New Home Forums Course Ideas & Outlines My Ideas, In My Usual Verbose and Rambling, But Entertaining, Fashion!

4 replies, 4 voices Last updated by  JoAnn Turner 6 years, 10 months ago
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  • #11936

    JoAnn Turner
    Adventurer
    @JoAnnTurnip

    I did the Idea generator, which was amazingly helpful. Just googling my various topics was a real eye-opener. All these years I’ve been thinking, “what do I know that people might want to know more about?” then I’m getting tens of millions of hits on several topics. Cooking and nutrition, half a BILLION hits! Although my heart is not really in those right now.

    The Idea Generator helped me narrow down 9 concepts to 2. One is my idea of helping people contact their own subconscious and creative flow through dreams, journalling and shamanic journeying. The other is teaching people to draw faces. I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember, and I was actually very disciplined about it even as a child. I set up exercises for myself to learn to shade eyes, different facial expressions, proportions, structure. But like so many things we’re really good at, it’s been easy to take for granted.

    But I’ve been taking some online art classes myself, and the Number One thing people worry about is their ability to draw in general (all children make art, but most people stop making art sometime between the ages of 8 and 12) but the thing that most haunts them and makes them feel inadequate is drawing or painting faces. There are powerful reasons why we want to do it and we want to get it right, both in terms of how much weight our brains put on facial recognition and analyzing other people’s moods and motivations, and in what you can and cannot express artistically without using a human face. If you limit yourself to the backs of people’s heads or people off in the distance or no people at all, because you can’t do faces, you’re very limited in what kind of art you can do. But this inability doesn’t make people lie awake at night so much, simply because they stop even considering they could ever do it. Yet there are many, many people whose secret heart’s desire is to be a “real artist,” even to just pretend they’re a real artist for an hour or two by doing brass rubbings or something. And the number one thing in most people’s minds a person must be able to do in order to be a real artist is to depict faces. If you CAN do that, little else matters, or you can fake it. If you can’t, nothing else matters, and you may as well just not even try. So, solving that dilemma for people would have a huge appeal. I mean, the appeal is enormous. The real trick, I think, is in pitching it so people feel like THEY could actually maybe really learn how to do this.

    I think the e-course format is much more suitable for teaching people to draw or paint than books or instructions on paper. It can combine several approaches.

    So I’m still really excited about my initial idea and I think it can work well. But it will appeal to a smaller market, I think, than a course on how to do something as basic but critical as drawing or painting faces. I can envision several levels of ability, or more detailed versions, like how to do faces in a Manga style or fashion drawing, which use different techniques and proportions. The potential for transformation is smaller than with the other idea. But the reasons why someone would want to take a course like this are also fairly apparent.

    Right now I’m thinking that a course on how to draw faces is also a simpler course to set up so I have an offering on the market, but it’s still related to the other course, which has more moving parts that I’ll need to get organized and think up exercises and expectations for.

    In doing my inventory, I came up with a list of 13 classes I’ve taught, for which I have the class notes and/or hand-outs. Some are not suitable for online classes or have a very limited market. Three are overviews of a historical topic, 4 are overviews of a specific historical topic that has hands-on applications (Intro to Islamic Clothing in the Middle Ages, for example, aimed at people who want to make medieval Islamic costumes) and the rest are hands-on how-to classes or technical classes, like making coiled baskets, making pottery, how to fire a kiln without blowing yourself up. I also have a class on how to do research. This was developed for people who want to do historical artforms, like medieval costume or Renaissance pottery, but the principles apply to researching any type of art or craft, archeology, even genealogy which is a very big topic these days. Art historical research is a discipline unto itself and it’s not rocket science, but on the other hand, there are good reason why it takes 4 years to get a degree in it. Like anything, it’s a development set of skills and principles that have been proven to work over the past 250 years, and people don’t need to invent this particular wheel for themselves, or throw up their hands and say it can’t be done. (I didn’t include that in my Idea generator list, so I just did a quick google search. Two BILLION hits. I think there’s a market! 🙂 And I have those class notes already, they just need some reworking)(I’m thinking this might make a good “lead magnet” to get people to sign up for my email list. “Click here to get our free 20 page pdf intro to research and we’ll keep you up to date on our latest classes and offerings!”)

    These are just the classes I still have notes for. I’ve taught a lot of classes and workshops on how to do many things and I have a particular type of brain that allows me to read instructions and really detailed technical information, figure how to actually do the thing, then explain that to people so they can do it themselves. In the past, my efforts have been confined to the Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval re-enactment group, or to local guilds like our Spinners and Weavers guild in Oliver. I’ve also taught a few short sessions in schools on things like set design for theatre, and pottery for kids (not my favourite topic). I have a lot of skills and a lot of information I can impart. But the approach I’ve taken in the past has a limited appeal and limited market. There also is not as much scope for transformation in many of these hands-on skills.

    However, I think any topic can be approached in a way that can improve people’s lives. I listened to a 36-part audio course on Listening to and Understanding Great Music, and I LOVED it. So it’s possible to take a topic like art history or Islamic art or medieval Welsh houses and present it in a way that gets people fired up and makes them feel enriched. Especially if you teach them a skill or give them a project to do. “I just saw the greatest thing on 16th century doodads and I’m going to go home and make my own doodads, because they are just so awesome. You should take this class!”

    One of my big motivators is empowering people. It’s like that saying, “give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he can eat for a lifetime.” Teaching people skills can change their lives.

    The problem is whether the people whose lives can really be changed by this are willing to pay for these classes. And how much fun am I going to have putting together a class on something very basic? Versus something that’s more interesting and esoteric, but has a very limited appeal?

    What I love about my idea for combining shamanism, dreams and journalling with creating art is that it can go in many different directions and potentially combine many topics under one umbrella. And it’s not just “here’s some stuff you need to know, go try it,” it’s “here are these tools, do these exercises, now take that and build on it, let’s make some cool stuff, let’s put on our face paint and make some costumes and act out our dreams, sing songs, dance around the fire, let’s paint the side of the house, let’s really embrace this unexpected crazy side of who we can be when nobody’s looking. And now, let’s take that home and turn it into something we can really work with.” Which involves various artforms, from writing to music to dance and performance to visual arts. This could turn into something big. It could have various component pieces that fit together. I can add onto it over time. It also would work well in an in-person workshop or retreat format.

    I think I CAN create that course and it could be awesome, but probably not in 5 or 6 months. Whereas I feel comfortable thinking I can put together an e-course on how to draw or paint faces in that timeframe. And it’s related in content to the other course. One can build from the other in terms of audience and subject matter.

    And I just added my Research concept to the Idea generator and it blew everything else out of the water. Too many ideas in my head! But they can all work together ultimately. It’s really a question of which idea should I pursue right now and try to get up and running by May or June?

    #11969

    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide
    @bradleytmorris

    Wow, I love how different your two ideas are. How fun!!? Two totally different courses, niches, passions, gifts and businesesses.

    I really love how focused and niched you can be with the drawing faces course. It’s really clear what it is, what the transformation will be and who it’s for.

    I think your transformational Shamanic work can come in as an undertone as well. Bringing a bit of that “magic” into how you deliver and guide. Encouraging people to believe and trust in themselves, use their intuition and re-connect to that child-like imagination. There is a lot of healing in that and the transformation might be massive. You never know.

    Your Shamanic course is brilliant and beautiful too and will for sure have a hungry market of new-agers who’ll be so stoked to dive into their dream work with you.

    If you were to take the pressure off of needing to be up the mountain by May/June and you gave yourself the space and freedom to do the course that resonated most with your heart right now, which course would you create first and why?

    #11978

    Jessica Antonelli
    Adventurer
    @jescantonelli

    Hi JoAnn,
    Great to meet another art teacher here! I am working on a course about how to sketch while traveling through Italy.
    I wanted to tell you though that I’m currently teaching a class to a bunch of ex-pats in Mexico, and everybody just wants to draw faces! I was all ready with a syllabus of taking our easels all over town since it’s a super beautiful historic picture-perfect urban landscape, but my whole painting class just want to do portraiture.

    What is is about the human face? I admit portraits and people are my favorites too, but it is such a mystery to me why we are so drawn to it. Anyway, I think a course on drawing faces would be a great idea! Although the Shamanic course would be really cool as well. Either way, look forward to climbing the mountain with you!

    #12268

    Deb Robson
    Adventurer
    @robson

    JoAnn, we have a lot in common–far more than I initially thought.

    I love *all* your ideas–and I do think the “faces” one is a fantastic place to start. It is emblematic of all the other things. It’s the trailhead, so to speak, for others to climb *your* mountain of offerings.

    Drawing or painting faces involves looking closely at the other, and closely at oneself–in two ways, first in the psychological/emotional/spiritual feat of getting over the “I can’t do this, it’s too complicated” and second in the possibility of self-portrait, which is a challenging but fascinating pursuit. In fact, there might be either two aspects to this course–draw others, draw self–or it could be two separate courses, separate steps on the trail up your mountains.

    I’m an avid historical researcher as well.

    Here are things that popped out at me in your description above:
    _____

    “If you CAN do that, little else matters, or you can fake it.” important

    “I think the e-course format is much more suitable for teaching people to draw or paint than books or instructions on paper.” As someone who has done a lot of life and portrait drawing and painting, I have an initial positive reaction to this statement, and I think that explaining why you say this becomes part of what invites people to your course.

    ” . . . something as basic but critical as drawing or painting faces. I can envision several levels of ability, or more detailed versions, like how to do faces in a Manga style or fashion drawing, which use different techniques and proportions.” SUPERcool.

    “how to fire a kiln without blowing yourself up” {GRIN}

    “(I’m thinking this might make a good “lead magnet” to get people to sign up for my email list. “Click here to get our free 20 page pdf intro to research and we’ll keep you up to date on our latest classes and offerings!”)” –YES, regardless of the specific offerings available, in my opinion (note my bias toward research, though)

    “And how much fun am I going to have putting together a class on something very basic? Versus something that’s more interesting and esoteric, but has a very limited appeal?” — a question I’m asking myself, and when I do that I think: yes, and I need to get into the *basic* in a way that is as exciting as the more esoteric, and that will lead people into wanting the more esoteric stuff later

    “There also is not as much scope for transformation in many of these hands-on skills.” — I think it’s there (this is what I do), but not as obvious initially. I’ve had people quit jobs and start independent businesses after taking my spinning workshops. EEK. But . . . they’re succeeding.

    ““here are these tools, do these exercises, now take that and build on it, let’s make some cool stuff, let’s put on our face paint and make some costumes and act out our dreams, sing songs, dance around the fire, let’s paint the side of the house, let’s really embrace this unexpected crazy side of who we can be when nobody’s looking. And now, let’s take that home and turn it into something we can really work with.”” –fantastic, and this is the top level of your mountain, with people who have been journeying with you as a guide for a while–you need to have them trust you before they’ll do this, which means starting smaller

    #12938

    JoAnn Turner
    Adventurer
    @JoAnnTurnip

    Thanks for all your feedback! I appreciate it! Yes, I’ve been thinking about this more over the last several days.

    I think creating the e-course on drawing faces should be the first one I do. Partly because I have it largely mapped out in my mind and already roughly divided into modules that can add up to a course of say 4 or 5 weeks. It’s also not technically challenging, in the sense that I can do the drawing examples and photography myself, I don’t need to deal with permissions or copyright or royalties. I might want to shanghai a few friends and video or photograph their faces to have some live examples, but I also don’t need other teachers or other components. I can generate all of the content myself. That leaves me free to focus on the other technical aspect, which will be more challenging for me, getting this all assembled and up on a website and so on.

    I think Deb Robson has it right, that this is a good place to start. For me, drawing faces is easy, but that’s because I put in my 10,000 hours to get to mastery, by the time I was 20. I was driven, as a child and all through my teens, to do this and get it right. I’d create exercises for myself, daily routines of shading 20 eyes differently, drawing eyebrows, all of the elements of faces. I learned from every teacher I had, even if it was just about how light falls on a sphere. Then for some reason, I stopped doing it somewhere in my 20s. I’ve been trying to figure out why.

    And now I’m back to taking art classes, but in mixed media, which didn’t even really exist when I was in art school, and many of the materials I’m using didn’t exist then. So that part is new to me. But I’m seeing genuine heartfelt cries of anguish on the Facebook group for this class. One woman today said that she’s been painting landscapes for years, she’s really good at it, but she feels so inadequate when it comes to faces. A couple of people have talked about maybe thinking they should quit the class, they shouldn’t be in it. This brings up a lot of fear and feelings of inadequacy in people, so they need teachers who can talk them through it, make it fun, make it easy to follow so even when their monkey mind is gibbering away, they can still hear what I’m saying. There’s a very strong element in some people of, “I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy, I’m inadequate,” when it comes to their inability to do faces. Helping people overcome that would be a real gift to them.

    We also talk about the Inner Critic a lot in this class, and I had a real crisis yesterday realizing that I can do, easily, what many of these students are really struggling with. I could do it to a very high level of ability before some of them were even born. Then I stopped doing it. So obviously, I have my own Inner Critic to deal with, and part of the answer to my own personal sneaky devil is to make this skill relevant. This is something deeply meaningful and powerful that human beings seem to be driven to do, but most people struggle with it.

    And as Deb says (thanks so much for your careful analysis of what I wrote!) this is a good basic building block for people to start up the mountain of my e-course adventure! I’m seeing how I can use some of these strong emotional elements to create transformation in students, yet still keep the process of developing an e-course simple enough for me to master. The shamanism and art class will involve a number of components and I probably want to take the time to do it right, talk to my human inventory of skilled people in various areas. About the time I came up with the idea for my course, I ordered a book by the wife of someone I know on Facebook, and it turns out she’s done similar workshops herself. I’m also taking a class with Robert Moss on dreamwork, so he’s another resource, but he’s also a busy man. These are people I’d like to talk to. So the research and investigation aspect of that course will take some time to do it properly. Whereas I’m the resource for the drawing faces class, and I have all of the skills I’ll need to do any research I need. And I feel good about this.

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