It’s the end of the year and you’re probably pondering over art goals for 2015. Maybe you have already gathered and piled all your supplies on your table and you’re itching to get going (I say start sketching!).
One way to get yourself sketching might be to take a class at Sketchbook Skool (SBS). Started by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene, SBS is a series of courses which each contain 6 classes. Each course runs for 6 weeks and every Friday you see a new class from a new artist. There are three courses available currently: “Beginnings,” “Seeing,” and “Storytelling.” In each course you’ll see that theme through the eyes of six different artists. Each 6-week course costs $99.
You can read about each of the courses and the artists presenting in each course on their website.
I’m very pleased that I have a class in “Beginnings.” I interpreted the theme as an opportunity to introduce people to methods and approaches, as well as some special tools and resource material, that would enable them to build a strong foundation for drawing animals from life—that’s right, critters that are moving.
In my class I talk about my supplies: which ones I use and and why I use them. I show a variety of examples of my work both in media style and in the variety of journal formats I’ve used over my lifetime journaling. You’ll see me demonstrate drawing techniques I believe are essential for artists of all skill levels to utilize, and you’ll see me draw an animal from life. Handouts with additional assignments and resource materials will allow you to continue your explorations long after class is over. A FAQ section will help you fine tune your practice while avoiding problems or difficulties many students encounter.
But that’s not all you get from the class. You will meet 5 other artists presenting their interpretation of “Beginning.” Any skill level artist will find information of interest throughout the course.
Danny and Koosje have worked to create a series of courses tailored to inspire students. To this end they have created a community of students in a private Facebook “skool-yard” and within the classroom. Students are encouraged to post work in both areas to inspire each other and challenge each other with new assignments and collaborative projects that generate artistic momentum. Sketchbook Skool is a supportive and fun environment.
Each class within the course also has a FAQ section from the individual artist. These will augment your understanding of the concepts presented in those classes. Finally each artist has created a parting gift that relates to his or her approach or subject matter.
Danny has written extensively about his mission as he sees it, to create a “hang out.”
“We aren't like other online schools which apparently do give extensive commentary on all their work…We are trying to create a rich virtual online experience. That's what I mean by "hang out." We wanted to create the sense with each klass that, if you got to go to an artist's studio, what would it be like to hangout for an afternoon? They'd show you around their work, pull out some sketchbooks, tell you about their life, their philosophy, their lessons learned. You'd see their materials, learn how they use them. Then they'd pull out a sketchbook and do a drawing or two and you'd look over their shoulder, as they talked about what they were doing and thinking. Then they might give you a gift from their studio to take home as an souvenir.
That's what we are trying to simulate with our videos, which to me at least, is very different from what I have seen in many online classes that seem to focus on special techniques and how to do them.
It's not hand holding but it's what you need to get your creative engine stoked and to see the world and artistic creation in a stimulating way.”
Since April 2014 when “Beginnings” first went on line I’ve seen three groups of students go through this course. They have developed artistic friendships with peers in a supportive and engaging environment. They have expanded the role of art in their lives. Many of the students now meet in person for sketch outs. They feel comfortable because they have shared an experience together and shared their art.
If this sounds like the type of community you would like to join, check out Sketchbook Skool's website.
I’ve been pleased to be one of the presenting artists. I know that right this minute Danny and Koosje are working with other artists on new topics to develop additional classes. I don’t know when those classes will be available, or even how often “Beginnings” will be available within the year, so if you have been reading my blog and thinking about this course, go and check things out. I think you will enjoy the experience, learn to think about drawing live animals a little differently, and come away with a whole new group of art friends who will encourage you to stick to your art goals for 2015.
Sketchbook Skool opens again for the new semester Friday, January, 2, 2015.
And if you’ve been looking for other online classes from me, stay tuned. I will have exciting news in January about the rerelease of my 2011 online mixed media journaling class and other new online classes.
I look forward to helping you with your artistic goals in 2015.