The next time you decide to learn something new, try online art classes. We live in the wonderful era of the internet, and it’s easy to take a class online by artists who work in the medium they are teaching. I’m not saying that they are all Picassos, but even though there are some classes that are better than others, there is almost always something to learn.
Unless there is a degree involved, there are many places to find classes, working in a new medium, or using a technique you know very little about. Or if you haven’t worked in a medium for a while it is always a great idea to take a few brush up classes. It’s amazing how much you forget when you haven’t done something for a while. Many times there are also new products out too and it’s a good way to see if you like them.
There are also ways of working that may be new and inspiring to you that you haven’t thought of before.
I’m not saying that college classes are bad (because they’re not). Heck, I have a BA degree. But sometimes because whoever is teaching a class doesn’t have to follow a curriculum, the teaching is freer and sometimes more exciting.
Taking online classes, either through a website or on YouTube, offer another great, often neglected plus. You can meet new people, discuss or ask questions about the class, either with the teacher or other students by engaging in the comments section. It is a great tool to utilize for a plethora of reasons.
Pick a class – They are as thick as fleas.
Online art classes have so many options to choose from that it can get a bit confusing. If you learn better through visual media, most websites and all the YouTube sites offer video classes. However, after deciding what direction you would like to head in, make sure of a few things before committing or paying for a class.
- Make sure you can understand the instructor.
Unfortunately, not everyone speaks clearly, and in some cases slowly enough to understand. Run through a bit of the video first to make sure that you can spend some quality, online time with this person. Sometimes the tone of their voice, or their way of explaining a technique is not something that works for you. It’s okay. There are plenty of others out there.
- Don’t choose something that is so difficult for you that you end up giving up.
The whole idea of taking an online class is to have fun and learn something new, so don’t sabotage yourself. If you haven’t taken a learning course for a while, start with something you already know. Get the feel of it. Let yourself become excited by the prospect of creating something that you enjoyed making.
- Check to make sure if the class is free or if you must pay to view the information.
While there are classes that are fee based, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better than the ones you can find for free. The ones you pay for generally have more classes, and more time is spent in learning mode. That is a generalization, however check things out so that you don’t end up being disappointed because half the class was free, but in order to finish it a fee must be paid. Surprise.
Stuff happens. This little checklist is just a minor way to make sure you enjoy the process you have committed to.
Commit to the artistic process – It’s the only way to get better.
Children do the same thing over and over when they are learning. Watch a kid learning to ride a skateboard or learn a sport. They repeat the same process until they feel comfortable with it and then go on to the next thing, and do it over and over until they get it right.
So be committed to whatever process you have decided to learn, and repeat it until you start to think about adding the next thing. Keep putting yourself out there in the discomfort zone until it becomes comfortable, then do it again. It’s how we get better at any skill.
The benefit of the repetition is, often the mere fact of becoming better at doing it makes you better at taking the next step. Whatever that step may be. Especially if the thought that takes you there is, “I wonder what would happen if I…” That folks, believe it or not, is creativity. Go with it. Expand it and allow it to take you to a new place. Baby steps.
Check your ego at the door.
Frustration is NOT a good thing. Especially when learning. It usually means one of two things.
- You are trying to be perfect
- You think you need to be perfect
- Even though you haven’t used this skill before, because you are an artist you feel you should be able to do it perfectly.
Perfection is the killer of creativity. It forces you into a very tight box (that you have created by the way) and doesn’t allow for the celebration of creating in a new and different way.
Let go of any thought or need for perfection. In art, as in all else, don’t set expectations before you have even begun. Relax and see where the process takes you. Finish the classes and work on your own in the new medium. If you decide in the end that it’s not for you, fine. Don’t do it anymore.
It’s amazing how much of something you may not even like can help you in working in ways that you love. In order to get better, stretch yourself, push yourself through the discomfort. Come out the other side with a new appreciation for what you have accomplished, and use it in either a big or small way.
You will be glad you did.
And, you can gather up a whole bunch of new art supplies.
Is YouTube the way to go? Try it and see.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to YouTube. Generally the classes are a one off, although sometimes they come in series. There is a lot of repetition with YouTube, but even within the repetition there are gems of information available.
It is a great place to figure out what to do as far a new class or technique is concerned because the videos are shorter than an online class generally, and there is so much available. I was looking for something quite specific, found it on YouTube and then went to learn more about it in a more fleshed out learning experience online. I just depends on what you want.
If you have the attention span of a gnat, YouTube is the place for you. Unless of course the video is not well edited, which happens. So, look around, plan your next move and learn something new.
At the end of the day…
While it is generally true that you get what you pay for, be careful when choosing a paid learning experience. There are so many folks trying to make their way, that much of the information is given away for free. That’s good news. A lot of the information that you get for free is high quality, so really take a good look. Here are a few guidelines to help you decide what medium or technique to learn.
- Are your questions answered?
- Does it look fun?
- Does the presenter seem well versed in whatever medium you are interested in?
- Can you stand the sound of the presenters voice?
- Did you learn anything?
If these seem a tad elementary, it’s because they are. However, you would be surprised how many people don’t think of things like that to begin with. So be smart with your choice.
If you have any questions or anything to say, please let me know.