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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 12 of 70

How to Represent an Idea

Brooke Shaden

Creating a Fine Art Series

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

12. How to Represent an Idea
Ideas are represented by four elements: visual, symbolic, experiences, and emotions. Learn how to control those elements in your work by figuring them out in your work.


  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 to Represent an Idea

we've talked about conceptualization, but then we have to talk about how to represent those ideas that we have. It's one thing to be able to say I've got an idea and this is what it means. But it's another thing to be ableto actually represent that in a visual image or whatever your art is. So how do we represent ideas? Ideas are represented by four main things. Visual elements. Of course. You know, you've got something in a picture, a person, a place, the thing and it represents something symbolic elements. And that means that the person in the place and the thing are what they are. But also they have meaning behind that, like the cosmic onion. And then there are common experiences, and this is how we represent ideas by recognizing that humans all across the world have common experiences, and even more than that, they have common emotions. So those are the four ways that we generally represent ideas, visually, symbolically and then through experience and emotions that are shared with ...

others. And if we can focus on those four things, then we can start to narrow down the ways that we represent our ideas which can be endless. Now there are two kinds of art that we should talk about here. Abstract art versus representational art. And they have a couple of main differences, some of which you may be able to surmise just by hearing the names of them. Abstraction. Abstract art largely works on emotion because you don't have anything represented in the image or in the visual that gives you clues us to what it is. It's abstract. It's meant to be. Abstract art represents visuals in partially unrecognizable ways, so we have to utilize other things that we do recognize, like color, texture, shape, form, size, chaos, calm to be able to connect to the art in subway. Representational art works on concept, and what this means is that representational art represents visuals as we know them. So in representational art, a lamp is a lamp. That's what it is. It's representing itself. It is the thing that we know it to be. Okay, so a lot of art is representational art. There's a person in the picture. Therefore, it's a picture of a person. It's representing a person. It's representational. Um, if you go into a museum and you see a big blue dot you know, on a canvas, and that's the art that would be abstract art. Because even though we know it's a circle, why is it there? What's the context? Context is largely missing. An abstract art. These are some of the ways that you can define your art, and you may lean in one way or the other, but still fall into one category or maybe a mix. I create representational art with some some forms of abstraction, and often it's this form of abstraction that leans my work into more surreal art. It's that abstract in the representational that keeps it grounded in our imaginations but also lets our imaginations soar. So the next thing that we have to talk about a symbolism symbolism is one of my favorite things in the world to talk about. And I have a couple of books that I want to recommend to you. So let's look at symbolism very quickly. Symbolism breaks through cultural barriers. Symbolism is how we understand what a thing is, but we know it means something else, and there are lots of common examples that I could use. Um, for example, umbrella is a symbol for protection. An umbrella keeps you safe from the rain, so the umbrella is the thing itself. It's represented as an umbrella, but the symbol of the umbrella is that it protects you from rain, so it's a symbol for protection. This is why it breaks through cultural barriers because symbols allow different cultures who don't speak the same language you have unnecessarily had the same experiences toe. Understand what something means on a deeper level. And that's why art that carries symbolism can often transcend culture. And that's why it's so important that we talk about it, because in art it is not enough to connect. I know that everybody says, You know, you have to make sure that people understand your art. You have to make sure that it connects to people. Yes, you dio, but there's a lot of good are out there that connects to people. Just find people understand it. We get it. But does it innovate and doesn't impress? So one way that you can study symbolism is by looking at these books that I have here. Okay, okay, so one of them is called the Book of Symbols and this book is particularly valuable because it has some really good pictures in it. In case you're interested in pictures, Um, it's really great. And essentially these books just go thing by thing. Like I just opened up to the airplane page and it gives you kind of like a symbolic history off the airplane and how different people associate it, what they think about it. And it goes through so, so, so many different objects. So if you're looking to learn more about symbolism, this is a book that I highly recommend. The book of symbols, reflections on archetypal images, and then another one that I just recently picked up is called Uhh Dictionary of Symbols. So really, really simple. Same thing Not such nice pictures. Eso those were some good options. If you wanna learn more about symbolism right now, there is so much art out there, and it is incredibly accessible. So the way that we create concepts the way that we think about our art and how it connects to an audience has to go beyond pure understanding. Symbols allow us to understand art. Representational art allows us to understand it. If you see an image of something you understand what that thing is? Boom done. But people want more than that. People don't want to just understand your art. They want more because traction in art comes from innovation, not from understanding. You can look at something and understand it, but not be moved by it. So it has to come from something deeper than that, just like how you can read a book and you can understand that book and it's perfectly fine. But if you don't feel emotionally moved by it, then you're not going to love it. You're not going to recommend it. You're not even gonna finish it probably. And the same goes for art. When you put your art out there, it has to connect with somebody on a deeper level than understanding. And I think that a lot of people know that because it's in some ways common sense. But a lot of people don't practice it. We kind of stop it that well. I've represented the thing. I've symbolized the thing. Now what I've done it, I've done the work, but I think that there's more to it than that, and that thing that we're missing is innovation.

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!