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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 9 of 70

How Can You Get Ahead if You Feel Behind?

Brooke Shaden

Creating a Fine Art Series

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

9. How Can You Get Ahead if You Feel Behind?
When you learn to celebrate small successes like they are big successes, you will rewire your brain to find optimism in the journey rather than pessimism.


  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

How Can You Get Ahead if You Feel Behind?

But you may be asking How can you get ahead if you feel left behind? How can you get ahead if you feel like nothing you do is pushing you forward right now. First of all, we have to recognize that confidence is a practice. It is not something that you are born with for most people. And I feel like I've tipped the scales on both ends of this because I used to have no confidence in myself. I wouldn't talk to anybody. I was super anxious all the time. I thought I was stupid. I had no confidence, and that transformed. When I learned to see myself from the other side of my career of my creativity of what I could be, I started to learn that intelligence wasn't on Lee. Could you take a test? It was, Can you make something beautiful when there's nothing in front of you? And it was learning that that I started to realize that my confidence comes from simply believing that I am something that I always thought that I wasn't, and I know that it's easier said than done that I could just say Just th...

ink of yourself differently. But That's why it's a practice, because every day you wake up and you tell yourself a slightly more kind narrative about who you are and eventually you believe it. Most people make it up anyway. Like I said, the most powerful people that I've met, they're just making it up. Nobody knows what they're doing. I don't know what I'm doing, and what I wanna express with that is not that you can't trust me about certain things that I'm saying in this class, but that if I want to prove anything, it's that if you simply start and you just let yourself believe that it's possible that's going to take you way further than any technique or anything that I show you in this whole class. So if you take nothing else away, know that you just have to make it up because if you act like a leader, then people will follow you. That's what I started doing. I just said I know what I'm doing. I'm a resource, I know how to do art and I didn't know I don't have a degree in that E. I mean, I'm teaching you about fine art, which sounds really like highfalutin, doesn't it? But I don't have a degree in art. So should you believe me? Yes, because I'm telling you to because I'm confident that I know what I'm talking about. Confidence is all about understanding that leadership comes from just saying that you know what you're doing and then moving forward with that confidence. Famed confidence creates real confidence. That's true. I have watched it blossom and other people and in myself, if you could just act confident for 30 seconds, that's 30 seconds that you have practiced being confident and it's important. People often fail it, defining success in their lives because we have a skewed perception of what success looks like. And I have a really good secret to how to get around that. And my secret is that you have to celebrate every 100 not every million. So here's what I mean. When I first started on social media, I, like most people, wanted people to follow me. I have since become disgusted with that way of thinking, as probably many of us have. But I went on social media. I started a Facebook account and I was like, Oh my gosh, I really hope that, like by the end of a year, I could get 100 people to follow me. And when I reached that milestone, I went out to dinner and I celebrated and I was so excited. And then the next 100 I celebrated, and then it turned into I was eating way too many cookies and I had to stop celebrating every 100 eventually that turned into a million. But I celebrated every 100. Instead of feeling discouraged that I wasn't at a million, I celebrated every 100. This is where most people fail is not celebrating every single little success because they are worthy of celebration. And when you draw attention to the good things, it makes you focus on the good things. When you draw attention to the bad things, you focus on the bad things, so we have to create positive reinforcement from within. We have to be the ones to do that. Don't rely on your friend or your partner or an audience to give you that validation that we are all searching for. Let it come from within. If you grow easily frustrated by not gaining a lot, then you're probably never going to gain a lot because that frustration festers in you. It grows. It becomes something insurmountable because you're so upset with yourself for not achieving more. This is why people fail at defining success because we focus on the wrong things that don't make us successful. I want to share with you a few of my Siri's that I've made to round out this segment. And I also want to point out that there are lots of downloads that you can get with this class. So, um, I have worksheets galore and you can download them and follow along. So if you hear me saying something and you can fill out a worksheet to correspond, to, go ahead and do that after every segment, see if you can work this out on your own for what we're talking about here, Um, I want to show you some of the Siri's that I've made and to make a very important point about that. One of the things that I want to make a point about is that sometimes a Siri's doesn't have to be an actual Siri's. I have had works in galleries where they have said what should we call this Siri's. I'm like it's not a Siri's and they're like, I don't care. Make it up. It looks like it could be a Siri's. So your work, if it's coherent enough, could be a Siri's after you've already made it. So a Siri's doesn't necessarily have to be meditated and planned, but I want to encourage you to do that for the sake of this class and moving forward. So this is the very first Siri's that I ever made. I did not know that I was making a Siri's when I did it. I just started making stuff So you can see here lying on the train tracks, which I do not recommend anybody do. Please listen to me. No train tracks. This was before I was trained and how to not die. So don't do train tracks anyway. These air some of the images from my very first Siri's that I later titled Small Deaths and these air all images that I took around my like where I grew up in in Pennsylvania, around my apartment, um, against my blank walls, and I began what I like to call the stuffing myself in tiny places. Phase where I realized that I was not a model and I would never be a model. As's faras traditional models go. I'm just little tiny me and I am quite tiny. So I thought, What can I do that models can't dio I can fit in tiny places, So I did and I fit in lots of tiny places and it was really fun. And I made all these images because I just liked it. I didn't have a plan. I just I just really enjoyed this process. And what you see here are examples of, perhaps not the most cohesive Siri's, but images that go together because they're all me laying dead in different places. Yeah, we're going to talk about shock value, so don't worry. That's coming. The next Siri's that I put together after the fact not realizing that I was making a Siri's is called in the kitchen, featuring some of the same images that you already saw. And these are all images. You guessed it shot in a kitchen. See, I was really good at titling things, huh? And then, after my in the kitchen, Siri's I created my sack, Siri's, which was all fabric draped across women in different ways. Um, and that was perhaps my most fun, Siri's and the Siri's that I have enjoyed doing the most. Perhaps which brings me to my very first Siri's that I ever made, intentionally with the intent of it being a Siri's. And I actually made this Siri's. After I got that review telling me that I wasn't a real artist, I was like, Let me show you. So I made a Siri's and I built four walls, and I created all this stuff inside the room, and I made this Siri's called Fourth wall and, um, that lead. Then a few years later, to my most recent Siri's called Begin Again, which is all about identity, and we'll talk about this later. And this Siri's was one of my more cohesive Syriza's. Well, you can see the difference between the Siri's that weren't Siri's and the Siri's that were Siri's, you know what I mean. They were intentional, and they look intentional, and we're gonna talk a lot about how that is why that is and why that's important now. This is my most recent Siri's, and I want to give a slight trigger warning here because some of this content is graphic on do you might feel uncomfortable looking at it. The Siri's is about death and grief. It's called Samsara because that word means the cycle of life that all living, living things endure from birth to death. And I think it's really beautiful, but also kind of graphic. And this is the series that I'm working on now, trying to de stigmatize death and grief and how we internalize that and how we talk about it. So that's what we're looking at here. I think that it's really important that we focus on not only creating a cohesive body of work, but on the internal work that it takes to recognize what needs to come out of us right now. What needs to come out of us right now because something in our lives is culminated to this point and something is going to be expelled because of it. I started creating about death, and that's what I loved. For whatever reason, whatever triggered that in me, I loved it. It brought me joy. And then, at some point in my timeline, I lost that. But now I'm back to it. So my newest series is called Samsara. We're going to create images for that Siri's during this class, so hopefully you can see a little glimpse into that thought process of how to continuous Siri's. And up next we're going to talk about conceptualization, so join me for that.

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!