There are so many online art schools out there today! We’re fortunate to be living in a time when there are so many online art school options, but that also means it can be overwhelming to pick the right school for your needs. And even when you pick the best school for you, how do you make the most of it? You might think that you need to go to a school that focuses on theory, or one that offers up general practice training for all kinds of art. Well-rounded programs are the right choice for some people, while more focused training is right for others.
There are lots of factors that go into the decision about which art school to decide to attend. From online schools to in-person schools, you can pick and choose your art school experience based on a variety of factors. At the end of the day, many artists take a variety of different kinds of training as they grow in their career, and there are no wrong answers to the art school question so long as you are learning the tools and skills to further your skills and your passion.
If you want to learn more about how to get the most out of online art school, read on!
How to Get the Most Out Of Online Art School
1. Don’t Feel Like You Have to Take Every Class Out There to Get the Most Out of Online Art School
It can seem like you can’t be an artist if you do not take every single class that is available through your online school. There is so much information out there about art that you might burn yourself out if you try to take all of the classes. You will want to drill down, especially at first, and figure out what you need to learn at the current moment.
Learning to do art is a building process for many people. You start out needing to focus on skills that you need to develop, and you might grow in your skill and be able to examine other kinds of color theory, brush strokes or etc. Learning art is not about taking a set number of classes. It is about learning your practice and growing in your passion for your art skills.
2. Style is Not Everything
Many new artists focus too much on style and they get attached to learning all of the things they can about a specific style. As many expert or professional artists will tell new artists, styles are actually more like cheats that artists come up with to help them learn the skills they need to grow as an artist. One of the main goals for artists just starting out is learning what your own style is.
You should use style training as an opportunity to gain skills, but style training is not the only way to get a lot out of your online skills training. You are going to develop your own style as you gain experience, so focusing on style can actually make you miss out on other kinds of training that would help you to grow as a professional.
3. Be Willing to Post Your Artwork to Make the Most Of Your Classes
You are cheating yourself out of a large part of the learning and growth process if you are not willing to share your art with your classmates or instructors. The critiques and suggestions of others are often how we grow the most effectively. Being willing to share your art is one of the best ways to maximize your growth as an online student.
You will, after all, have to listen to and identify the usefulness of the critiques that people will offer you when you start selling your art, so this is good practice for practical life skills as a professional artist.
4. Revisit Classes to Learn as Much as Possible
You might think that you have learned the skills that you needed to learn from a class, but you might be quite surprised when you go back to other classes and retake them. You might find that you will have forgotten important details that were taught in the class, and as you grow as an artist, the skills you are being shown will feel different to you.
Relating learned skills to new skills you have taken helps you to grow as an expert artist. You will see new nuances and applications to these skills that you have taken in the past because you have grown into other new skills.
5. Be Open-Minded to Get the Most Out of Online Art School
Artists can sometimes feel like they have a style they prefer to use for their work and they are resistant to trying new ideas or styles or techniques. You might be cheating yourself out of a lot of growth if you are unwilling to try new skills and new methods. You might find that you feel a bit silly at first, but then you could discover a new skill that launches your art to new heights!
Being open-minded throughout your career as an artist is essential to your growth in skill and also in confidence.
6. Do the Assignments
It can seem like assignments are just added value that is not necessary for most classes. You might want to save yourself the effort of basic skills practice because you feel that you are already competent in those spaces. You might also feel that you are just copying another person’s image and you would rather be working on your own unique art.
The problem with skipping the assignments is that you will be cheating yourself out of the chance to focus on specific skills. Being able to use a reference as you retrain your hand and eye is an essential part of the process of learning to be good at art. Art is all about practice and you can’t skip practice if you want to learn to be a competent artist.
7. Be Comfortable With Re-Learning Skills
One of the things that frustrates new artists is that skills tend to wax and wane as we use them. If you have been sketching in pencil for months and then you move to working with paints for a few months, your sketching will probably not feel as easy or as comfortable when you come back to it.
Your brain can only retain so much information and your hands can only offer up so much muscle memory to you at one time. You will spend your career as an artist learning and re-learning skills and this is all part of the process.
8. Figure out What Your Working Style is
You might find that other artists explain that they can work for hours in a row on a specific painting, but you cannot do that. You might feel bad about this and beat yourself up about it. However, we are all different and we all have different processes we need to follow to complete a project.
There is nothing wrong with needing to work for an hour a day on a painting, or maybe you need to listen to music while you work. There is no right way to work on your projects when considering timeframes and environmental preferences.
9. Make the Most of Virtual Art Classes and Don’t be Afraid to Invest in “Boring” Things
Does drawing noses or props all day seem uninterested to you? Well, to some artists, drawing the mundane things in life are the most interesting subjects! Every artist will obviously have their own personal preferences and be interested in different things to practice. This is part of the artist’s life experience as artists tend to see beauty in unique things that are not recognized by others right away. Do not let others shame you into abandoning your interests!
If you do not enjoy painting people, don’t paint them all the time! You can paint things that others do not find to be beautiful. You are allowed to be interested and moved by what you like and have a strong response to.
10. Be Willing to Have Feelings About What You are Doing
Some people like to make artists feel bad about the emotional part of their journey. This is the backbone of the argument that art is not a viable career path and is instead a hobby. You will find that this attitude will take some of the enjoyment out of art school for you.
Let yourself have emotions about what you create. That is a large part of the journey and no artist would be willing to create art all the time if they did not have a passion for the art itself or the process that led to its creation!
Art School is a Journey That You Should Make the Most Of
Art school is different from other kinds of school because it involves your growth as a human on a more visceral level. You might have emotional connections with each of your creations and you could feel frustrated with your own level of skill on a daily basis at first.
You should not put the added pressure on yourself of identifying the “correct” way to experience art school. There might be minimums that you need to take as far as classes to get your certificate of completion, but art school is about growth in skill, passion, and connection to your art.
There is no right or wrong way to attend art school online if you are willing to allow the process to happen organically and you gift yourself the opportunity to enjoy the process as you experience it.