Start Your Own Virtual Art Class
Teaching art courses online is a great way to grow your student base, increase your income, and to feel creative especially while staying home. Even if you’ve never taught any kind of class before, you can succeed in teaching your art techniques to others online. And we want to help! Here are a few tips that can make your class a success.
Prepare your studio space
You don’t need a dedicated studio to run your own art classes. Whatever space you choose needs to look presentable to your course attendees. Clear away the “life” clutter!
· Lighting is important. Proper lighting of your workspace is essential. Inexpensive lighting kits are widely available online.
Pick a live chat platforms.
· Zoom is a great choice for getting started: it’s free to sign up and takes only a few minutes to schedule your first call. There are some restrictions for free accounts: You can live chat for up to 40 minutes with 3 or more people. If you need more time than that, you can subscribe for $15 a month.
· CrowdCast. CrowdCast does not have a free option but costs just $20/month (if you pay yearly) for 50 attendees and up to 5 hours per month.
· Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts is free for up to 10 people and an unlimited amount of time, but the quality and ease of use are lower than Zoom and Crowdcast.
· Depending on your audience (if you have a really engaged social media audience) than using Facebook or Instagram live is another great option.
Assemble your equipment.
There are two main recording equipment options:
· HD Webcam- This option will provide the highest quality picture. The webcam that comes factory-installed on many laptops is not usually of high enough quality to produce a good video.
· Smartphone with tripod- If you need to use your smartphone to record or live stream, make sure that you are using a tripod to keep the picture stable. An iPhone 10 or 11 or the newest iPad Pro all have very high-quality cameras that will work fine for recording video. When choosing your tripod, consider if you need one to point your phone overhead to demonstrate your techniques.
When you first begin teaching online, especially via a live course, be prepared to spend some time ironing out technical issues with microphones, cameras, etc. This is normal, and an inevitable part of including multiple people in a video chat.
Remember, in a sense, it is a performance. You will feel more comfortable if you are following an outline and know what you are going to say. Of course, you don’t want to be reading from a script but a basic outline of what you would like to cover in the class will be very helpful to you and will keep you on task and on time.
If you are doing it live on Facebook or Instagram, you can run a practice run live as a private event and share with a friend to have them give you feedback on how you did. That way you are familiar with the live platform and setting so that you can see what it looks like when questions come in!
Advertise your class
Promote your class on social media. Consider having the class at the same time every week if that frequency works, create a private group or event to post updates and follow-ups.
Ask your students for feedback, answer questions, inquire about what other types of classes your audience would be interested in, engage with students/followers.
Teaching virtual may not be in our lives forever but it's a good tool to have. And remember, practice makes perfect so you may not start out with the number of participants but as you do more of them your audience will grow!
“My first class was in October 2020, which I had a total of 3 students, my December class was 42 students! There is such a need for humans to interact with one another, some love to paint, but a portion of the students just want to watch my step by step process and feel connected with other people in these tough times. “ - Grumbacher Facebook member and artist, Carol Hawkins