10 – Do You Have To Go To Art School To Be A Professional Artist?
Art School

Laura and Nikki talk about whether or not it’s necessary to go to art school to be a professional artist. They share their different experiences related to art school and other types of art and creative business education.

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE ON:

Topics discussed

  • Nikki’s art school experience (1:29)
  • Individual Teacher’s Online classes (7:17)
  • Free mini-courses/lessons (10:43)
  • Large online education platforms (11:32)
  • In-person workshops (17:42)
  • Traveling for workshops – Laura & Nikki’s travel stories (18:01)
  • Large courses with memberships (23:19)
  • Art business resources (27:59)
  • Free business Facebook groups (30:16)

Resources Discussed

Individual Art Teachers

Flora Bowley, Tracy VerdugoLaura HornJeanne Oliver

Bundled Art Courses with multiple teachers

Paint Your Heart and SoulLife Book, Art Bundle for Good

Online Education Platforms

Skillshare – Get two weeks free on us!, Udemy, Creative Bug (5 months for $5), Creative Live, Domestika

Learning while Traveling

Carolyn Gavin and Helen Dardik workshops and retreats 

Large courses with follow-up memberships:

Business and Design Courses:

Free Resources:

 

 

 

Laura

0:07
Hi, this is Laura

Nikki

0:08
And this is Nikki with the Startist Society, inspiring you to stop getting in your own way, and start building an art biz and life that you love.

Laura

0:17
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you stuck.

Nikki

0:31
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours.

Laura

0:38

Nikki, what are we talking about today?

Nikki

0:40
Today we’re talking about whether or not it’s necessary to go to art school to be a professional artist. And like everything else in life? The answer is, it depends.

Nikki

0:52
If your goal is to teach art in a high school or college level, then…

Laura

0:58
…yes, it would be required. But if your goal is to be a working artist, the most important thing you could do is to just get started. And to get started, you need to have the courage to be open to learning new things, which kind of gets us back to that growth mindset. You can learn how to draw, you can learn how to paint and even do the business side of things. Now, Nikki, I know you went to art school, and I didn’t. So tell me a little bit about what the art school experience was like for you.

Nikki

1:29
Okay, so I was super fortunate to have parents who highly encouraged me to study whatever I wanted, and helped me along the way. So I got to go to art school. And I went to undergrad at University of Georgia, and I studied drawing and painting. And then I went to grad school at Savannah College of Art Design, and I studied fiber arts, which I’ve talked about in a previous episode. But, I was so fortunate to get to have that opportunity. And there’s a lot of really great things about going to art school.

Laura

2:05
Okay, like what?

Nikki

2:06
Well, the number one thing that was fantastic about going to art school is that you have this defined period of your life where the most important thing you have to do is to create.

Laura

2:21
Awesome.

Nikki

2:22
Yeah, I mean, it’s amazing. So you have the time to dive deep into who you are as an artist and what you want to explore. But the other thing is, it gave me access to things I wouldn’t have even considered ordinarily. So, specifically in grad school, I took classes in jewelry making. And that’s just because you kind of had to take an elective outside your major. I never thought about jewelry before, but it was such an amazing class. And I still do some of those techniques today.

Laura

2:54
And I’m sure you learned the fundamentals, right, like color theory and, you know, composition and all those things, right?

Nikki

3:00
Absolutely. You learn all the basics, and then you get the time to explore. And that’s fantastic. And that’s something you don’t get when you’re studying, maybe, finance.

Laura

3:09
No.

Nikki

3:12
But here’s what was not great about studying art.

Laura

3:15
Okay.

Nikki

3:16
A – the cost.

Laura

3:19
Right? Which by the way, has only gotten worse over the years.

Nikki

3:22
Oh my gosh, it has gotten so much worse. Because when I was there in the late 80s, 90s…

Laura

3:29
I’m sorry, how old are you?

Nikki

3:30
I’m really freaking old. I may be like a decade older than you.

Nikki

3:37
So what was not great about studying art is the cost of something that was really not very practical. Because when I was in art school – I really hope is different today. I don’t know if it is, but we learned a lot about art history, techniques, finding your voice as an artist, developing a studio practice. But what we did not learn is anything practical.

Laura

4:02
Right?

Nikki

4:03
We didn’t learn any real world training, we didn’t learn anything about how to make a living, how to reach out to people.

Laura

4:11
So you needed my finance degree.

Nikki

4:13
It would have been really nice to have your finance degree.

Laura

4:18
There may be different universities and college programs today that offer a better mix of the two, I imagine. But I think it can be tough, especially at the cost because I know a lot of schools are like, I don’t know, they’re upwards of 40 50,000 dollars a year. I mean, it’s pretty crazy.

Nikki

4:34
Oh yeah. I thought it was crazy when I was going to grad school and it was like 10 or $20,000 a year and now it’s like 40 or $50,000 a year. But I did get a lot of great things out of it. I got exposure to working artists and professors that I would never have met and other people that were in the program with me who gave me perspectives I would never have experienced.

Laura

4:57
And didn’t you travel abroad?

Nikki

4:59
Oh, I did. University of Georgia has a study abroad program in Italy in a town called cortona. Which if you if you’ve read the book or seen the movie under the Tuscan Sun.

Laura

5:12
Under the Tuscan Sun. I’ve seen it like 50 times.

Nikki

5:16
It takes place in the town that I went to school in.

Laura

5:19
And somehow you came back and you didn’t buy like a little chateau and end up there?

Nikki

5:22
I spent six months there and no, I did not buy a chateau there. It’s not France, so it would have been a villa, not a chateau.

Laura

5:31
Sorry, sorry.

Nikki

5:32
Ooh. But I did have a lovely Italian boyfriend when I was there. But I digress.

Nikki

5:41
So I got to spend six months in Tuscany studying art history, Italian, I took drawing and painting classes, I took paper and bookmaking classes.

Laura

5:51
Wow.

Nikki

5:52
In freakin Tuscany.

Laura

5:54
In Tuscany, which is my favorite part of Italy personally. But the idea here with art school was that you were able to get exposure to techniques, the time to hone your own personal style and identify the things that you loved. You learned the basics of color theory, you had this amazing opportunity to travel abroad…

Nikki

6:16
Right? So I know that you didn’t go to art school. You studied finance, as we’ve discussed. But how did you piece together your art education.

Laura

6:26
I consider myself a self-taught artist, which really means that I sought out learning opportunities for myself so that I could better understand the basic rules of composition, color theory, and how different media work. So I did get an education, but I had to seek out that education myself from multiple different sources.

Nikki

6:48
Right. And your timing was brilliant for that, because when you were doing that there was actually an internet. So there were other sources. So what kind of educational opportunities were you able to find?

Laura

7:03
So I was able to seek out a lot of online opportunities. So I purchased a lot of art classes. And I mean, let’s be honest, over 100 classes easily.

Nikki

7:14
Same.

Laura

7:17
And you can take classes from individuals. So for example, I took a class from Flora Bowley, her Bloom True course, which is all about intuitive layers of acrylic paint. I took classes from Tracy Verdugo and Laura Horn and Bonnie Christine, just to name a few. Those were great. Those were individuals offering classes. But I also was a part of some larger classes that bring together multiple teachers say 24 or more teachers over the course of a whole year.

Nikki

7:47
Oh, wow.

Laura

7:47
So some examples of that are Paint Your Heart and Soul. Another example is Life Book, which are both great classes where you log into one single platform, but every single week, you get a different lessons from a different teacher in a completely different style, for example. So you get exposure to all of these different techniques, all of these different styles, you get permission to play and see what resonates with you and what you like the best.

Nikki

8:15
So that’s really cool. You can take one of these larger courses that are combined with different teachers. And you can get a little bit of a taste of what each one offers. So that you can decide like which area you want to go dig deeper on.

Laura

8:31
Exactly. So which area do you really enjoy the most. And then if you really like a specific teacher’s style, they might offer other courses on their own, on their own platforms. And you can go find those and discover them and take them. So, another example of that is something called the Art Bundle For Good. And that was put together with, I think this past year they had over 100 different individual’s courses that were all art related, which, let’s just be clear, that’s overwhelming 100 courses, right?

Nikki

9:00
Yeah, that’s super overwhelming. What do you do with that? So and we both I know we both do this, we buy courses, and books and art supplies, but we buy courses faster than we can possibly take them. So do we feel bad about that? Do we beat ourselves up about buying all these courses? Or what do we do?

Laura

9:19
You’re right, it absolutely can be overwhelming. But in the example of the Art Bundle For Good, I’m not going to necessarily go and sign up for 100 classes, that’s not a good use of my time, it’s going to be overwhelming. I’m not going to get anything done because I’m going to feel like I have to do all of them. So what I do is I pick out three to four – the classes that really resonated with me that I saw and went that is super cool, I want to try that. And I commit to doing those. And when I just do the three or four across a year that I had interest in, it pays for itself because it’s only like, I don’t know, somewhere between 99 and $150. And if I do all four of those courses, that is well worth the money to me, versus feeling like I have to commit to going out and doing 100 of them. So I think they are a good resource to use, just give yourself permission not to have to do it all, so you don’t get in that space of overwhelm.

Nikki

10:15
So that sounds like a great way to get started if you’re not sure where to begin, and if money is a concern, there are a lot of teachers in these group courses, or even individually that offer a free or low priced beginner taster course, that you can still learn a lot of great things from.

Laura

10:33
Especially for some of the really larger, more expensive courses, you usually get one or two little golden nuggets out of those offerings that they have, and they’re completely free.

Nikki

10:42
Specifically, I just signed up for, Jeanne Oliver is an amazing mixed media artist who I’ve been stalking on Instagram for a while and… not in a creepy way. I like the way she does it. So she has these bigger long courses that she offers one of the lessons from one of our biggest courses for free. And that gives you a taste of her teaching style, what she’s offering, and gives you an idea if this is something that you actually want to sign up for the bigger paid version of.

Laura

11:15
Yeah, I think that’s a great way to do it. I know that Bonnie Christine offers something similar.

Nikki

11:19
Shannon McNab, who we just interviewed recently, is doing the same thing with a free pricing workshop that is kind of a taste of what she’s offering in the bigger, Artful Pricing course.

Laura

11:32
Right. So those are really great opportunities to really look at individuals that are hosting on their own platforms, where you can take courses and really learn lots of different techniques in the art world. So there’s a whole other method of learning that I’ve used to educate myself, and that is paid learning platforms that either provide lifetime or unlimited access to their courses while you’re a member. So I’ll give you a few examples of those of the ones that I’ve really enjoyed. So the first one is called Skillshare. And Skillshare is my number one recommended course platform to go for bite sized art classes, and you can choose from literally thousands of teachers at a super low annual fee.

Nikki

12:15
I agree that is one of my favorite. And as I’ve mentioned before, I think that’s where we both discovered Bonnie Christine.

Laura

12:22
Mm hmm. I think it’s only around $99 or so a year for access.

Nikki

12:27
Yep. And it’s not just art, they have all kinds of things you can learn. And…

Laura

12:32
It’s really great for tech stuff.

Nikki

12:34
It is absolutely.

Laura

12:35
I’ve taken their Premiere Pro classes, and just learning the technical, even building websites, you can learn all of those skills on Skillshare.

Nikki

12:41
Yeah, and you have unlimited access to all of the courses as long as you’re a member.

Laura

12:46
So for those of you that are interested in Skillshare, we’re actually going to provide you a link in our show notes so that you can get two weeks for free. And that way you can test it out yourself and see if it’s something that you’re interested in. But it’s definitely a great way just to get a taster of the platform and what’s available to you.

Nikki

13:03
Definitely. So Laura, aren’t you currently working on a Skillshare course.

Laura

13:09
I am working on a Skillshare course. In fact, I’m working on my outline that is due to my personal coach for the winter teach challenge tomorrow. So…

Nikki

13:20
Excellent.

Laura

13:21
So yes, I’m very excited about it. It’ll be a Copic workshop on Copic markers, learning all of the essentials.

Nikki

13:29
Awesome.

Laura

13:30
It will be released by the end of February. And I’ll definitely announce when it’s available to everybody.

Nikki

13:36
We will for sure let you know when you can sign up for that one.

Laura

13:39
Awesome.

Nikki

13:40
So what else?

Laura

13:41
So another very similar platform is called Udemy. And Udemy is very similar to Skillshare in that there are thousands of teachers that are on it and thousands of courses across all subjects and topics that you might be interested in. And those courses instead of it being a membership base, you purchase those individually. And so you can purchase a course let’s say you can purchase a 10 hour drawing class from somebody who works in an animation studio for like $10.

Nikki

14:13
Oh my gosh.

Laura

14:13
Yes. They have amazing deals, if you wait, they do these great deals throughout the year.

Nikki

14:18
And they have more than just art classes. I know that they also have tech classes, programming, I mean, just all kinds of stuff.

Laura

14:26
So many different types of things. So I probably have 10 or 15 courses from there as well.

Nikki

14:31
Is that all?

Laura

14:33
Maybe more, maybe more. So that’s another place to look if you’re interested in a specific thing. What I will say is that a lot of teachers put their classes on both platforms. So if you already have a Skillshare membership, you might as well just kind of take a look and search to see if Skillshare already has the class before you buy it on Udemy.

Nikki

14:52
That’s a really good tip. I didn’t know that.

Laura

14:55
Another platform that I really enjoy is called Creativebug. And Creativebug started out mostly as a crafting class type platform, offering really great sewing classes. They had a whole series on how to design fabric before that was even a thing. But they’ve transitioned a lot to have a ton more painting and mixed media and drawing classes. They have a fabulous series by Yao Chang, which is all focused on watercolor and doing loose watercolor florals, which I love. And then Lisa Congdon, many of you may know her name. Lisa Congdon is a fabulous artist. And she has I don’t know how many classes on Creativebug but maybe seven or eight different classes available. So it’s a great place to explore learning in that area.

Nikki

15:41
Love her

Laura

15:43
Love her. So a fourth option is called Creative Live. And Creative Live is a platform where they actually offer all of their courses for free if you watch them live, so they have them throughout the entire week where you can tune in to their website and watch their courses. But if you want to purchase them and watch them anytime you want to you can pay a fee for that. And I think they also offer a membership subscription based service.

Nikki

16:13
Creative Live is really cool. I think that’s where I first saw Lisa Congdon, she did a really cool course on Creative Live that’s all about time management and project management and workflow for artists. So that was a really great one.

Laura

16:29
I’ve taken several courses there, including one that Bonnie Christine had done on surface pattern design. I also did one on iPhone videography. So there’s a lot of random topics on there that you can dive into. But that’s a fun platform to look into. And then the last platform that is like this, where there’s thousands of artists on it that I’m aware of is called Domestika. And Domestika, I recently discovered it’s a Spanish speaking platform. And they offer incredible fine art classes, illustration classes, iPad, you know, Procreate, Illustrator, Photoshop, all kinds of wonderful artistic classes. And I am not a Spanish speaker. But they do have captions on all of their videos. So there are some English speaking classes sprinkled in there, but most of them are Spanish. And the quality of the classes is really phenomenal and incredible. So I highly recommend Domestika as well. And they offer really great deals, I think they do bundles. So you can buy like three classes for like $30 or something. So it’s a good deal.

Nikki

17:32
Awesome. So that is a ton of opportunities for people to learn things without going to art school.

Laura

17:39
Exactly, exactly.

Nikki

17:42
So another way of learning that is personally my favorite. I mean, yes, I buy a lot of online classes. But the problem with online classes is sometimes you buy them and you don’t actually make or find the time to complete them. So…

Laura

17:58
I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Nikki

18:01
I’m sure you don’t, Laura. So one of my favorite things to do is actually in person workshops. And you can do these locally in your own town. Or you can travel regionally, nationally, internationally to do them. And I’ve done all of those things. As I’ve mentioned before, I went to New York to go to R&F Paints to learn encaustic. And that got me into a world I didn’t even know existed. There’s this whole encaustic world of workshops and conferences and retreats that I’ve traveled to go to. I went to a retreat in Carmel Valley in California and in San Francisco and Santa Fe, and San Antonio. Those were amazing little retreats and conferences. There’s the big encaustic conference that’s in Massachusetts every year. It’s in Provincetown now. And those were amazing experiences. I’ve taken also encaustic workshops in Kansas City.

Laura

19:03
And what did you like the most about the traveling experience and being able to go to these conferences.

Nikki

19:09
So traveling for conferences and workshops, gives you a taste of a lot of different things, you get the education that you would not have gotten otherwise, but you also get the experience of meeting other artists you wouldn’t have encountered, of checking out different places you wouldn’t have even thought of, for example, there was a printmaker, who I discovered online who’s out of the Bay Area in California. Her name is Kerry VanderMeer, and I loved her work. And I found out that she had a home and studio in Mazatlan, Mexico and offered a workshop there a couple times a year. Awesome. So yeah, so I decided, I was still working for IBM at the time, but I was working remotely and I could work from anywhere. So I decided…

Laura

19:58
I’m heading to Mexico.

Nikki

20:00
I’m going to Mexico. I didn’t know her. I didn’t know Mexico. I only had high school Spanish under my belt. But I was like, why not? You have to take a risk, right? You have to learn new things. So I went to Mexico, I went to Mazatlan, I signed up for this workshop. And instead of staying there for the five days of the workshop, I thought I’d go for a week or 10 days, look for a hotel for that time, found an apartment that cost for a month what a hotel would have cost for a week.

Laura

20:30
Incredible deal.

Nikki

20:31
Yeah, so I signed up, but then she wouldn’t rent the apartment for less than three months, because it was the high tourist season. So I said, why not? I’m gonna stay for three months. So I went down there for three months.

Laura

20:41
Wow.

Nikki

20:42
I still worked while I was down there. And I took the first week off that I was there and studied an intensive Spanish class. So I got to know a new artist. I got to know the people in my course. I got to know, the people in the town. I mean, it’s just an amazing experience that you wouldn’t get just taking a normal class online or something like that.

Laura

21:09
Right.

Nikki

21:09
And I know you’ve done some traveling for courses too, or for for education.

Laura

21:14
I have I have those of you that don’t know, I am a bit of a traveler. I’ve been to over 40 countries.

Nikki

21:21
Is that all?

Laura

21:22
That’s all so far. And one of the best art trips I ever took was when I went to a retreat in Bali in Indonesia with Flora Bowley. I ended up meeting one of my best friends in the world Liane there, she was my roommate who was assigned to me, and I think the first night we were late to dinner, because we couldn’t stop talking. And we haven’t stopped talking since. And it’s been, I don’t know, eight years or so. So that was an amazing experience of painting and doing yoga and being in this amazing environment that was artistic in Ubud, Bali. Then, even as recently as last year, I flew to Toronto, just for one day.

Nikki

22:02
Wait, wait, wait, you flew to Toronto from Dallas for one day?

Laura

22:06
I did. Because Carolyn Gavin and Helen Dardik, we’re offering a gouache workshop there for one day in Toronto, and I went, I have to be there. So my friend Liane actually had flown over from Australia. And we both flew up for that for one day, because we’re insane.

Nikki

22:21
But the best kind of insane.

Laura

22:22
The best kind of insane. And we had the most amazing experience. And I highly recommend their workshops, I think they’re actually offering one in maybe South of France or something later this year. So these are a few great examples of our own personal travel experiences where we’ve been able to learn and travel at the same time. But don’t forget that you can also have some great opportunities in your own hometown. If you don’t want to do online and you prefer to have an in person experience. You can check out some local shops, local art centers, we have an Encaustic Center, for example, in Dallas that offer great workshops. So you never know what might be just around the corner that’s offering a unique learning experience for you. So we’ve talked a lot about art and how you can learn art techniques outside of art school. But both of us had to learn more about the business side of art because Nikki, you said you didn’t really get that in your university program.

Nikki

23:19
Yeah, that’s the big downfall to me of art school, aside from how much it costs. So while art school was great for the personal development and the techniques, and the growth as an artist, what I didn’t learn was anything practical for the real world once you get out. So I know that there are a lot of opportunities online for this kind of education right now. And I know Laura, you also took this one with me, Making Art Work, a course with Emily Jeffords, which is, it’s really a business course for fine artists. It’s all about working in collections, how to present your work beautifully, how to talk about it, how to sell it,

Laura

24:06
Email marketing, how to display it on your website…

Nikki

24:10
All the really practical sides of fine art. After the Making Art Work course, she put together this membership, it’s an ongoing monthly membership called The Collective, a great ongoing follow up to the course where you can continue to learn and connect with people doing the same sort of things. Or if you’re not sure you’re ready to commit to the full course, because it’s a big one, you could join her membership and try a few months and see if you like the way she teaches and if it’s something that you’d want to consider going deeper into.

Laura

24:42
Yeah, that’s a great way to test out something that if you’re not ready to take that plunge yet, you can test it out and see if the content is something that’s going to be useful for you. Even though it’ll be slightly different content in the membership. In the surface pattern design world Bonnie, Christine has her course we’ve mentioned before, called Immersion, and then she has the Flourish membership with challenges and Q&A sessions, it sort of gives you access to the teacher sometimes to be able to ask a question and have it answered, usually in a in a recorded Facebook Live or something like that. So those can be very, very useful to understand the business side. I think on Immersion, about half of the class is focused on the technical aspects of learning Adobe Illustrator. And I was brand new to it. So it was hugely helpful for me, right. But even though you weren’t brand new to illustrator, because you’re a graphic designer, I think you found some some good use for it as well, right?

Nikki

25:37
Actually, I’ve been using illustrator for more years than I’d like to admit, I was new to the pattern design, specifically in Illustrator. And even though I’d been using the program for years, I learned lots of workflow and tools and techniques in that course that I never discovered before.

Laura

25:58
Yeah, yeah, shortcuts. And she’s got a great way of communicating and explaining things, that really made sense to me. So I really enjoyed that. So another bigger course I took last year was from Stacie Bloomfield, and it was called Leverage Your Art. You might also know her as her brand, Gingiber. It was about eight weeks long and covered how to take your artwork and leverage it in all of these different ways. So what that looks like is being able to license your art to companies so they can put it on their products like bolt fabric or wall art, how to create a wholesale business where you make products to sell directly to the consumer, how to get your art published in books, how to copyright, legally protect your work, and how to create lots of different income streams for your business. So it really covered all of these different aspects that so many people’s artists don’t even know where to start. And I think you, Nikki are involved in the follow up membership, right?

Nikki

26:58
Yeah, so actually, after that course, she did the same thing as Emily and Bonnie kind of and created an ongoing membership called Creative Powerhouse Society. And I didn’t take the Leverage Your art Course, because it was same time as Making Art Work and Immersion. And I was already over committed, which we’ll talk about in another episode. But anyway, so yeah, I joined the Creative Powerhouse Society. And she actually had a live Q&A today. And she talked about some of the things that she talks about in the Leverage Your Art course, like you were just describing. And specifically, she gave an answer about how she had drawn, I think it might have been one of her lambs, that she then leveraged the texture of the hair that she drew in it, and made a pattern out of that. So she’s all about teaching you how to take what you’ve already created, and make a gazillion more things out of it. So that’s brilliant.

Laura

27:59
That is brilliant. That’s brilliant and, and she’s also a Moda fabric designer, so she knows a lot about the fabric design world. So that was a great course. Another person who offers some great business art courses is Victoria Johnson. She offers courses that are geared towards providing you very unique design briefs that basically help you build your art licensing portfolio. They’re not video based courses at all. They’re PDF style courses. But the design briefs themselves are amazing. She knows exactly how to write them because she was a partner in a design studio for years, and she worked with tons of high profile clients. She specifically offers a creating collections course that really helps you hone in on how to create commercial collections that sell and she also offers courses in key categories for art licensing, like florals and Christmas. And then another great business offering is MATS which stands for Making Art That Sells and it’s run by Lilla Rogers and Beth Kempton, and they have classes, Lilla has classes on the full spectrum of art that can sell and when I say that it could be everything from having your work in magazines and publications, to surface pattern design, homewares, childrens books, they’re even dabbling in toy design now and much more.

Nikki

29:24
And Lilla is an agent in addition to a teacher, right?

Laura

29:28
Correct. She is an agent. She even offers I think, every year, a little contest where you can win a spot in her agency.

Nikki

29:36
I entered that once I didn’t make it.

Laura

29:41
There’s also a series of courses in the Make It In Design school, which is run by Rachel Taylor and Beth Kempton, and that’s towards like, learning surface design the industry expanding your portfolio, I think they have a little summer portfolio school. So there’s certain things that they’ve done to really help beef up your portfolio and get your work scene and to hone in on your style. And then aside from that, these are all most of these are paid, right? They’re paid courses and paid memberships. But let’s not forget that there are still free opportunities. Right, Nikki?

Nikki

30:16
There are so many amazing free communities online. Facebook is so great for this, from a lot of these artists that offer paid memberships and paid courses, they also have free groups, which give you an intro to what they do. But they’re great communities to be able to ask questions, and run your ideas past other people who may have more experience than you. So there’s a lot of communities, I know that you and I may be members of a ridiculous number of Facebook groups. One of the ones that I think we’re both in is called Advice for Artists, which is a Facebook group with the art agent, Jennifer Nelson, who also provides paid consulting services for artists trying to break into that business, aside from representing artists herself.

Laura

31:10
Or even if you have a contract that needs to be reviewed, she can do things like that. But I find that in that community, you can ask business questions, and there’s always somebody in the community who provides feedback. It’s really just great for reaching out to fellow artists to say, Okay, this thing happened. I don’t know how to respond. And you know, does this make sense? And they will give you that feedback?

Nikki

31:33
Definitely. And I know that I personally make a point of in all of these groups that I’m in, aside from asking questions to help me get knowledge that I don’t have, I will jump in and answer questions whenever I can about specifically web design, print on demand, email marketing, the kinds of things that I have a lot of experience in.

Laura

31:55
Yeah. And there’s a couple of other ones I think that are great. One of those is Sketch Design Repeat, which is with Shannon McNab, who we have recently interviewed. And she has quite a few surface design artists as a part of her group that do the same type of thing, you know, that we all help each other.

Nikki

32:10
And in that group, she’s very generous about sharing a taste of the things that are in her bigger offerings. So you know, she shared her surface pattern design industry report, and she does live Q&As in there, too.

Laura

32:26
There’s a lot of live sessions in there. And I think those are really, really helpful because you can ask questions on the fly on a live Q&A. Another person who I know does interviews, has done interviews in the past with other artists and shown those in their Facebook group is Mable Tan. So Mable has an Art Licensing with Maple Tan group. And that’s another great resource, I think, for surface pattern designers to be able to get information.

Nikki

32:50
She even shares her rate card for free, if you get an email list, that’s great.

Laura

32:57
Well, we’ll have to link to that. Yeah. Let’s not forget books, how could we forget books. So, of course, Amazon’s my friend and I have purchased hundreds of books over the years. However, let’s not forget the library. The library is amazing and awesome. And I think a lot of people forget that it’s there. And not even just for physical books, I know, there’s been some concern in the middle of the pandemic with you know, going in and getting books that have been used. I know, my library is very, very careful about their process. But they also offer digital downloads, like Kindle style downloads, and they also offer audiobooks for download either through something called Overdrive or Hoopla for my library, it may be a little different for yours. This is in the in the US in the Dallas Public Library System. But that has been amazing because sometimes certain books, especially business books, can be a little dry to sit and read. But if you can download the audiobook and listen to it, it’s a lot easier to do that while you’re making art or while you’re doing something else.

Nikki

34:00
Definitely. But we will save the art books for when we can go to libraries in person or you know, when we support Amazon.

Laura

34:10
You have to have your art and design books in person. I can’t look at those digitally on a Kindle because you just have to flip through those pages.

Nikki

34:18
It’s not the same. It’s not the same. So another great thing – I don’t know if this is a universal or you know, national thing, but I know that my McCracken County Public Library, shout out to Paducah. They provide free access to lynda.com. Before there was Skillshare before there was Creative Live, I believe lynda.com might have been one of the very first online platforms for learning and it has, I mean, it has some art related stuff but it also has the tech stuff, the business stuff, you can you know take a deep dive into Photoshop or Illustrator and our local library here in Paducah, Kentucky. Little river town of 25,000 people offers free access to lynda.com, which actually I think lynda.com has now been purchased by LinkedIn. I think it’s part of LinkedIn Learning platform. But still we have access to it for free, which is an amazing resource.

Laura

35:18
Yeah, so know that that’s available. And we could talk for hours about the books that we love, but we’re gonna save a future episode for talking about books.

Nikki

35:27
Yeah, we I mean, we really could talk for days and days about books without even leaving what’s around us on our bookshelves?

Laura

35:34
I know. It’s sad.

Nikki

35:37
So yeah, let’s let’s do that in a future episode. Let’s do something like five books that will change your art business.

Laura

35:43
Absolutely. So let’s talk about our key takeaways. So I think we have three key takeaways today. Number one is there are pros and cons to going to art school. But don’t think it’s a requirement to becoming an artist. There are plenty of self taught artists in the world and amazing resources.

Nikki

36:02
Right, there are an infinite number of resources readily available to you both online and off, including online courses, live workshops and books just to name a few.

Laura

36:14
And finally, the most important thing is to have a growth mindset and have the courage to just get started.

Laura

36:23
Now it’s your turn. Have you been to art school, we’d love to hear your experiences good or bad. Or if you didn’t go, what has helped you the most in your self-directed art and business education. If you’re interested in learning more about the resources we discussed in today’s episode, head over to startistsociety.com/artschool, where we’ve provided links to all of them.

Nikki

36:47
And if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe, rate and review the podcast and share it with a friend.

Laura

36:53
Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

When you purchase something using the links in our resources section, we may earn a small commission with no additional cost to you.
We only promote products and online shops that we use and love!

pinktop

Join Our Facebook Group

Join the Startist Society in our Facebook group where we go deeper into the topics from each episode, share more about what we are working on in our creative businesses and help keep each other accountable.

pinkbottom