I am excited to say that things are moving along quite well. I have several new updates and an updated tier system as well.
I had a lot of people give me some great feedback, so I tried to incorporate all of that feedback in this new tier system. I really want to make sure that the students are getting exactly what they want. Having been through an art school myself, I know how frustrating it can be when you take a class and you feel that you didn’t learn a single thing or that the class structure wasn’t handled properly. Thank you for all of the great feedback!
Since the ultra premium tier was only for local students, someone had the idea to completely remove it and just make the personal sessions a modular add-on for the other tiers. So if you were local and wanted to take the economy tier, you could add the personal session option.
That also allowed me to cut down on the different types of paintovers. Both options now offer paintovers with full audio commentary. I received a bit of backlash about the possibility of no audio on the lower tier, so I got rid of it.
The reason I originally considered it was because I was trying to think of ways to come up with different tiers and because adding audio actually takes a lot of time. I suck at multitasking, so most of the time I can’t talk while I paint. I always have to go in later on and add the audio separately.
I am also not a very good public speaker, so many times I have to redo the audio. I am getting better, but it still takes me a long time to add the audio track.
Some people have questioned the purpose of a JPG vs. a PSD paintover. Personally speaking, I like to see how a person works. I like to be able to go in and turn on and off each layer and see what type of layer mode it is. It helps me to understand how they accomplished their painting. The PSD version will include all of my layers, the JPG won’t.
The PSD will also be 300 dpi, the JPG will only be 72 dpi.
I have some good news about the “contact with art directors” option! Before it was just an idea because I hadn’t gotten in contact with any of my art directors, but now I have two art directors from two different companies who are willing to help me out. I really appreciate that they are willing to give some of their time to look at a few of the portfolios. I will try and get as many art directors as possible, so I will keep everyone updated.
Like I mentioned before, only students who have a professional enough portfolio, or show high potential, will be put in contact with the art directors. Everyone needs to know ahead of time that just because your tier has the “contact with art directors” option, it doesn’t mean that you will be put in contact with them if your portfolio isn’t up to snuff.
I spent a lot of time trying to come up with prices that could be affordable, but were also high enough to make this mentorship viable and be able to pay the guest artists a decent fee.
Like I mentioned in the previous post, most online classes/mentorships cost between $58-153/week. That sets my standard tier at $60/week and my economy tier at $35/week. Even the premium tier comes out to only $66/week.
Some people will probably still think the prices are too high, but there are ways to get a discount. If you pay the entire amount up front, you will receive 10% off. If you take the intro class and then decide to take the more advanced class, you will receive 10% off.
If someone decides to the one of the payment plans and doesn’t make one of the payments, they will no longer have access to the demos, forum, or chat. Once they pay their missing payment, access will be returned. That is also why the last payment for both options is either in the middle or a few weeks before the end of the course. Hopefully that will prevent anyone from attending all of the sessions and then just deciding not to pay the rest of the tuition.
The curriculum has been laid out for both classes. I actually already recorded the first two sessions of the intro class. Why am I recording them so soon? Well, I want to try and record as many of the lectures/demos ahead of time so that I can spend more time focusing on doing the weekly paintovers. That will also give me some wiggle room if I am hit with a lot of freelance work.
The first session actually took me a lot longer than I had anticipated, so it is a good thing I started doing them early. The first lecture/demo is 82 minutes long, but it took me 12 hours to produce it and it had a working file size of almost 32 gigs! It then took another 6 hours to export the video and another 6 hours to upload it.
People might also wonder if the curriculum changes with each semester. A few demos might change, but not all of them, especially for the intro class. If I’m doing a lecture on composition, the fundamentals of composition don’t change. Sure I could show different examples, but what I say isn’t going to change. The same would apply with a lecture about color. Complementary colors don’t change, so I can’t really do an entirely new lecture each time.
Now if it is a demo of a master copy or a still life, those can completely change. Does that mean I will do new demos each time? Maybe. It really depends on my schedule. If I get slammed with freelance work, I might have to run the same demos from the previous semester. I actually enjoy doing master copies and still lifes, so I will probably try to paint new ones each time.
A few of the advanced demos might be hard too. They are more complex and require more time, so again I might not have time to paint a new one each semester. There is also the problem of not being able to demo an entire illustration from start to finish.
What does that mean? Well, let’s take the lecture about battle scenes as an example. A battle scene painting for a client probably takes me 1-2 weeks to paint. Obviously there is no way I can film a painting that takes 1-2 weeks. Sure I could speed the video up, but I don’t think my hard drive has enough space to handle a 40-80 hour video. Even if I somehow had enough room on my hard drive and sped the video up by 10 times, that is still a 4-8 hour long video. Technically speaking, ScreenFlow can’t even speed up a video by that much. I think 9x is the most it can handle.
The curriculum for the Intro class is pretty set, but the curriculum for the Advanced class isn’t. I will probably start the program with only the Intro class, that way I can make sure everything runs smoothly. That doesn’t mean I’m not working on the Advanced class. I just finished the first lecture/demo for the advanced class tonight. I might make a few changes to the curriculum for the Advanced class if I can come up with better ideas.
Intro to Digital Painting
Week 1 – Composition & Thumbnails
Week 2 – Value Studies
Week 3 – Materials & Textures
Week 4 – Still Life Painting
Week 5 – Light & Color
Week 6 – Master Studies
Week 7 – Movie Stills
Week 8 – Landscape Painting
Week 9 – Figure Painting
Week 10 – Heads & Hands
Week 11 – Painting Animals (Premium members only)
Week 12 – Architecture Painting (Premium members only)
Advanced Digital Painting
Week 1 – Clothed Figures
Week 2 – Character Design
Week 3 – Turnarounds
Week 4 – Character Portraits
Week 5 – Creature Design
Week 6 – How to use Photo Ref in Illustrations
Week 7 – Spot Illustration
Week 8 – Book Cover Illustration
Week 9 – Illustration From a Client Brief
Week 10 – The Business Side of Illustration and Concept Art
Week 11 – Battle Scenes (Premium members only)
Week 12 – Sci-Fi Illustration (Premium members only)
I still need to do some more testing to make sure a live chat will work with my internet connection. There are other possibilities as well. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a video live chat. I could turn off video so that it is only an audio live chat, hopefully that will cut down on bandwidth.
The other option is a live text chat. Sure it isn’t as cool and you have to do more work since you have to type everything out, but at least it would be live. One good thing about text chat is that you won’t have people all talking at the same time. The few times I’ve done audio chats, everyone would talk at the same time.
Since several international students have expressed interest, I plan on holding the live chat at two different times. That way most people should be able to attend at least one of the sessions. I am also looking into the possibility of recording each chat, that way if anyone misses it, they can always listen to it later.
Like I said before, I want to try and finish as many of the demos ahead of time. Each demo takes me between 1-2 days to produce (for the simple demos), plus I have a full freelance schedule. That means I probably won’t be able to start the program for at least another month or two.
Right now I haven’t found anyone to do a guest demo, so that will also affect the starting date of the program. If I can’t find anyone, the program might have to proceed without the guest demo option.
I am thinking of using Dropbox to distribute the demos. That way people don’t have to worry about any FTP shenanigans. I can simply send links to each student, giving them access to a private folder. This will also allow the students to watch all of the videos, even the paintovers for other students.
As soon as you put anything on the internet, piracy is immediately a problem. I am hoping that since the students are paying hundreds of dollars, they won’t upload the demos to the internet or give them to their friends.
If piracy gets too out of hand and not enough people are taking the class, the mentorship program will be shut down. Don’t let that happen. If you are in the program, please do not share the videos with people not taking the class. I would really appreciate it.
I am going to cap the first class at 10 people. I need to make sure I have enough time to get everything done and not have to rush through paintovers or lectures. If I have no problem handling 10 students, I might increase it to 15-20.
If you would like to go ahead and submit your portfolio, you can send it to email@example.com. Make sure to include a link to your portfolio. Links are preferred, but if you don’t have a link, you can attach JPGs. Please make sure the JPGs are 72 dpi and only 800 pixels on the longest side. My inbox has limited space, so I can’t handle large file sizes.
As for what to include, a nice mixture of studies (from life), figure drawing, and imaginative work would be great. That way I can figure out which class you should take.
Also include a little bit about yourself, why you want to take the class, your career goal, and what you hope to accomplish.
I think that about does it. I’m really excited to get this program off the ground, so I hope there are enough people interested. As always, if you have any comments, questions, concerns, or suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!