Choosing an Online Atelier Experience

DISCLAIMER: I am not associated in any way with any of the following businesses. I provide the links for the convenience of anyone interested in researching these schools.

How am I to structure my curriculum?

The most pressing issue I find is being able to have a program that will be easily accessible, contain all of the elements necessary for the basic atelier training, and won’t cost me all the money I don’t have.screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-2-36-13-am

I’ve spent most of December researching different options. A good resource for anyone considering joining an atelier is The Art Renewal Center. They have a list of
ateliers who follow the traditional method around the world.

Through the ARC, I found the school Chiaroscuro here in Miami.  It looks like a great place, but I can’t afford it right now.  So I have limited my options to online instruction only.  It is significantly cheaper to go this route.  Mind you, I am factoring in the cost of supplies and other materials.

For starters, I will have to part with at least $72 for a copy of the Charles Bargue book.  I will need to continue working with the plates even after I finish with the drawing portion of the program because it is necessary to maintain and improve one’s drawing skills throughout one’s life. Better drawing translates into better painting.

I have a number of criteria to consider before making a choice, but I do want to mention the following resources because someone out there might be looking for a good school to attend while having the means to pay for it.  It is also important to note that these schools also hold workshops.

When I research schools, I look at the work of the owners, instructors, and students. Here, Instagram is my friend.  Following that, I Google the name of the instructors I think better match my learning style and listen to any podcast they might have participated in, read any guest post I might find, etc.  I am trying to gauge their personality.

If I am going to spend at least a year hearing them every day over and over, I make sure I like them.

Another thing that’s very important to me is that I like their work.

After doing all that research, I have narrowed down my choices to the following options:

  1. Watts online atelier
  2. Sadie Valeri’s online atelier
  3. The Da Vinci Initiative

The Da Vinci Initiative is posting its DVD on basic drawing piecemeal on YouTube for free.  They are also selling the whole video on their site for $100.  This was my first choice, but I changed my mind because they don’t have a video on grisaille yet.

I will get stuck looking for a follow up that will probably cost me double somewhere else, compounding the expense.  Don’t misunderstand me, their video is excellent. And if you are only looking to draw and don’t intend to go into painting anytime soon, then I would recommend it. The instructor is exceptional, but I need something a bit more complete.

Watts atelier is definitely more complete, and they’ve been around for more than ten years. They have an online atelier with a monthly subscription of $99. At the end of the year that will cost me $1,188 without counting the supplies. I think it is well worth it for those who have the means.

Now, Sadie Valeri has a subscription of $75 that will let you submit your work for critiques and stream all her videos.

I haven’t made my final decision yet. I think I still need a few more days because I might not need to have access to every single lesson at once. Or I might want to start working with color theory as I work on my Bargue plates, even if I’m not painting yet.

I still need to consider this further. Ah, options…  At least, I have them.




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