Meet Me in a Minute: Jerry Mendheim


By Katelin Chong and Gloria Kosir

After spending more than half of our school year at home, it’s been difficult for some to get to know our classmates. For example, not all of junior Jerry Mendheim‘s classmates would have known that he has a passion for art. After starting to take drawing and sketching seriously at the beginning of his freshman year, Mendheim worked hard to uncover another talent–graphic design!

Mendheim was able to explore graphic design during his sophomore and junior years, intertwining the two art forms to create original pieces. While he hasn’t taken any formal lessons, he did use many skillshare and Udemy classes to learn the fundamentals of art.

“My favorite type of art is definitely character design work. It allows a lot of freedom and is way less time-consuming than creating a full painting,” Mendheim said. His work features a variety of colors and styles, all delicately selected. Mendheim has a specific process to follow when starting a new project that ensures a new masterpiece each time.

“I’ll typically start by compiling different references and create a mood board. This helps me get into the piece and allows me to take different ideas and combine them into something new. Then I’ll make a few concept sketches to decide on the style and feel of the character. Once I find an angle I like, I’ll clean up my line art and start coloring it in,” Mendheim said.

His detailed order of operations has proven to be foolproof. Fine Arts teacher Deanna Sortino was Mendheim’s graphic design teacher and has noticed his great work.

“Jerry Mendheim is an extremely talented, driven, self-motivated, and hardworking art student. He excels at pushing himself, taking risks, and teaching himself programs and techniques to take his art to the next level. He is always prepared for class and college portfolio reviews and will have an incredibly successful artistic future,” Sortino said.

The ideas for Mendheim’s art pieces have to come from somewhere. According to him, he draws inspiration from clothing and characters that he sees in other media.

“Combining different ideas and different styles really allows for some cool results,” Mendheim said. “My art is very heavy on color and lighting. It’s also almost all digital as well. The style of shading I’ll typically use is called shell shading, where shadows, core colors and lighting effects are all blocked out separately.”

Although Mendheim is heavily dedicated to his art, he is involved in other clubs, some even relating to his art. As co-president of the Graphic Design Club, Mendheim is able to explore and discuss ideas with other artists from Niles West. The Go Green Club also welcomes him as a member.

“I’ve only known Jerry for around two years, but in those two years he’s been an amazing friend. He makes everyone laugh and he’s someone I could go to about anything I have going on. It’s always a fun time hanging out with him and I’m so happy to see his artwork grow and get better,” Mendheim’s friend junior Dia Patel said.

Through his artwork, Mendheim is able to express himself and explore new creative boundaries. Make sure to check out some of his pieces in the gallery!