The Class Every Artist Should Take

I would call this class “Studio Skills” and it would be a basic prerequisite for any art program.

You see, I managed to complete a four year art degree without knowing proper brush care, how to approach a gallery if I wanted to hang my work, or the best way to handle watercolor paper!  I realize that I didn’t get a painting degree, but it was Interdisciplinary Visual Arts and as such that assumes a basic grounding in several kinds of art. A class covering basic studio skills wasn’t even offered!  Would you believe that?  In order to learn those things, I would have had to take classes in each individual type of art to learn these kinds of things.

So here is my suggested curriculum, and this would be a basic course  offered to all art students.

A good Studio Skills course would include: Brush and tool care.  How to get the most out of your brush or other art tools.  How to properly sharpen art pencils, pastels, watercolor  pencils, etc.  It can be harder than it looks.

How to prepare materials.  How to stretch canvas, tape watercolor paper, gesso surfaces, etc.  Identification of paper sizes and types.

Studio care.  Cleaning and maintaining the art space.  Basic safety regarding hazardous materials.  Use of ventilation.

Recognition of art materials.  Brush sizing, canvas sizing, and tool uses can be confusing and people need to know about it. The opportunity to try different materials to see the difference would be appropriate here.

Presentation of your work.  How to prepare it for sale or display.

Marketing and promotion.  This would include how to talk to art studios and museums, best methods of contact, dos and don’ts for contacting other artists, and publication requirements.

Put simply, no art student should graduate with an art degree without knowing something about how to present their work to best effect, and no one should be allowed to graduate if they don’t even know how to market themselves.   Keep in mind that my nationally recognized university didn’t have anything even close to this.  Studio skills might have been taught piecemeal in the individual art classes but in many cases, it was assumed that you already knew this stuff.

If someone is in a computer art program, or sculpture, or ceramics, they could have a similar basic skills course. Much of it is universal to all artists. In fact, a basic skills course would be good to have in any field of study – too much basic knowledge is assumed by teachers and sometimes never acquired.

Want to try the materials I use?  Check out Dick Blick.com!

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