Thursday, February 7, 2013

Expand Your Artistic Horizons Online

I'm what is known as a "self taught" artist.  That is to say I never attended art school, although I did take art to "0" level at school in England.

When I worked in traditional media, I learned by doing. I had a bit of natural talent, but it was pretty much touch and go, to say the least.  If it worked, it worked.  If it didn't, it looked crappy, LOL.

When I transitioned into digital media, I discovered that digital artists of all types are accustomed to honing and increasing their technical skills with whichever program they are working in using free online tutorials.  These range from how-to essays with screen shots so you can see how to get a particular effect, to video tutorials.

Floating Orb by Jayne Wilson 2005

It was a great learning experience, allowing me to progress from one of my first renders in Bryce -- the quintessential "floating orb" beloved of so many digital artists (I'm not sure what it is about floating orbs, but we all seem to go through that phase at some point!!)

Winter Mountains by Jayne Wilson 2006

I first discovered LVS Online when I wanted to learn more about how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements. I was thrilled to discover they offered two classes which interested me:  Introduction to Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Elements; Photos in to Art.

Photo Montage created in Photoshop Elements - Jayne Wilson 2004

Both of these courses were instructor-led, six week courses where I received learning materials and homework assignments.  I could then upload my work and have it reviewed by the instructor, who offered help and guidance where needed.

The reason I'm mentioning LVS Online is that it's still going strong.  In addition to learning all about Photoshop Elements, I also took introductory and intermediate courses in Vue -- the program I use when creating my landscapes now.  Those tutorials helped me progress from this:

Early Vue Render - Jayne Wilson 2010

To this - my first render with the full Vue 9 Esprit (versus the freebie Pioneer version I had learned on)

"Lazy River" - Jayne Wilson 2011

LVS Online offers instructor led classes in a wide variety of subjects -- not just graphics software. You can find classes in subjects such as Effective Writing and English Composition, to Medical Terminology and Project Management.

Of particular interest to artists, or wannabe artists, LVS offers a good range of art and photography classes, such as Acrylic Landscape Painting, Acrylic Pet Portrait Painting and Digital Photography, the Basics.  You can get the whole list of classes here.

Instructor led classes begin 6 times a year. Registration is open now for the session starting Feb 25th.

I've signed up for one of the photography classes, to learn more about my camera and to get more comfortable taking it out of AUTO mode!


  1. Hi Jayne - the online surface pattern course I've been taking since September has been a big disappointment, partly because we haven't been taught much about repeating patterns and how to create them in Photoshop but also because we don't get any feedback from the tutor. Of course we all comment on one another's work but that usually consists of only vague positives so that doesn't really get us anywhere. So it's nice to hear of courses that you can personally recommend. I hope you get a lot out of it and look forward to seeing some results (though I'd probably never know whether you'd used AUTO mode or not! :D

  2. I'm sorry to hear your repeating pattern course is proving a disappointment Judy. I know you were excited to get started on it. Hopefully you will find after all is said and done that you did learn something that you can put to good use in the future.