11 Do’s & Dont’s when attending an art workshop

Ways of making the most out of your time in an art workshop

For those who are keen to improve their drawing and painting skills, there is plenty of interesting workshops and art lessons out there; what are the best ways of making the most out of it though? Although you might think you have found the perfect art workshop that covers the areas you need some help with, there is a number of factors that could prevent you from being efficient, focused and getting all the information you need from the lesson. In this article we will go through a few ideas of how to make the most of your time during the workshop. Hopefully, the following list of Do’s and Dont’s will help you prepare accordingly for attending the next art workshop!

Here is some things to DO

1. Speak to the tutor before hand

Before committing to a paid workshop make sure it is suitable for you and your artistic needs. I am not only referring to the specific subject or medium they will be using; I am also talking about the structure of the workshop, the topics that will be covered and the tutor’s style.

You might want to attend a lesson relating to portrait painting in oils, however it doesn’t mean that all workshops branded as such are suitable for you. A workshop might be covering this topic from a very theoretical perspective. Another might be looking at portrait painting from a historic point of view. Another might be exactly what you want subject wise but it is only focused on either too advanced students or very beginners. Lastly, the tutor’s style might not be appropriate for what you want (ie they teach impressionism while you want hyper realism for example).

It might be difficult to find exactly what you need; at least be aware of the content and structure of what you are paying for and know what you should be expecting to learn from this experience. Find out by simply emailing or calling the tutor.

2. Go organised

Usually the workshops last from a single day to 2- 3 days. The time is limited since you will not be the only student attending. Make sure that you use the tutor’s valuable time wisely and ask the burning questions you couldn’t find answers yourself with self-studying or previous research. Think of any questions before hand and fire them away on the day. Some might be answered through the tutoring process anyway; it is good to know that you are leaving the class knowing what you learnt and what you still need to explore.

3. Decide on a single way of recording information

Some prefer a traditional note pad or sketch pad, others find their mobile phone easier. Whatever you decide to use, stick with it. There is nothing more confusing than random notes all over the place.

4. Remove any distractions during the class

Having a look at your phone every now and again is alright, however trying to take calls or reply to emails is not a great idea. Remember that you paid to be there and again, make sure that you are totally focused to make the most out of it. Knowing that for some people food is also crucial, remember to eat well before you go to the workshop or grab a small snack with you. No need to mention that a good nights sleep the day before is fundamental. Usually these things last for hours and there is nothing worse than being completely tired and sleepy.

5. Give and ask for feedback

The tutor certainly knows exactly what they are doing with their art, however they would greatly appreciate any feedback you can give them regarding the workshop itself. Any comments in terms of organisation, workshop content, tutoring methods, number of students, venue etc would help them improve their services.

Similarly, you can ask for feedback and advice at the end of the workshop. It is likely that by the end of the workshop you have not created a masterpiece. You are there to learn, not to show off, so any extra advice and comments you can get from your tutor before you pack and leave will be valuable.

6. Stay in touch

The fellow students are obviously attending the workshop because they have the exact same interest as you. Do make an effort to stay in touch. Ask for emails or phone numbers and try to keep an active relationship with people attending the workshop. It might be a good opportunity to exchange ideas, discuss about techniques and give each other inspiration. Also, it is usually quite helpful to be able to compare your progress with fellow artists.

And here are some things to Avoid.

1. Over record

Some people tend to keep notes and take a million photos of everything happening in class. This might make them feel more comfortable that they won’t forget anything after the workshop is complete. However, you risk missing the crucial information among bits and pieces that are less important. Try to focus on what the tutor says and think critically. Make notes of things that will help you in practice and any references that will help you find answers to your questions after the workshop.

2. Have extremely high expectations

Keep in mind that there is a limited amount of things that can be done or explained within a single day workshop. Do not expect to learn everything within a day and definitely do not assume that suddenly you art work will start selling like crazy after taking the workshop. Be there to learn and give yourself time to understand and practice the techniques after the workshop.

3. Undermine or overwhelm the tutor

Remember you are there to learn; if you think you know better than the tutor then organise your own workshop and teach.

Similarly, asking questions all the time can be equally annoying for your classmates and tiring for the tutor. Make a list of the important things and ask in a polite and timely manner.

4. Lose your notes

Regardless the amount of notes and pictures you take, they are completely useless unless you spend some time organising them after the workshop. Make an organised and accessible record of the workshop so you can refer back and remember even in a years time.

5. Not practice afterwards

Anything you learn during the course will contribute to your future development as an artist. However, to make sure this actually sinks in your technique and helps you improve, you really need to practice. If not, I can guarantee this is your money wasted. 

Finding some interesting art workshops in Bath, UK is not very difficult. A number of those are hosted at Bath Artist Studios. Visiting their website will give you an overview of lined up classes. If you sign up for one, feel free to contact me and let me know how it was. Always keen to attend more workshops and get to know more local artists. Other places where you can find information is Minerva Art Shop, Bath College and 44AD.

6 thoughts on “11 Do’s & Dont’s when attending an art workshop

    1. Hi Vivienne, it is all based on observations I made recently when I attended a portrait painting Workshop. In reality the cell phone camera is a very useful tool in this situations as it allows to quickly record and capture information. I think it is very important to make notes or take pictures throughout the process; otherwise it’s quite possible that you might forget important details a few days later.

      Have you attended an art workshop recently?

      Like

      1. Hi Iasonas, I can see where the phon may be useful in a portraiture workshop as you’ve explained. Although I have seen people in front of a tutor taking photos of his notes as he is speaking to them. It takes all sorts I guess. And yes, I did attend a life-drawing workshop recently, with a good tutor and model. I just wish there’s been a good heating system working for him. You’re doing a great job with your blog BTW, I enjoy reading, thank you, Vivienne

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s true Vivienne! Although a phone camera is a useful tool, it must be used sensibly and in a polite manner. As you say life drawing sessions are very interesting. I have attended a few and enjoyed them very much.

        Also thank you very much for your kind words regarding my blog. I am doing my best to keep it interesting and fresh 🙂

        Have a lovely day!

        Like

    1. Hello! Thank you very much. Although some times we take it for granted then going to an art workshop will be beneficial, we definitely need to organise ourselves to make the most out of it! I hope you found it helpful 🙂

      Best wishes,
      Iasonas

      Like

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