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Being an artist gives you more opportunities than you think.
You’re not limited to selling your paintings or pieces; you can also consider to sell services linked to your skills. Among many things, you can decide to teach to others through creative workshops.
Keep in mind that you can make a workshop teaching almost EVERY skill; it’s not just for painters. You can teach sculpting, drawing, gardening, photography, singing, dancing.. So, whatever your skill, this post is for you.
Now, I honestly know very little about it, but fortunately Santa helped me a lot, sharing with us her personal experience.
After our chat, at the end of this post, you can consult a summary with all the fundamental info to start your workshops and have fun with it!
| What’s a Workshop?
According to Google, a workshop is “a meeting at which a group of people engage in intensive discussion and activity on a particular subject or project”.
Explained better, a creative workshop consists in groups of people that make creative activities together (that usually comprehend painting, drawing, collage, illustration, animation and similar) guided by one or more artists. During these lessons there’s usually also time for verbal exchanges such as discussions, theoretic explanations and conclusive speeches.
These workshops usually start with a theme to follow; then, the materials are usually offered by the host, so that people don’t have to own and bring them. The price can be very different depending on the workshop, and it includes the lesson, the materials and often a great coffee and some snacks as well + the opportunity to know new people and chat a bit.
The aim of these workshop is to educate, to entertain or just to permit people, who maybe don’t have the instruments or space at home, to create and have their free creative time in their busy weeks.
Workshops can be both for kids and adults. Schools usually host them to let kids make something fun and creative, and the same works for companies and offices sometimes. But you don’t need to be already part of a group or class to attend a workshop; a single person can decide to just go and meet people at the workshop directly.
The questions are a lot when it comes to decide to create you own workshops. Where? When? How? What should I teach? What should I do? No panic.
Fortunately I had the opportunity to talk with Santa, an Estonian painter which hosts workshops in Tallinn, and ask her some useful info that you should know before starting your workshop!
| How do you do it? – Santa’s experience
Santa: “My workshops take place in an Art Gallery, at the moment.”
How did you manage to start hosting workshops in this gallery? Did you ask them proposing your service or they asked you?
Santa: “I first did an exhibition in this gallery, and for the opening event I organised a comic workshop for children. The owner noticed it and liked it a lot; he wished I would do something like that again, so we did! That’s basically how I started to make my workshops there.”
Santa: “At first I focused on comic workshops only, but then I decided to start with painting workshops, since I’m a painter and that’s what I mostly do. I host them once a month, exactly at the same time; it’s usually Sunday at the middle of the month.
I usually take the colours and supplies needed, the ticket is calculated on the amount of material people often use; it’s usually ten euros only. Usually there are 4 or 5 people attending the workshop.
We paint on average for 1 hour and a half, and later we usually have a conclusive talk about their works.”
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Do you always come up with new themes for each workshops or you have one big general theme?
Santa: “I don’t have a new theme any time, but if I see new faces joining I start thinking about something different. Usually, at the start of each workshop, I make people choose from two subjects which one they want to paint; it’s a ship, or mountains. Then I guide them while they work on their painting.”
How does a workshop start?
Santa: “I start talking about the compositions and the basics: I explain colour mixing, the brushes and how to use them. Then, I set up the composition for them and see how they can prepare shades and lights. After that they work independently while I explain the rest.”
Santa: “There’s lots of theory, but they’re also working in the meantime. I try to always add something during my teaching; I try to tell how I see painting personally as a painter, and try to make them feel brave enough to try more, and to use materials differently.”
What’s the difference between kids and adults, in your opinion, when it comes to workshops?
Santa: “I don’t have a very different approach with children and adults.
For children, I just try to make it a bit easier. It’s more “fun” and less “work” for them, so I let them do more of what they want and have fun. Kids are way braver than adults; they think and wait less before actually going in action, so I usually start with a bit theory just to guide them to start.
With adults I direct them more, but it doesn’t mean grown-ups have to be rigid somehow; in fact, it’s totally the opposite. They too need to be in a very cozy and open environment, not pushing at all.”
At the end.. what’s the first fundamental thing to care about before starting a workshop?
Santa: “I think that to start it’s really important to find a spot: if you don’t find it like I did, you can always rent spaces in cultural structures for example, or you can make your own atelier to host them here. You can even make workshops in your own house.. It’s not impossible.
If you really want to do it, you can! You’ll always find a way.”
Sincerely.. weren’t you scared the first time about teaching to others?
Santa: “The first time of course, yes. But if you do it calmly and don’t create a strict environment, people can relax and open, and so can you.“
- Find the right place for your lessons.
- Schedule your workshops (regularly if you can)
- Take the supplies needed (snacks and drink are a plus!)
- Choose a theme or subjects (changing them will vary your activities)
- Teach theoretical basics first.
- Don’t create a strict environment.
Find the right place
You can rent a space, propose yourself to cultural structures or even do it in your own house or atelier!
Schedule your workshops
Keeping them regular can be the best solution, so that people that want to attend won’t miss an appointment, and will be able to easily find a free spot in their busy lives! Santa, for example, does a workshop once a month.
Take the supplies needed
Not everyone has professional (or not) art supplies at home. Many people would like to try, but they don’t feel it’s worth buying materials just to use them once. If you take care of the materials needed, people won’t be forced to own them and everyone can partecipate!
+ a great plus are some snacks and tea/coffe. People will surely appreciate something to drink or eat to keep their brain active!
Choose a theme or subjects
This is completely up to you. You can decide to change theme every lesson or to keep a general theme and change subjects. You can change materials, techniques and many other things to vary your lessons a bit.
Teach theoretical basics first
Not everyone that attends your workshops is a professional. Give everyone the right basics before starting working together! Beginners are often more shy and less likely to partecipate to workshops because they don’t feel able enough. Teaching them the basics you’ll make them feel also part of the workshop, they’ll have fun and come back!
Don’t create a strict environment.
Yes, you’re teaching, but it’s not school. Our lives are often already stressful enough trough school, work, responsibilities and so on. People often come to workshops to relax, have fun and learn something new, so, no pressure! A chill environment is great for both the people attending and the artist.
About the Artist
Santa Zukker is studying cultural studies at Tallinn University in her final year at the moment; she also studied painting before. She started drawing at a very young age and has always loved it.
Quite early in her career she began to draw cartoons and caricatures; she also made cartoons for the children’s magazine “Hea Laps”. She has exhibited her works in many Estonian art galleries as well as in cafes. Santa also conducts art workshops for children in the gallery and the Central Library.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope this small guide and shared experience can be useful to you! Huge thanks also to Santa to have shared her experience with us and for the great tea evening! 🙂
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