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Offering Art Journaling Workshops

Last week a woman named Sandy wrote to me and said, "A friend of mine and I are thinking about offering Art Journaling Workshops in our community. Do you have any advice on how to get started?"  Since I get variations of this question quite often I thought I'd take some time today to answer it here on the blog.

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The first thing you need to do is ask yourself why you want to offer classes?

Possible answers include:

  • to share my love of art journaling
  • to connect with other art journalers
  • to make money

If you're doing it to share your love of art journaling, consider offering a free workshop.  You can approach your local public library, place of worship, or senior center to see if they're interested in some free programming.  It's a great way to connect with other people, be recognized in your community as an expert, and practice your teaching skills.

If you're doing it to connect with other art journalers, you might find starting an art journaling club as satisfying (or perhaps more satisfying) than teaching.  What's an art journaling club?  Well, it can be anything you'd like it to be.  You could  get together once a month to art journal together.  You could get together once a week to share your pages over a cup of coffee.  You could get together occasionally to learn new techniques -- maybe create a set-up where each meeting a different person has to teach the group a technique!

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How do you find people?  The internet is an easy place to start.  You can also post flyers at the library, in local shops, at your place of worship or business, ask around your child's school, etc.

If you're doing it to make money you first need to determine how much money you need to make, in order to make it worth your while.  Here's the math:

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Let's use some pretend numbers, shall we?  Here are some pretend facts:

  • The class is going to be three hours of teaching, plus half-an-hour of set up and half-an-hour of cleaning up.
  • You will have to do seven hours of prep work (class samples, supply lists, advertising, etc.)
  • Your hourly rate is $25/hour.
  • The classroom holds up to 25 students.  If this is your first time teaching, I would estimate a pretty low number, like 6 students.
  • The materials you are handing out cost $20/student.

11 hours × $35 = $275

($275 ÷ 6 students) + $20 = $66/student

Once you know how much money you need to make, you can procede to step #2: Where are you going to host this class?  

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If you don't want to be the host, consider approaching local art & craft shops that offer classes.  Start with places that you shop at.  Remember that this is a business transaction.  Be professional.  

Provide the store with:

  • An image of the class sample.
  • A detailed description of the class.
  • A complete list of class supplies (what students need to bring AND what you will provide).
  • If they don't know you, include a brief artistic and teaching bio.  Be honest.  Better to admit you've never taught before than get caught in a lie.
  • The price you would like to receive per student.
  • Any classroom requests (the room set up, etc.)

Another option, besides a store, is an adult education center or community college -- any place that already offers classes.

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If you would like to be the host of the class, then you need to find a space.  If it's not a free space you will need to factor that cost into the per student price.

Other factors to consider:

  • Table Space.  If people are bringing a lot of supplies they will need more table space than if they are only bringing a few supplies.  Do you have enough tables?
  • Chairs.  Do you have enough?  Do you need to buy, rent, or borrow more chairs?  How will you get them to the space?
  • Light.  Nobody likes to work in the dark.  If you're teaching at night, visit the space at night to see what the light is like. If it's poor, you will need to provide extra light or tell students to bring portable lamps.
  • Power.  Heat guns, portable lamps -- where are the outlets and will you need to bring extension cords and/or power strips?
  • Trash Cans.  Make sure that there are plenty of trash cans around.  In lieu of trash cans, tape plastic bags to the tables so that garbage can quickly and easily be disposed of.
  • Water.  A lot of art journaling techniques require water.  Where is the water?  What are the rules about disposing of dirty paint water?
  • Mess.  What is the space normally used for?  Will the owners of the space freak out about paint on the floors or tables?  If so, you will need to cover them with dropcloths or a cheaper alternative like plastic.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some important things to think about.  And don't forget to include any of those added costs in the cost of the class, or you will be out a lot of money.

Now let's talk about developing your class content.

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General rule of thumb: however long it takes you to do something, it will take twice as long to teach it.  So, if you can put together an art journal page in one hour, assume it will take you about two hours to teach that same page.  

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this a technique class or a project class?  If it's a project class, students need to walk out with a finished project.
  • What level of student is this class designed for?
  • What would make this class a good value to you, if you were a student?
  • What makes a class enjoyable to you when you're a student?
  • What makes a class a less good experience when you're a student?
  • What is your strong point as an art journaler?
  • How about as a teacher?
  • What are your favorite supplies to work with and why?
  • What's the best advice you ever got about art journaling?

 For the structure of the class, I recommend that you plan out:

  • how you're going to start the class (introductions are always good)
  • where you need to be by the half-way point of class
  • an additional activity in case you have extra time
  • how you're going to end the class

I hope that this is helpful to those of you interested in teaching art journaling classes!

For those of you who teach, what advice do you have for those wanting to start doing it?

Thanks for stopping by!

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P.S. If you've liked me on Facebook, you're probably not seeing my posts anymore!  Eep!

Why is this?  Facebook now requires fan page administrators to pay in order to get posts seen by all of the people who have liked your page.  So right now, only 10% of the fans are seeing the updates.  Sigh.  

If you'd like to keep receiving all the Facebook posts from Balzer Designs, you have to click on the triangle next to the gear symbol above the "Like" button.

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Then choose "Add to Interest Lists..."

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You'll then be prompted to create an interest list, if you haven't already.  Now, when you select that interest list, you will see all of the Balzer Design posts!  You might want to do this for all of the fan pages that you like to follow.  Otherwise, it's unlikely you'll see all of the updates you'd like to!

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