a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit
Public Benefit Corporation

Drawing Out Your Character,
One Scribble at a Time






My sons, 9 and 13, like to draw cartoon and comic characters and my daughter 7 likes to draw faces. Can you give me more information about JLI's after school program?


The after school program runs 3 days a week -- M-W-F -- with basic classes from 4:00 to 5:00 and design classes from 5:00 to 6:30.

JLI offers 3 "basic" classes and 3 "design" classes each month.

The schedule of topics covered varies throughout the year. See current classes here.

A "class" consists of 4 weeks, one session/week.

Basic classes work primarily on developing competence with materials and techniques. Design classes use those competencies and emphasize composition and story-telling.

Many students enroll in 2 or more classes each month -- sometimes staying the full 2.5 hours on a single day and sometimes choosing to come in for different classes on different days.

While the after school program is designed for students to start any time, classes are designed to build one upon the last. Art skills are learned and improved through sustained effort over years, not hours.

That said, it is possible -- but not optimal -- to attend single classes using a Flexpass. Flexpasses are intended for students wanting to sample a number of different classes before choosing where to settle. Drop-ins miss out on the background, follow-up, and sense of camaraderie that develop over a sustained commitment of time.

JLI’s all-ages programming is aimed at encouraging intergenerational positive role modeling and cooperation. In general we see K-8 students in basic classes and teens and young adults in advanced classes. However, parents are encouraged to participate in all classes, and students of all ages mingle in the studio.


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What exactly do students study in JLI's after school classes?


Each term (3 months) our Lead Artists select new "inspirations" (artists, genres, films, comics, TV series, etc.) that will appeal to young artists. Students gain perspective on the real work of being an artist as they look in depth at how those inspirations illustrate the skills they are practicing in class.

Students acquire a vocabulary of art and experience satisfaction as they learn how to replicate art they admire. Students are also encouraged to explore their own variations on that inspiration art by creating original characters and stories in similar styles.

Skills cover drawing human (hands, face, proportion, action, etc.) and non-human (animals, machines, aliens, etc.) forms and backgrounds with a variety of mediums. A full range of basic art materials are available at the studio. Lead Artists typically select a core set of ideas, techniques and materials for their classes to work with each term. Lessons focus on increasingly sophisticated perspective and composition, from simple concepts like size-position-&-horizon to font design and targeting specific audiences.

Classes emphasize skill development rather than producing products. JLI artists do lots of practice work, quick sketches and variations as they gain confidence with various tools (pencil, scissors, ruler, various brushes, Photoshop & Flash, etc.), mediums (pastels, acrylics, watercolor, ink, digital, sculpy, etc.) and techniques (action lines, isometric perspective, proportion, rotations, animation, etc.). All of these are applicable to any art project the student wishes to undertake, and to general learning abilities in academic subjects as well.

All art communicates, hence JLI’s approach to learning is all about visual storytelling. From thumb-nailing simple joke panels to designing multi-layer video games, drawing out each artist’s ideas is at the heart of all instruction at the Academy.


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What are the benefits of learning art skills?


Art communicates, cutting through individual differences in culture, educational background, and ability. . . . Art can bring every subject to life and turn abstractions into concrete reality. Learning through the arts often results in greater academic achievement and higher test scores.

Arts education strengthens student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement, school success, and preparation for the work world. . . . Students develop crucial skills in cooperative decision-making, leadership, clear communication, and complex problem solving while working with others. . . . Arts education helps develop a positive work ethic, flexibility, and pride in a job well done.

Art helps children understand other subjects much more clearly—from math and science, to language arts and geography. . . . Art nurtures inventiveness as it engages children in a process that aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, and self-motivation.


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What's special about JLI?



JLI employs professional artists with strong teaching skills to lead all classes.

JLI classes take place in a studio setting where artists collaborate to improve their individual and team artworks.

JLI’s goals for participants in all its programs are:

  • to become more alert to and appreciative of art in their surroundings;
  • to acquire knowledge that will allow them to relate to and evaluate art meaningfully;
  • to produce art that expresses their thoughts and feelings in a satisfying way.


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What is different about JLI's “studio setting”?


Because JLI classes are taught by professional artists, any individual with either a personal or career interest in art will find valuable guidance in JLI's studio.

JLI’s all-ages studio atmosphere is also ideal for the wigglers, gigglers, doodlers and dreamers who are often isolated in traditional, structured classrooms.

Differences are not less noticeable in a studio setting, and they not simply accepted -- they are critically observed by classmates and admired for their value in a shared, student directed, creative effort.

In JLI’s studio students may exhibit some lack of age appropriate social skills; some may exhibit more serious syndromes including ADHD, dyslexia, autism, Asperger's, etc. In a studio setting, all but the most extreme of these behaviors fit in comfortably. As a result, individuals who have been ostracized in the public schools experience acceptance and develop friendships and the social skills needed to support them in all settings.

In a studio setting learning is an apprenticeship. Lead Artists encourage, support and mentor as well as demonstrating and critiquing as needed. Beginning and journeymen artists work together as a team. The team’s composition and energy set the tone and guide the Lead Artist.

Intensive interactions with staff, collaboration with peers, special speakers & workshops, field experiences and support for independent projects are all part of JLI’s studio experience. All are designed to prepare young artists to move from the Academy to the workplace.

Past field trips have included WonderCon, Comic Con, Lucas Arts, Industrial Light & Magic and Electronic Arts. Professional artists Frank DeZuniga, Rhode Montijo, Jody Wilson and Mike Oliva have all come to the studio to talk to students, review their portfolios, and offer advice. Recruiters from Cogswell College and Academy of Art University have given programs and advice to inspire JLI’s students to set life goals and pursue careers that will utilize their talents and passion.


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Where is JLI located?


Jagged Lines of Imagination's studio is located at 2232 N. El Dorado in Stockton (right next to Louie's Fruit & Produce).

JLI's entrance, and secure parking are around the corner and behind the building.

The studio is only open for classes and events (as shown on the Academy calendar). Appointments with Lead Artists outside of regular hours need to be scheduled ahead.


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How do I know which class to enroll in?



A key to finding the right class(es) for your children is their interests and experience. You and your children are welcome to join us for a class visit to experience a session and get familiar with the studio.

The best way to decide what class to take, one that will be both comfortable and challenging, is to bring your young artist, with some artwork they've done at home or in school, to the studio.

Usually a visit to a class and a discussion of their drawings with one of our Lead Artists is all it takes to find a good fit for any particular artist. Classroom visits are free. We do ask that you call in advance to let the Lead Artist know when, and how many, guests to expect. And we recommend that all potential students bring some of their recent drawings for a "portfolio review" with a Lead Artist.

Portfolio reviews are typically conducted before or after regular classes, so an appointment is recommended to ensure that our Lead Artist can accommodate you.


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How should my young artist prepare for class?


All artists (and parents) should be familiar with our general studio policies.

Dress comfortably. JLI does have smocks to protect our young artists’ clothes, but it’s still best to avoid wearing anything that can’t handle a spot of permanent ink . . .

Our Lead Artists are always interested in seeing what their students are producing at home. Most of JLI’s young artists begin carrying and using personal sketch books as they begin to master and want to practice new drawing skills.

Be sure your young artist is armed with imagination, and perhaps a non-messy snack/drink if coming straight from school. JLI’s Lead Artists will take it from there.


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What can I expect my young artist to bring home?




Practice sketches and samples of the materials, skills and concepts they are working with in class. Students are encouraged to take on some “homework” -- typically more practice or research/idea development for an up-coming session.

Current Lead Artist samples and student works in progress are always on display on the class bulletin boards in the studio lobby and on artists’ clipboards in the studio.

Lead artists encourage each student to develop a portfolio of some kind. (Some are designed to secure college or job prospects, some detail personal growth, some take the form of mini-books appropriate for duplication. Both the content and design of portfolios are as unique as each artist.)

Lead Artists also urge all students to prepare work to show whenever the Academy exhibits (typically open houses at the studio or shows at local libraries or other host galleries) and to participate in the Academy’s annual Art Battle.

Student sketches and completed artworks are also on display in the JLI website galleries as another incentive for all artists to continue practicing and improving.

Because JLI focuses on skills not products, students may – or may not – initiate and complete personal projects (suggested by Lead Artists or their own original ideas) that appeal to them. These projects often take a full term or more to complete. Lead Artists serve as mentors for these individual projects.


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How do I enroll my child?


A registration form and an initial payment are all it takes.

You can reserve a seat in any class using JLI’s on-line PayPal service (use any major credit card, no PayPal account necessary).

JLI’s enrollment packs (basic information and registration form) are available at the studio, or in printable form at JLI’s website.

The registration form includes basic contact information, your initial class choices and payment responsibilities. (Students are always free to try different classes each term.) Page 2 of the form allows parents of children under 18 to give us emergency and other useful details about your young artist.

You can enroll your child by filling out a registration form with the assistance of a Lead Artist at a portfolio review. Contact a Lead Artist to schedule a review.

Or, if you know already know what class(es) your child wants to take, please call ahead to let our Lead Artist know when your young artist will begin attending, and bring your filled-in registration along to their first class.


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How much do classes cost?



Classes are $10/hour.

One basic class is $40/month (four 1-hour sessions). One design class is $60/month (four 1.5-hour sessions). JLI offers a $20 discount/family when more than one child is enrolled, and other discounts for multi-class or multi-month enrollments. (Discounts do not apply to FlexPasses.)

Artists who are unable to pay regular tuition may be eligible for our Special Tuition program. If finances are a problem for you, please ask our Lead Artists about this possibility.

For enrollments beginning in the middle of any month, tuition will be prorated for that month.


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What about holidays and cancelled classes?



JLI closes for most holidays. Those closures are shown on the Academy calendar.

On other occasions when a class is cancelled (instructor illness, etc.) we will attempt to let you know in advance. Please understand that this may not always be possible due to the emergency nature of some cancellations, and our volunteers' limited availability.

In any case where a JLI holiday or cancellation, or perhaps your own family vacation, interferes with an artist's ability to attend 4 classes in a particular month, you may make up the session(s) by taking one of JLI's other classes in that same month.

To schedule a make up class, please contact the Lead Artist of the class you will be visiting to ensure that there will be space in the class you want to attend.

There are no refunds or extensions for missed or cancelled classes.


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Will there be extra charges beyond tuition?


JLI charges a one-time registration fee of $25/family.

The cost of materials is included in tuition.

However, extra charges to cover costs may apply to field trips.

Special workshops and mini-classes are priced separately.


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What other programs does JLI have?



JLI sponsors a monthly Art Club. The Art Club’s 2-hour meetings are free and open to the all – as long as children under 16 are accompanied by an adult. Students and their families are encouraged to participate.

The Art Club selects its own focus each year. In the past these have included a couple of different life drawing series, a study of master art displayed in the Haggin, and techniques for meeting the challenges of art contests. The Art Club seeks to involve artists in the community and is considering taking on a community project – bringing its meetings to shut-ins in some of Stockton’s elderly housing facilities – in the future.

JLI’s annual Art Battle is a special opportunity for artists to test themselves against other artists and the clock at a live competition. There are categories for artists of all ages and abilities. All Academy students are encouraged to join in the fun, while showing off what they’ve learned.

When possible, JLI includes speakers and field experiences within the Academy’s after school program. JLI also offers more intense, advanced mini-courses and guest artist, career focused and other specialty workshops. These are designed to serve the entire community and are available to enrich the experience of Academy students. Offerings vary depending on grants, other funding, and community needs.

JLI’s Monthly Planet newsletter contains information about recent and upcoming programs.


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Where does my tuition money go?


Tuition covers about half of JLI’s current expense budget.

Our Lead Artists are professionals. JLI pays less than we believe they are worth, but it is key to our philosophy of the value of art that they are paid. (At the same time it is important to note that JLI Lead Artists do much more for the Academy than teaching classes. JLI Lead Artists have always supported the Academy by being among its most devoted and generous volunteers.)

Additional costs are, basically, materials, rent, utilities & insurance.

At this time, JLI has no paid administrative staff, depending entirely on volunteers for everything from bookkeeping to janitorial.


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Where does the rest of the money come from?



Donations and fundraising by our volunteer board of directors.

New programs and enrichment opportunities for existing programs are developed as grants or sponsorships become available to fund those efforts.

You can help!

The studio gets significant support from Office Depots ink & toner recycling program. We can always use your old ink/toner cartridges.

Spending a minute wiping down the studio tables after class is a big deal.

Drop a dollar in the donation jar now and then.

Willing to get involved as an ambassador promoting JLI? or have professional expertise you’re willing to share? Call Jon!


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