How to “Self-Teach”

I proudly profess to be a “self-taught” artist.  However, I think the term, self-taught,” is a bit of a misnomer because artists, including myself, learn so much from so many sources.
Way back when I first found an interest in art, I took an art course through the mail.  I still have those text books today and refer to them from time to time to refresh my memory on topics such as perspective and shading.
Later in life I attended a couple of workshops but found those to be too intense.  Workshops differ of course, depending on the instructor, but I find that often the goal of a workshop is to go home with a completed product rather than to explore and practice new techniques.  Yes, one can learn new techniques in a workshop, but you’ll need to pay close attention and take lots and lots of good notes and/or take a video of the step by step process the instructor dashes through.
These days YouTube is a wonderful resource for learning new skills.  Sometimes YouTube videos can be relaxed and the instructor chatty, and other times time-lapse or speeded up versions are available.  I’m not sure what an artist can glean from a video if the instructor isn’t explaining technique, color selection, and process along the way.  I find the fast-forward versions even less effective and I wonder if the presenter is truly interested in teaching, or just in showing off.
A final method of teaching yourself to draw and paint, is through association with other artists.  I belong to two or three FaceBook art groups and find these invaluable for asking specific questions of other artists, and for seeing what other artists are creating.  I also belong to the Georgetown County Watercolor Society and the Seacoast Artists Gallery, both in my area of South Carolina.  Meetings typically include a presentation by a member artist or guest artist and can be quite informative.
So don’t be ashamed to say you are self-taught.  Be proud of how diligently you pursue the development of your skill and craft.  With so many high school and college students being educated online these days, you are actually very progressive in your approach to art education!

Happy Painting!

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