Are you ready for the ‘stuff they don’t teach you in school’ school?

The Milwaukee Portfolio School picks up where college leaves off and eases the frustration of creative directors stuck with graduates who lack the specific skills needed to work in advertising. Here, students learn to concept like agency pros, discover what job-winning portfolios look like and spend time with award-winning creatives. All of this and more in a six-week program that costs about half as much as just one college course hour.

Sessions are held fall, winter and summer with classes every Monday and Wednesday between 6 and 8pm at C2 Graphics Productivity Solutions in Milwaukee’s Walker's Point neighborhood.

Program Details

Our Summer 2019 session runs from June 10th to July 24th (skipping the week of July 1st). Classes are every Monday and Wednesday between 6 and 8pm at C2 Graphics Productivity Solutions, 700 W. Virginia Street, Suite 602, Milwaukee, WI 53204. Our partnership with C2 affords you access to computer equipment, design software and a staff well versed in Adobe applications.

Classes are open to anyone who desires to get a job as an art director or copywriter. Undergrad, grad or working stiff. The fee for a six-week session is $1000 and includes a course book, an Adworker’s membership and Adobe software instruction. Class sizes are capped at a maximum of 12 students per session and admissions close one week prior to the first class. Click here to enroll and to save $100.

Course Schedule

  1. Week 1Orientation, thinking exercises, agency structure and strategy lecture, case study presentation.
  2. Week 2Portfolio reviews, portfolio construction lecture, thinking exercises.
  3. Week 3Advertising techniques lecture, main campaign assigned, mystery project.
  4. Week 4Ad agency guest lecture, campaign work, individual work, mystery project.
  5. Week 5Mystery project, campaign work, individual progress meeting with instructors, help from InDesign and Photoshop experts.
  6. Week 6Best practices for presenting lecture, campaign work, help from InDesign and Photoshop experts, present main campaign, party.

Your Fearless Instructors

The saying that those who can’t do, teach does not apply here. The school’s creators and instructors, Jeff Ericksen and Scott Lawson bring with them a combined real world experience of over 40 years as an ad agency copywriter and art director respectively. And they haven’t quit their day jobs to pursue the mission of this school either. Jeff and Scott are both currently Creative Directors at Nelson Schmidt.

Copywriter Jeff EricksenJeff Ericksen - Creative Director / Writer
Contact Jeff via email or phone (414-334-0657) with questions about the class
Upon graduating from Columbia College, Jeff worked as a copywriter in Chicago until taking a job in Milwaukee where he’s spent the majority of his 20 year career. Along with holding Creative Director posts at top shops such as CK and BVK, he has served on the board and as President of the United Adworkers, Milwaukee’s ad club, has taught advertising at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, copywriting at Marquette University and created the city’s first portfolio school. Jeff’s work has been recognized by Adweek, Archive, CA, Cannes, Creativity, Obie, One Show and Mercury.

Creative Director Scott LawsonScott Lawson - Creative Director / Art Director
Scott’s strength has always been his ability to communicate strategy through the use of stunning visual solutions. His attention to detail in both concept and execution has earned him many of the most coveted awards in the industry from organizations like the One Show, Communication Arts, Graphis and Lurzer’s Archive. His experience ranges across multiple categories and his body of work includes campaigns for AT&T, MasterCraft Boats, Citgo and a wide variety of non-profits. Scott is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is an accomplished photographer and has guest lectured at his Alma Mater, Marquette and MIAD.


The Milwaukee Portfolio Schools roots can be traced back to 2007 when Jeff Ericksen and Cori Coffman opened Miss Coffmansens Portfolio Finishing School for Good Girls and Boys at the Eisner American Museum of Advertising & Design. For the next 5 years, Cori and Jeff saw over 60 students pass their way and go on to work at such places as Bader Rutter, BVK, CK, Jigsaw, Laughlin Constable and TDH among others. Although Cori has since gone on to pursue other interests and the Eisner is just sadly gone, the original lesson plan and tutorials that propelled so many onto success are still intact and taught with the help of new instructor Scott at the new location of C2. Below are some samples of work that was created in class as well as a couple of things our students had to say about the course.

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“This class showed me what is expected in entry-level advertising jobs and I got a real feel for if working in advertising was something I wanted to do. If anything, I wish I would have taken this class sooner.”

“I’d highly recommend this course to anyone who is considering working in an agency or wanting to break into the advertising industry. This course gives a perspective on what skills and work ethic is expected as a junior copywriter or art director. If anyone is debating taking the class sign up and try it out, you won’t regret it.”


“Unlike most of my classes, this experience got me to think in a different way. Most of the time in school, you are taught cookie cutter concepts from a text book. They leave little room for creative thoughts, which is what I thought this class really excelled in. It helped me to open my mind and concept.”

“The curriculum strikes a nice balance of instruction, practice and inspiration. I also thought the teaching dynamic was awesome. Scott and Jeff are both incredibly talented individuals who work well together. It is nice to have an art director that can tell you if your layouts need work and a writer that can tell you if your copy falls flat. Plus, you can tell that they genuinely want you to succeed.”


“I have never taken a “lab based” class before, so it was new to experience such a hands on approach. Out of all the classes I’ve ever taken, this one helped me grow the fastest.”

“It was a great learning experience for me and I think for anyone at any age who wants to better themselves in their career or just see things from a new point of view.”


“I have two college degrees and I’ve been to another portfolio school. The MKE Portfolio School was such a worthy investment that I’d have paid double. I learned brainstorming techniques I had never heard of that led to ideas I wouldn’t normally have thought of.”

“Compared to the cost of a regular class at UWM, in which I usually find myself bored or daydreaming, this experience actually stimulated my mind and was worth its weight in Archive Magazines.”


“This taught me what a job winning portfolio should look like. You need to have campaigns that show your thinking across print, outdoor, digital, guerilla and more.”

“Having one instructor from the writing side and one from art is perfect. It allows writers to think visually and art directors to understand the importance of copy.”


“I learned more about how to be creative in this class than my prior schooling. Most formal schools operate in a concrete manner, with very little focus on creative aspirations. It was perfect for people like me with a full-time job, a weird schedule and not a whole lot of money.”

“This course gave me more of a real-world understanding of what would be expected in an agency. I was happy to get the constructive criticism that I didn’t get from other instructors.”


“I learned how to concept, get to the big idea and the importance of the creative process. Getting feedback from senior creative directors during our final presentation was incredibly valuable too.”

“Both instructors are highly versed, educated and expereinced in advertising and I took their criticism, feedback and opinions very seriously. I have been blessed to work with them.”


“I liked the team teaching dynamic. I didn’t realize how directly writers and art directors worked together in the real world. I think it’s a good introduction to what we would encounter at a job.”

“This class provides guidance and a framework to develop a portfolio, but simply showing up and doing the in-class assignments won’t get you remotely close to completion. That said, if you have the time and energy to invest, this guidance and framework are invaluable.”


“There’s a disconnect between what I was taught in college and the real world. This course was honest and raw. It answered a lot of questions for me.”

“I learned new brainstorming and concepting techniques. I found the instructors personal experience in the industry and their advice about what makes a good ad very valuable. Hearing from other creatives who work at various agencies was helpful too.”

Sign me up Damnit!

Heard enough? Ready to learn all there is to know about advertising and perhaps more importantly, how to get a job in advertising? Then please, by all means, click this fancy shmancy button to enroll. We look forward to sharing our knowledge with you.

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