Rich Davis

Rich Davis

Visual Arts
Central Region
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
[email protected];

My approach is a hands-on (activity based)…interactive…and fast paced intended to engage students in eye hand coordination learning leading to creative exploration and discovery. We do a lot in a short time. Simply, I build confidence one activity at a time in order to take them to the next activity. I verbally teach as the activities are happening…I find students are active in listening and learning in this environment. I also have students follow me step by step in learning to draw. When they leave, they most often have quite a few drawings that have taught them something they didn’t know how to do. I am not an “art class” for art’s sake….I am a teaching artist that uses art as the tool to learn and lead students into creative thinking in other areas including creative writing and story elements for developing characters in storytelling. And, as a teacher, I have fun doing this….really high enjoyment.

My goal is to build confidence that will heighten desire to learn more. My goal is to be simple and fun in my approach so that the enjoyment is high in hopes of bringing out their own creative ideas. My emphasis also centers around and is tied closely to “story”….I find story is the most common and effective means of learning proven by history. The outcome of my time with students is that they learn a hands on skill that they can continue to enjoy after I am gone….I set up teachers with visual activities that they can use to continue teaching and engaging creative writing….I have tools (products and activities) they can continue using if they desire and what students learned is tangible (drawings in their hands); therefore it is useful for documenting results.


I grew up in Memphis, TN where I graduated from High School then obtained a BFA at Memphis University (1985) with emphasis in Graphic Design. I worked in ad agencies in Memphis in many forms of advertising. I was married in 1986 and we moved to NW Arkansas in 1987 to begin illustrating greeting cards for a Hallmark affiliate in Christian greeting cards. I remained there for 21 years with numerous awards and experience in all manner of products.

During this time I was offered 2 children’s book contracts with Penguin Putnam (now joined with Random House) out of New York City. Because of their success, I continued to illustrate children’s books in the evenings for this company while I illustrated cards as my regular job.

In 2008 I began my own LLC called, The Jolly Crocodile, and began illustrating, designing and teaching art to elementary schools. I provide products and services but I consider myself a “creative engineer”…good, applicable, creative ideas are what I strive for.

In 2009, I developed a simple drawing game called Pick and Draw to be used to help children develop creatively and gain confidence and enjoyment in drawing. This game is now being enjoyed worldwide and in 2015 was licensed to Demco Inc., a large educational supply company that sells worldwide. I compiled an activity book for the game written by professionals in various businesses that work with children and have 50 affiliates worldwide.

My highly interactive workshops and presentations to children have taken me all over the United States to draw with thousands of children in public schools and libraries as well as in private schools and homeschool regional groups. I have done numerous art camps, residencies (from 1 day to 2 weeks long) and many speaking opportunities as well as working with teachers in workshops. I enjoy drawing for people as part of my programs and showing them how a book is illustrated.

I am currently working on 2 children’s books for Penguin Random House group that are part of a beginning reader series of a big dog named Tiny. I will have completed 16 children’s books at the end of 2015. I am also going to press in 2015 with a new drawing game that will be multi-functional for helping people gain confidence in drawing. It has the potential to be used in schools nationwide by teachers in the classroom who do not know how to draw. I also illustrate for other companies and products using traditional and digital methods.

Completed the professional development workshop, Arts Inclusion: Engaging Special Needs Students in Your Residencies, presented by Richard Jenkins on May 19, 2012.

AIE Program

Preferred Age Level: Pre-K; Elementary; Middle/Junior High; Senior High
Geographic Availability: statewide
Time Availability: Open
Special Needs: General art supplies. If a large group, I will need a projector.