiring electrical components, teaching English in Colombia, being a carpenter's helper in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and dairy farming in Vermont. Throughout it all, I drew, sometimes cartoons, other times doodles, and attempts at drawing from life. 

After my parents were no longer in my life at 24, I took a chance and moved to New York City to try and make it as an artist, and I got lucky thanks to the support and encouragement of friends and people I met along the way. I thought I would work in comics or illustrations children's books, but a struggling artist takes what work they can, and for me, that a meant journalism. I spent 25 years working in New York and Washington, D.C. as a creative director, graphic designer, and information artist for Newsweek and the Associated Press, and several other news organizations and did my personal art (paintings, drawings, printmaking, and kids' stuff on the side. For these organizations, I mostly did infographics, illustrations, and cartoons. 


One day, I was invited to start a program in infographics at at Michigan State University, something I that took me completely by surprise since I only had a high school degree. I wound up working there as a faculty instructor in the School of Journalism for 15 years teaching in two key areas: creative problem-solving and information art. I was fortunate to have won college and a university-wide awards for my teaching. 


I also did side work. I consulted with numerous organizations on the topics of visual communication and creative problem-solving. I presented at four TEDx talks and spoke more than once at the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology conference on the “Power of Visual Storytelling."  

My parents weren't terribly supportive of my desire to be an artist and I think they would have been proud of the career I managed to have, but mostly for the incredible family I have being married to Dorsey Weber and having two wonderful sons, Cole and Erik. 


Painting "Chasing the Pack" 

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Dorsey with Cole, left, and Erik

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Teaching at Michigan State University

Dairy farming in Vt.

Teaching creativity at Michigan State University

About Karl Gude
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