gobbler
The Gobbler. Created during a Sketchbook Rescue

Something I have often heard is that Devoting a portion of your time and percentage of your budget to learning new tools and understanding can have a huge impact on an Artist. In my personal experience, each time I have invested in instructional courses or tools to help me better understand my craft it has lead to a breakthrough moment. One of those moments where something you have heard a thousand times finally nestles into your grey matter and you realize “Oh! That’s what they mean.”

Those moments are so fulfilling because the concept that is absorbed begins to work it’s way into your art, popping up naturally without the artists’ efforts. In my experience it is when pushing my boundries and doing something outside my comfort zone that those wonderful moments tend to happen. A great way to take a guided tour outside of your comfort zone is through online instructional courses.

While I have had good experiences with other providers, I have found that Schoolism is particularly good at offering high quality instruction at varying levels of investment. The option to sign up for courses taught by top artists in the industry which include video feedback on your work is phenomenal.  For someone on a budget it is hard to beat Schoolism’s monthly subscription model. I recently signed up and started watching the lesson videos for Painting Creatures with Bobby Chui.

I began watching it while I worked on a sketch I had recently cleaned up in a Sketchbook Rescue operation. I just wanted to try and get a few technical tips and methodology for the workflow that bobby uses to create his images. In the very first lesson Bobby laid out the importance of story and a good way to approach it. After watching the lesson and letting it sink in I returned to focus on my image and really analyse what kind of story I was telling. It was lacking.

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My image was really just a big multi armed alien gobbling up cute creatures. Kinda funny  and cute but somewhat shallow. I also realized the environment I had been creating around him didn’t help tell any story at all. I thought about the lesson and began redesigning my landscape to help tell a story. That re focusing lead to the addition of another character and his spaceship which added important depth to the images’ story.

After one lesson I felt a dramatic impact on my work and while pursuing the improved story I was sprinting through the unfamiliar territory of environment design. Not with a hesitant uncertainty about how the landscape should look, but with a clear vision of the path to tread.

Every time I have dedicated myself to an online course I have seen growth in my understanding and abilities. I highly recommend that anyone with an interest in developing as an artist check out Schoolism and other online art education. They are worth the investment.