Choosing Your First Course

The first question many of you will have is, “which course should I start with?”

Our students could live anywhere in the world—a high-rise apartment in Beijing, a small village in eastern Turkey, or a home in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights.

We really want your initial course to be a positive first step, so you need to honestly consider the following two questions if you are considering starting with either a painting or the sculpting course:

1) Is there an adequate work space (studio) where you live, where you can paint or sculpt with no interruptions for an hour or two a day?

This work space needs to have a place (large drawer or closet) to store both your supplies and your completed artworks! During your lessons, the work space also needs to be where there is almost no traffic flow from other house members, including pets. Paints can be toxic and sculpture tools are necessarily sharp—you don’t want to harm a relative or poison a pet. Figure you’ll need a minimum of 4 by 4 feet of undisturbed space.

The work space also should have ready access to a clean water supply, as you’ll need to clean up your brushes and/or tools after every session. And internet connectivity/electricity to take the course too!

So do you have adequate work space?

2) Is there money available to fund the upfront $100-$200 initial cost for brushes/paints for the painting course, or clay and other supplies for the sculpture course?



STOP! Class selection recommendation: If you answered no to either of the above two questions, start with the Drawing Course. You don’t need much to get started (just a pencil, eraser, and some paper) and the space required is only determined by the size of your paper—drawing can be engaged in most anywhere.

In fact, we highly recommend all beginning students consider starting with the Drawing Course.

We understand it can be discouraging if you don’t have a lot of money or lack an adequate studio space. Don’t fret! We wrote an article called Tips For Painting On A Budget that will provide you with a list of tips that can help save you money should you decide to move on to one of our Painting Courses. We’ll also teach you how you can paint outside (‘en plein air’) so the world becomes your studio space. Lastly, you can reach out to your fellow classmates for support in the comment section below each lesson, or use our Contact Us form to get in touch with us. We can’t respond to every submission we get, but we’ll try.


If you answered yes to the above questions, consider the next two before making your final decision:

3) Do you have some sketching skills?

A painting usually involves a sketch of the subject on the canvas, and sculpting requires a sketch of the item you intend to sculpt, so having some sketching skills is important.

Even if you answer “yes” here and are confident in your drawing skills, we still suggest you review the Drawing Course lesson list and take the lessons where you could improve your skills. As John Singer Sargent once said, “You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.”

4) Are you excited about learning art and live in a supportive environment?

We believe that having a passion about learning and supportive family or housemates will help you through the inevitable challenges that we all have learning a new subject—including the cleanup after each session!

STOP! Class selection recommendation: If you answered, “yes” to these questions, you can choose to move ahead in either Sculpture or the Painting Course—wherever your interest lies.

To get started, click on one of the links below to begin your course at the Beginner’s School:

  1. August 6, 2017
    • August 14, 2017
  2. April 19, 2018
    • April 20, 2018
  3. August 24, 2018
    • August 24, 2018
  4. December 28, 2018

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