I'll be at the Ink Pad on September 28 for Beyond the Background. I just finished the class samples last night and am happy to share some of the excitement here. Months ago, I decided that a composition class would be in order. Composition gives artists a framework or template and they can get creative from there.
I promised a few weeks ago that I'd talk a little bit about what goes into creating a workshop. So now that I'm caught up a bit, here goes ...
I started by pulling out my dusty notes from school, textbooks and looking through artwork. The first step was identifying compositions that are usable to my students and their interests. There are hours of research, sketching and deciding on format and size that go into this step of the process.
Next up is to decide on materials and techniques to be used. Students drag all of this stuff to class so you want to be sure to keep things reined in a bit. Try to be sure that if they bring it, they'll use it. What supplies are multi-taskers?
Since my students are scrappers, cardmakers, ATC-makers, collage artists and art journalers, I wanted to be sure to address all of those interests and expose my students to new formats along the line.
And this is when the samples start cranking out. Some are complete flops as I chase rabbits down holes. Back and forth to the paper cutter until a sampling of projects emerges. Along the way, I'm thinking about those supplies. That means revisiting the supply list.
Everyone loves techniques so I try to come up with something brand new for each class. Or a twist on older techniques. Mostly though, I stay away from tricky techniques and focus on general techniques. There is no wrong or right here, it's a preference. There are plenty of teachers out there who focus on new techniques. My mission is to try to use the same basic techniques to get the looks I want to share with my students.
I make up a very complete booklet for my students listing supplies and techniques along with how-to's, links and suppliers. This can be time-consuming so I schedule it for at least two sittings at my computer. It goes through at least three edits so the information is concise.
My biggest tip is at the beginning of your class preparations make a list of every action you will need to take. Put them all on your calendar, adding items in as they occur to you. Revisit it often.
Schedule your actions so you're not running around like a lunatic at the end. You want to arrive at your class relaxed, rested and on your toes. Ready to be open to your students
Being in the classroom with my students is the big pay-off in teaching. After years of working with students of every age and at every level enables me to pretty quickly get a hold on where my student is now. A little Q&A, one on one, helps me get a handle on where she wants to go. My students' eyes should "grow." That's my task. This is intuitive and probably my very favorite part of teaching.
The packing, packaging, warm-ups I do with the class is another job altogether. And the marketing is yet another. But this should give you some ideas.
xo - Diana