For my Super Workshops (5-days, limited to 5 students) I require students send me their reference photos and line drawings about a month before the workshop begins. I become Mean & Picky Ann at this point, and won't let them transfer their tracing onto their drawing paper until I'm completely happy with their tracing. When it comes to portraits, you can not be careful enough with your line drawing (tracing) and if you rush this step and trace inaccurately, all is pretty much lost from the start.
I received the following perfectly understandable email this morning:
Hi Ann, The jump in the digital price of a magazine was a little under 25%. That is quite a lot. As a senior on a fixed income, that's a significant increase for me. As you know, I've been a regular buyer but I am not sure if I will continue going forward. I'm sorry about that. Sincerely, S.A.
We understand completely. We hate price hikes as much as anyone.
In 2005, the price of a yearly subscription was $35.99, exactly the same price as it is now. That's a decade of rising costs without a price hike. And unfortunately, it's a reality that everything gets more expensive for us, too. We've added staff, our various editor's fees have gone up by a total of 40% in the last 3 years, and all of the machinations that make the digital magazine delivered automatically have become more expensive. We don't want to raise prices again for years and years ahead, so we went with a bigger hike.
Digital Subscriptions are still $2.99 per issue. Subscription prices will rise slightly in January for NEW subscribers, but current subscriber's $2.99 rate won't ever go up! Subscription info >
When you publish a magazine like ours, with a teeeeeny tiny niche group, it's always tough. We are publishing for an entire market of thousands rather than millions. This small market is the reason large publishing companies won't publish a colored pencil magazine. With so few colored pencil artists in the world, there's simply not enough demand. It's also the reason North Light has stopped publishing new colored pencil books; lack of substantial demand. There's no question that colored pencil is growing in popularity, but it will always be a small group of enthusiasts.
Only micro-publishers, like us, can even attempt to make it work! The time, effort and expense that goes into each monthly magazine is substantial. Somehow we have to keep up with expenses. A raise in price once every 10 years seems reasonable? And even with the new price, it's still cheaper than a latte, cheaper than a movie and cheaper than a piece of pie that's gone in a few minutes...except where it lands on our hips. :-)
We hope you'll understand our decision, and that you'll consider subscribing soon!
I had a horrible sinus infection and to make things even more interesting, the stomach flu too on the first day of the first colored pencil workshop I ever taught, about 20 years ago. I couldn’t cancel the workshop, because I couldn’t refund money I’d long ago applied to an electric bill or kid’s school shoes. I had to ride a ferry to the workshop, and then meander through Vashon Island back roads to find the venue, which was a charming converted barn. I was a bit horrified, though, to discover that the bathroom was not attached and was quite a bit of a walk up a hill, and my stomach flu wasn’t sure it could make that short walk without humiliating consequences.
Still, I stood in front of that first class of colored pencil enthusiasts nervous and woozy, yes, but also honored and excited! I had never taken an art workshop, but I had taught Junior High English and Japanese language to adults, and I am a natural-born ham. Nothing lights me up as much as an audience, so I powered through and by the end of the three day workshop, I was in love with teaching colored pencil and was hoping I’d get to hold a lot more workshops!
Fast-forward to today. I've now taught in 44 states in the US, in Tokyo and Kobe, Japan, in the UK, Mexcio, Canada and on numerous cruises. And I still love teaching every workshop. I’ve learned so much about colored pencil by teaching. I’ve refined my own technique, and have learned how differently we all think and see and interpret line, color and value. I'm still in love with colored pencil and I love to draw, but teaching for me is my first love. Sometimes I think I learned to master something just in order to have something wonderful and exciting to teach!
If I could somehow find a way to click a button and upload the contents of my colored pencil brain into student's brains, I'd do that in heartbeat...but that technology seems a bit of a ways off, so for now, I try really hard to THINK like my students. How can I say what I need to say in a way that will make sense? I've learned that content that I really need to convey must be said in three different ways in order for everyone to get it. It also has to be shown with demonstrations multiple times. What seems to work best is If I break everything down into tiny bits of info. I talk about the technique, then show it, then have students try it out for themselves. Once they've tried it, I repeat the instructions and have them watch me again. It seems that most things don't really sink in until after they've tried it for themselves, then see me repeat the technique.
I know that lots of people come to one of my workshops feeling pretty nervous and intimidated. My hat is off to anyone who attends any kind of workshop. It's not an easy thing to do! What will the teacher be like? Will she be nice? Or not? Will I be the worst one in the class? Will I be able to follow the instructions? Who will I sit next to? So many questions and valid concerns! I always let folks in my workshops know that a workshop is all about "process, not product". I'd rather teach someone how to see and build color and value thoroughly, rather than just teach them a single project, step-by-step. I am hoping they learn many things that they can apply to their own future colored pencil projects, but they shouldn't expect to do their best work in a workshop. There's so much to learn and so much to pay attention to that it's pretty hard to do stellar work in that kind of setting. I think the best approach to have when attending a workshop as a student is to try everything the teacher suggests. If it works for her, it just might work for you. Remember that at a workshop, you're in a learning phase. No one ever played their first set of piano scales perfectly, or put on a pair of ice skates for the first time and did a triple axle. It takes practice and time and modification at home to incorporate new techniques into your own unique style.
I've branched out my teaching now, to online Live Webinars from my home studio. I've only held a few, but they've been a blast, and it's been pretty exciting to have people from the Netherlands, UK, Australia, Canada and the US all in the "same room" during a webinar! I feel like I can finally teach as thoroughly and in depth as I've wanted to all these years, as the webinars are relatively short with time in between for folks to practice what I've taught. I hope I get to do lots more!
When I see somehow have a "light bulb moment" in a workshop (or several!) I am tickled to my core. I'm happy to put with airports, rental cars, technological glitches and all the other downsides of traveling to teach, or teaching online, just to see the happy faces of folks who've just understood something brand new to them. I've still got a few good years left - i hope I get to teach workshops in the 6 states I'm missing, and a few new spots around the world, too!
Take a look at my Workshop Listings and think about joining me in one, soon!
Happy Coloring, all!
Do you ever eat all the frosting first? Probably not...because then all you're left with is cake, and cake is pretty dry without that sweet frosting...
Which is why I save the face till last in a portrait! Let me explain...
My method for portraits is to finish the background, foreground, clothing, hands, feet and hair first, before working on the face, and here are all the reasons why: