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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 21 of 70

Create Physical Elements in an Image

Brooke Shaden

Creating a Fine Art Series

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

21. Create Physical Elements in an Image
Brooke will share ideas of how to create sculptural elements in your images, like using wire, paper mache, and more.


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:07:25
3 Your Timeline is Nonlinear Duration:05:37
5 What Factors Dictate Growth Duration:08:24
7 Niche Branding Duration:04:57
11 Idea Fluency Duration:10:33
12 How to Represent an Idea Duration:07:01
13 How to Innovate an Idea Duration:07:07
22 Shooting for a Fine Art Series Duration:05:45
24 Wardrobe and Texture Duration:04:54
25 Posing for the Story Duration:05:32
26 Choosing an Image Duration:01:23
28 Posing for the Story Duration:04:17
29 Creating Backlight Duration:02:37
33 Shooting the Background Images Duration:06:14
54 Oil Painting on Prints Duration:05:41
55 Encaustic Wax on Prints Duration:03:09
56 Failure vs. Sell Out Duration:05:14
58 Branding Yourself Into a Story Duration:05:40
59 The Artistic Narrative Duration:05:26
61 Get People to Buy Your Story Duration:11:36
63 Pricing For Commissions Duration:06:43
65 Class Outro Duration:01:00
66 Live Premiere Duration:16:14
69 Live Premiere: Q&A Duration:16:10
70 Live Premiere: Photo Critique Duration:47:33

Lesson Info

Create Physical Elements in an Image

then there are physical elements that you can use in your work. So, for example, sculptural elements. I've been very interested in sculptural elements with wire and creating these really weird sort of. I don't even know organic sort of abstract looking sculptures, which again may not be your thing, but it's fun to think about. How can you create a backdrop, for example, from wire where you might be able to add a ton of texture to it? And how could you use that? So there are different ways that we can use these things. In this case, this was an actual sculpture that I made, and I photographed the sculpture to put into the image so that it looked like my skull was exposed, which was an actual sculptural element. And in some cases, sculptural elements don't have to be made out of these materials, like clay or wire or anything like that. In this case, I'm just showing you how I used weeds from my garden that I pulled inside and I laid them out in a way that looked sculptural. And when I sa...

y sculptural, I mean it looks like it has intention and flow to it, which made it look really cool. Now I have paint, and for this image I actually painted a piece of glass that I then photographed. You can see that here the paint was just smeared onto the glass, photograph that separately and then added it on top of myself that I photographed additionally, as well. Here's some examples where I tried to photograph myself with the paint, but I found I wasn't quite such a good painter as I thought I would be. So I photographed them separately. In the end, you can always go for a painted backdrop. Finding canvas or anything like that that you could paint yourself to use as a backdrop is a great option. I used bed sheets a lot as backdrops, which I find highly effective. But if you wanted something a little bit more dynamic, get a bed sheet and then paint on top of it, and that could be a great way to add some texture into the background of your images. Wire sculpture. As I mentioned, we have a couple different ways of doing that, which I'm about to show you. So we've got little tiny ah wire sculpture that's really easy to work with, as well as the really heavy handed stuff. Um, which is a little bit more difficult to work with. So let me show you some of these things at play. Okay? First, I want to show you what we can do with the paint because I really wanted to bring that up here. I've got this body paint, so there's a safe for the body, it a specifically body paint. And I would use it really simply by just getting some and rubbing it on my arm. And if it's too much, I'll thin it out. And if not, then I'll just kind of smear it. And you can get this in any color. I just happen to have white and red, which is fine. Um, you could do this with anything you want any color you want. You can try to match your skin tone just to try to create some interesting, um, sort of texture rather than color, which works really well red paint that I will use very sparingly just to sort of mix it in, um, and so basically, just play with stuff like this, and that's totally fine and and very, very fun to Dio. So next thing is this wire here and I've got a couple of different pieces. Like I said, this one is very small and very pliable. So this is really easy to work with. You can kind of just quickly shape it into whatever shape you want. Um, which I'm will fail it doing promptly because I'm not so good at that. Unless I have, like, five hours to work on this. I see a nose forming. Why not? Okay, this is a face. I'm sure you can tell that this is the face, okay. And why're sculpture works in a few different ways? One of the ways that it can work is if you use some sort of plaster. So that's what this is. It's just a little bit of plaster, and you might be able to use this. Watch out for the plaster, but you can use it by dipping it in water. In this case, it's a T die. You get it wet, and then you can apply it directly on thio the wire that you're working with. So you just kind of mold it right on there and let it dry that way. So that's one way that you could do wire sculpture another way that I have done. Wire sculpture is with, um, like spray foam that you would use for cracks in your house. I just spray the spray foam directly onto the wire, and it creates this really interesting texture that you can then spray paint or paint, or put whatever on it that you want. That's totally fine to Dio. Um, if you're using bigger sculpture materials like this one, you will need wire cutters. And it's the whole thing that I do not recommend you do without being safe first. So beware, but you'll need wire cutters and just thinking about safety. So I use wire sculpture in my new Siri's quite a bit, and I find it really, really effective. And this is just chicken wire. So this is just get your any like local um, store that sells home repair things, and you'll probably find some there so wire sculpture is very fun because a lot of things can adhere Tow wire. And that's why I like to do it so much. Whereas going into something like sculpting with Clay takes a lot of patients. Ah, lot of practice and really just a lot of know how. So instead of sculpting with this clay right now, I'm just gonna show you how you can use it for texture. So I'm getting my hands a little bit wet, and then I'm getting the clay a little bit wet so that I could just use some of it. And if you've never played with Clay, it's one of the great joys of life, I think. But I'm just smearing it on my body, so just creating little bits of texture here, I'm letting the excess just fall off, and it just creates a thick kind of disgusting texture, which I find really effective and really fun. Um, I do have my t die here, so I want to show you this t die. I'm just going to use a piece of fabric. Um, let's see. We'll use this little piece of fabric because it's pretty tiny. And if you have a piece of fabric that you feel looks to new and doesn't quite have the right age, you can use a T die. So this is just warm water and a bunch of teabags, just black tea, which I have some examples of right here. Very simple black tea. Just take him and throw him in. Swirl it around and it will slowly turn the water. You can also do this with coffee so it doesn't have to be T could be your beverage of choice, and then you'll basically just let the fabric soak. So I'll put that in there, Make sure it's all covered up, and I'll probably leave this in for probably overnight, at least maybe even 24 hours. But beware of not going too far with it because he gets moldy, I learned which is a terrible thing to have to learn, so don't leave it in too long. But I would say about 24 hours, depending on how dark you want it, obviously more teabags if you want it darker. So the benefit of this is that you're aging it without having to go spend a ton of money on something that's already old. And, um, it creates sort of a more believable character in the in your images instead of going with something new. Like I said, I used t die on this costume, and this was used in my most recent Siri's begin again. So that was the costume that I used for that. So t die is very fun, very effective. And I hope that you like that. Dio, um the last thing that I wanted to show you here eyes the glue just to show you that it really doesn't hurt. I don't even think I'm gonna be able to open this glue because I'm very weak. But, um, it is, there we go. It washes right off. So glue is not a scary thing, per se. Um, it's kind of fun and just rub it right on, just like everything else. And again, this could go on backdrops. This could go on props, anything that you want to age it. So sometimes I like to do this to create more texture in it. Anything that doesn't look man made basically. So I'm trying to avoid streaks and using my fingers too much. So I'm trying to make it more organic by really playing with the texture there. Okay, the last thing that I want to show you just so that you are properly terrified of me is this bag which debated Lee. I should not show you, but at the beginning of the year, I asked a bunch of people if they wouldn't mind sending me their hair. So this is a bag of human hair. And if you've decided that you would no longer like to know me, I understand. But hear me out. Okay? Human hair has great texture, okay? And I'm picking out my own hair right now, So don't Is this really gross? I don't care. This is my own hair, and it has great texture to it. So it could be used to add texture in a multitude of different ways. One of which is the reason why I've gathered hair is that I am going thio actually apply this hair to an image as something that I could do after the images printed to make it a one of a kind original print. This is something that we're going to go over later with all different ways that you can add something onto a print to make it an original. So make sure that you watch that segment so that this makes a little bit more sense. My point in showing you this disgusting hair which is mine but it is disgusting looking. My point in showing you is to say that you can use anything around you in innovative ways, and this might not resonate. And you might think this is all very weird and I would never touch this. That's OK, but what could you find from your own home or from your own surroundings? That inspires you to create in a slightly different way, in a more tangible hands on way? Because eventually what we're leading to here is how to create original prints. How can you make something that's one of a kind that you sell as one of one and a lot of the times that includes adding something onto the print? How can you do that? How can we be innovative? And how can we create art that not only resonates with people and that people understand, but that really makes them think in a deeper way

Class Description


  • Beat “creator's block” by practicing exercises to help you overcome it
  • Conceptualize a series that nails story, emotion, and connection
  • Execute a low-budget, high-impact photoshoot for your series
  • Edit your images for series cohesion and seamless compositing
  • Brand yourself and your art into a story that others can connect with


Creating a fine art body of work can be daunting when you consider that a great series has innovative ideas, cohesive editing, and an undeniable connection to an audience. During this class, Brooke will walk through the entire process of creating a fine art series, from conceptualization, shooting, and editing to branding and pricing. The success of a body of work comes from the artist’s ability to go beyond the connection to an audience; it must land in the heart of the viewer and then instill a call to action within them. Brooke will lead you through not only how to make your work relatable, but how to take that extra step to become unforgettable, and ultimately, sellable.


  • Intermediate creators who want to focus on personal work and find a deeper level of creating.
  • Creators who not only want to tighten the cohesion of their work but ensure that the full depth of meaning is communicated.
  • Artists who want to learn simple yet effective ways of creating a body of personal work.


Adobe Photoshop 2020 (v21.2.4) and Adobe Bridge CC 2020 (v10.1.1)


Brooke explores the darkness and light in people, and her work looks at that juxtaposition. As a self-portrait artist, she photographs herself and becomes the characters of dreams inspired by a childhood of intense imagination and fear. Being the creator and the actor, Brooke controls her darkness and confronts those fears.

After studying films for years in college, she realized her love of storytelling was universal. She started photography then in 2008, excited to create in solitude and take on character roles herself. Brooke works from a place of theme, often gravitating toward death and rebirth or beauty and decay.

Ultimately, her process is more discovery than creation. She follows her curiosity into the unknown to see who her characters might become. Brooke believes the greatest gift an artist has is the ability to channel fears, hopes, and experience into a representation of one's potential.

While her images come from a personal place of exploration, the goal in creating is not only to satisfy herself; her greatest wish is to show others a part of themselves. Art is a mirror for the creator and the observer.

Brooke's passion is storytelling, and her life is engulfed in it. From creating self-portraits and writing to international adventures and motivational speeches, she wants to live a thousand lives in one. She keeps her curiosity burning to live a truly interesting story.

*This course contains artistic nudity.


a Creativelive Student

Brooke never fails to deliver. I found this course superb from start to finish. From exercising your creative 'muscle', demystifying taking self portraits, and showing that they don't have to be perfect before you begin editing, to walking you through her editing process and how to price your work. Brooke's enthusiastic personality and excitement about the work shines through it all. Definitely recommended!

Søren Nielsen

Thank for fantastic motivating an very inspiring. The story telling and selling module was very helpful - thanks from Denmark

Rebecca Potter

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Brooke for this amazing class. Inspired and so full of practical knowledge, this is the best class I've ever watched. You have given me the confidence to pursue what I've always been afraid to do. Watch this space!