Creating a Painting Course with Craftsy

A little over a year and a half ago, when I was trying to figure out how to create my watercolour school, I filled out half of the Craftsy instructor application form. I got to the last few questions and when I was asked to "list my qualifications" to teach with Craftsy, I stalled out. I couldn't really articulate how "self-taught, small-town watercolourist" would have anything to offer this massive art & craft instruction online learning platform. Then, after I started my own independent watercolour school, I kind of forgot about it as I got busy with creating my own courses and having so much fun connecting with a growing enrollment of students from all over the world. Two weeks ago, I stepped on a plane and flew to Denver, Colorado to film a watercolour class with Craftsy. And I never did fill out that form! instructorbadge Last fall, after wrapping up Loose & Fluid II and Watercolour Sketches, I was ready to take a break from class-making and focus on reaching new students. That is probably the hardest part of my job; I'm always brainstorming new ways to be more visible in the online art education world. So when Craftsy contacted me, saying they liked what they'd seen on my Youtube channel, and would I be interested in developing a course with them, the timing seemed perfect and I only had to give it a little thought before I agreed.

The trip was the culmination of several months of planning sessions via Skype with a series of Craftsy editors, painting sessions in my studio developing content, writing scripts for each of the lessons and then walking through lessons step-by-step (more Skyping!) with my producer. I loved getting this insight into Craftsy's course development process, as my own courses are much more fluid, with my outline and concept changing as the course is created - of course, in my own studio, with no time limit on filming, I have the freedom to do that! Craftsy had allotted a day for rehearsal and two days for filming, so everything had to be planned very carefully.

Wade asked me several times during course development, "Are you sure this will be worth it?" as the weeks before Christmas made it a bit of a crazy time to be writing and re-writing scripts and there are always last-minute changes and minor miscommunications that make for moments of hair-pulling. It helped to know that once the script and painting plan was developed, my work was 90% done and so when I stepped into the Craftsy studios two weeks ago, I felt completely prepared, or at least I would have, had my suitcase with all my painting supplies and clothing arrived on time! As it was our rehearsal day was mainly done by mime since the lost suitcase didn't show up until late afternoon of rehearsal day.

10256_Set_Stills_069_retouched 1000w Working with a professional film crew was a great experience; they did the lion's share of the work, adjusting and running four cameras and setting up the perfect lighting and workspace. All I had to do was paint, talk and look pretty! Seriously though, we made a great team and they shared all kinds of little tricks to help me improve my own class videos.

Craftsy took great care of me outside the studio as well, and I didn't have to worry about how to get from place to place, where to eat or stay. I enjoyed walking around downtown Denver in the evening after filming and meeting other Craftsy instructors creating courses in their niche subjects. All of the instructors I met were back for a second, third or even fifth course, so that says good things about instructor satisfaction.


I'm excited about the lessons we filmed during those two days in Denver. As I was filming, I kept thinking, "I remember when I learned this!" as I shared one technique after another, my "light bulb moments" gathered over twenty years of watercolour painting. While every course I create is filled with this kind of information, with Craftsy editors helping trim my script to keep each lesson under 30 minutes, it feels a little like I'm delivering a steady stream of technique and insight with barely a pause. You'll want to watch each lesson over and over again so you don't miss a single tip! The course, "Better Paintings with Watercolor Sketches" is different from my own "Watercolour Sketches" course as in this new course I share insight into how I develop a painting, building the foundation of a great painting through fun sketches that focus on one aspect of great painting at a time, from value to colour to focal point and many more in between. I love this type of painting development that learns through painting the same subject over and over again because it really works! Even though I must have painted the reference image twenty times by the time we finished filming, each painting kept getting better, and the final project was my best version of that scene yet. So I'm not only the instructor for this type of approach to painting, I'm my own best advertisement!10256_Set_Stills_076_retouched

"Better Painting with Watercolor Sketches" is scheduled to launch February 15th, and you can enter to win it today! Click the link below to enter to win, and good luck!

Enter Here: