I’ve been teaching art classes online for almost 6 years. I’ve taught 20 courses and over 70,000 students from around the world. It’s hard to even wrap my head around.
Prior to teaching, I was a student too. I graduated from Design School and worked in a studio as a graphic designer. Later I became a self-taught artist, cobbling together my art education with online classes, workshops, and books. I’m still a student now really—I learn new things and continue to grow and evolve as an artist every day.
I started teaching because I enjoy learning and sharing what I’ve learned to help others. After I taught a few basic illustration classes, I became obsessed with the idea of an artist’s individual style and voice. I love weird, unique, expressive art and am always thrilled when I see other artists creating art that is so obviously natural to them and speaking in their own unique voice through their art.
And so, I set out on a journey to teach that.
I didn’t want to teach people how to make art. I wanted to teach people how to make their own art. How to speak in their own voice. How to find their unique artistic style and voice.
I had recently gone through my own difficult journey of finding my artistic identity. I went from not knowing if I could be an artist at all, to not knowing who I was as an artist, to not knowing how to keep growing and evolving as an artist.
I struggled for years to eventually get where I am today—working full-time as an illustrator and drawing consistently, with one self-published book, two completed children’s books with Scholastic (pub date May 2020!) and two more books with Scholastic currently in progress.
I was able to overcome that initial struggle and reaching those milestones because I’m now able to let my drawings flow out of me more naturally. I’ve developed a steady and recognizable—yet constantly evolving—artistic style.
Of course, I still have off days, and I’m not claiming to be a brilliant-genius-master-artist. I am whatever I am. That’s not important to me. What matters to me is that I’ve achieved:
- a happy acceptance of where I currently am on my artistic journey
- an enthusiastic drive to continue along my artistic journey
- and a steady confidence in myself and my art.
But it was far from easy to get here, and I wanted to help others get here without having to go through all the years of intense struggle that I did.
So I created my first flagship course, Sketchbook to Style Boot Camp. I thought launching that course was the culmination of a goal, the completion of a project, and that from there I would move on to who-knows-what next.
But it was in fact, the beginning of what may well be my life’s obsession. This idea has grown, expanded, and evolved into something even greater, and it has possessed me completely.
I set my sights on mapping out the Artistic Journey.
In the years since the Sketchbook to Style launched, I’ve learned more about art, artists, and art education than all my previous years teaching and making art combined. I’ve been hard at work on this idea and have had three major breakthroughs:
- There are common obstacles that all artists face, and matching common qualities within us to overcome those obstacles.
- These obstacles and qualities align and converge to form the four stages of artistic progress.
- Each stage has specific needs that must be met to progress through the stages.
With those insights in my pocket, a whole new world opened up. In aiming to teach how to discover your artistic style, I’ve actually stumbled onto the process of teaching someone how to become an artist.
I’ll be back to explain more next week. :)
What do you think?
Would you be interested in visualizing the Artistic Journey and have a clear steps to continue your growth? Do you wonder where you are on your journey and where you’re going? Are you interested in learning about the common obstacles and qualities of artists?
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