Kalamadoodle Characters is a monthly series that introduces an attendee to the greater Kalamazoo community. Through these quick, bullet-point style interviews, we hope that you can learn more about your neighbors, find a common interest, and be encouraged to meet a new friend at one of our events.
Meet Chuck Stull
- Chuck came to Kalamazoo 27 years ago to teach at Western Michigan University as a replacement for another professor while they were on a one-year sabbatical. Currently, he teaches economics at Kalamazoo College and he as been there for 20 years.
- As a student, he also studied economics, finding great interest in all the different ways economics can be used; like in research, for the government, and for business purposes.
- But, Chuck fell in love with teaching when he filled-in as a substitute teacher for a statistics class and used a card trick to show probability. When his students demonstrated a wide-eyed expression of amazement, along with an understanding of the subject matter, he was sold on teaching as a profession.
- While he is a great artist in his own right, Chuck says that he didn't grow up drawing, but fell into it, “backwards through photography”.
- He started to dabble in doodling after taking his daughter to a Mark Kistler event at her elementary school and noticed it was FUN to draw.
- A few years ago, after picking up a book at the library about, “urban sketchers,” Chuck thought it was something he could explore and find satisfaction in personally. So he started carrying around a small notebook with him to coffee shops and bars and began to develop his sketching skills by just trying to draw objects that were accessible and around him.
- A few years ago on sabbatical, he traveled to places like Salamanca, Spain and Oxford, England and the beauty of the cathedrals and architecture inspired him, so he spent lots of time sketching. While in London, he was able to join an urban sketching group, and had the opportunity to sketch in a defined area with a large group of people.
“It wasn’t really competitive at all. It’s just looking at how different people draw different stuff. In London, there would be big groups. Everyone would be drawing Saint Paul’s Cathedral but no one was drawing anything that looks alike. Some people would be drawing the whole building; that was me at the time, trying to always get the big picture, and some people would be drawing just a statue. Some people would be using watercolors, or fountain pens or pencils”.
- This sabbatical took place when Kalamadoodle was just beginning, so Chuck was, “watching from a distance,” with great interest to attend an event once he was back home.
- Now, Chuck tries to bring a lot of creativity into his teaching. He has even brought the idea of, “sketch notes,” into his classroom. He also teaches a sophomore seminar, and a big part of it is preparing students for study abroad. Through his own experiences, he uses the concepts of sketching to highlight the importance of observation and taking notice of things.
- And in addition to his teaching, Chuck is writing a textbook for students who are getting ready to studying abroad. The book is coming together by harnessing his own creativity and personal history, and features interjections of interesting stories from his travels.
- Chuck's love for world traveling was built on a foundation of family trips while he was young, and rekindled by a trip to China many years ago. But, from our time talking with him, we can tell he has an appreciation for currently calling Kalamazoo, "home".
“I like Kalamazoo. Over the years, it has really become so much better and exciting. Seeing the whole growth of Kalamazoo with all the breweries, Kalamadoodle, Art Hop, and lots of interesting restaurants downtown. I have really enjoyed living here”.
Thank you for sharing, Chuck! We appreciate your support and hope to see you at our next event, Wednesday, October 19th at Bell's Eccentric Cafe!