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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 10 of 70

Ideation and Conceptualization to Identify Meaning in Your Art

Brooke Shaden

Creating a Fine Art Series

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

10. Ideation and Conceptualization to Identify Meaning in Your Art
Walk through several categories of meaning to figure out how you create and how others perceive your creations. You will learn how to layer the concepts of your art, create controversy in your ideas, how to make viewers feel something, and figure out where you land on the scale of fixation.


Class Trailer
1 Class Introduction 07:25 2 Overview of Brooke’s Journey 20:13 3 Your Timeline is Nonlinear 05:37 4 Using Curiosity and Intention to Build Your Career 03:26 5 What Factors Dictate Growth 08:24 6 Organic Growth vs. Forced Growth 05:18 7 Niche Branding 04:57 8 Brooke’s Artistic Evolution and Timeline 24:27
9 How Can You Get Ahead if You Feel Behind? 10:02 10 Ideation and Conceptualization to Identify Meaning in Your Art 05:54 11 Idea Fluency 10:33 12 How to Represent an Idea 07:01 13 How to Innovate an Idea 07:07 14 Creating a Dialogue With Your Art 05:48 15 Conceptualization For a Series vs. a Single Image 03:43 16 Transforming a Single Image Into a Series 03:12 17 How to Tell a Story in a Series 03:28 18 How to Create Costumes From Fabric 07:20 19 Brooke’s Most Useful Costumes 02:19 20 Using Paint and Clay as Texture in an Image 02:56 21 Create Physical Elements in an Image 10:22 22 Shooting for a Fine Art Series 05:45 23 Conceptualization: Flowery Fish Bowl in the Desert 04:08 24 Wardrobe and Texture 04:54 25 Posing for the Story 05:32 26 Choosing an Image 01:23 27 Conceptualization: Rainy Plexiglass 11:34 28 Posing for the Story 04:17 29 Creating Backlight 02:37 30 Photo Shoot #1 - Creating a Simple Composite 17:51 31 Photo Shoot #2 - Creating a Dynamic Composite 06:31 32 Photo Shoot #3 - Creating a Storytelling Composite 07:40 33 Shooting the Background Images 06:14 34 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Working With Backgrounds 24:35 35 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Retouching the Subject 04:20 36 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Color Grading 02:45 37 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Floor Replacement Texture 15:24 38 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Final Adjustments 03:21 39 Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Cropping and Editing Backgrounds 05:25 40 Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Selective Adjustments 03:55 41 Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Adding Texture + Fine Tuning 03:21 42 Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Compositing Models 06:58 43 Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Expanding Rooms 02:17 44 Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Selective Color 02:47 45 Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Selective Exposure 04:04 46 Editing Composite Shoot #2- Masking Into Backgrounds 10:45 47 Editing Composite Shoot #2- Creating Rooms in Photoshop 06:11 48 Editing Composite Shoot #2- Compositing Hair 05:07 49 Editing Composite Shoot #2- Global Adjustments 04:49 50 Editing Composite Shoot #3- Blending Composite Elements 05:00 51 Editing Composite Shoot #3- Advanced Compositing 08:46 52 Editing Composite Shoot #3- Cleanup 03:34 53 Materials for Alternative Processes 06:20 54 Oil Painting on Prints 05:41 55 Encaustic Wax on Prints 03:09 56 Failure vs. Sell Out 05:14 57 Create Art You Love and Bring an Audience To You 03:35 58 Branding Yourself Into a Story 05:40 59 The Artistic Narrative 05:26 60 Get People to Care About Your Story 03:36 61 Get People to Buy Your Story 11:36 62 Getting Galleries and Publishers to Take Notice 03:41 63 Pricing For Commissions 06:43 64 Original Prints vs. Limited Edition Prints vs. Open Edition Prints 02:11 65 Class Outro 01:00 66 Live Premiere 16:14 67 Live Premiere: Layers of Depth 1 04:41 68 Live Premiere: Layers of Depth 2 07:12 69 Live Premiere: Q&A 16:10 70 Live Premiere: Photo Critique 47:33

Lesson Info

Ideation and Conceptualization to Identify Meaning in Your Art

during this segment, we're going to talk about conceptualization because conceptualization is one of the most difficult and yet necessary parts of creating any fighting our image or a Siri's. And you may argue with me and say that you don't need to conceptualize an image if you're just shooting for beauty or because you just like something and you're doing something on a whim. But I would argue that everything has concept. It's just a matter of if you see it and you're aware of it or not. So try to come at this from the standpoint of not everything has toe have really high brow concept. But if you're more aware of why you are compelled to do something like taking a certain picture than you will be more aware of how to connect that to an audience. So conceptualization is super important, and another word that we can use is ideation, which has the word idea in it. And I love that because ideation is just the forming of concepts or ideas and conceptualization ideation. They bring up these...

feelings of anxiety for people like it's this really, really difficult thing to Dio, but really all it means is that there is an idea behind what you're doing. So conceptualization is kind of fun because it doesn't have to be really complicated or in depth, but it can be. And that's where I'm happiest personally. Is creating really in depth, really just deep concepts? And when I say deep concept, I don't mean that there necessarily super smart concepts or anything like that. I just mean that they have multiple layers that I have been able to explore within myself. So I absolutely love identifying the meaning of art, the meaning of your art, the meaning of my art. I think it's really fun. And this is probably why I studied English literature in college because I love studying the meaning behind things. What is the meaning behind an object behind a color behind a location behind all of these visuals that we put into an image? How can you identify the meaning of your art? It's important to note that there are two types of conceptualization and two types of art. One is called lowbrow and one is called highbrow, and a lot of times we make that distinction by saying that highbrow art is like cultured art, intellectual art and then lowbrow being the opposite of that. And I bring this up because I want you to be aware of where you feel that you fall within this category. Are you more lowbrow? Are you more highbrow? And there is no shame in either one. You know, wherever you might fall are you, you know, do you create from a very intellectual place or maybe a more of an instinctual place? Those air both. Okay, so no matter where you are, just be where you are, and it's totally good. Then when we talk about conceptualization, we're talking about layers. And yes, I will continuously bring up the cosmic onion because it has to be said, That's what concept is its layers of meaning. So how layered is your art? If I were to ask you to look back at your images and thio, identify where you put meaning into the image meaning where you intentionally did something because you thought it would read a certain way. Do you think about subject color, location set? Do you think about lighting technique? Do you think about era of influence even, you know, like how you're creating the art and where that stems from, How layered is your art? And once you think about how layered your art is and you look back at your work and you can really identify where you put meaning into it and where maybe you skipped it and that's totally okay to then think about how do you make people feel with your art? And this is where we can create controversy within our art, which I think is a fascinating thing to do, particularly within a Siri's, is to ask yourself, How can I create a dialogue with my audience? How can what I'm doing? The meanings, the layers, three ideas that I'm putting into my work create controversy and controversy comes from Does your art make someone feel something? Does it make them think something? And does it make them act? And those air generally the three different levels that people interact with your art on first they look at something and you feel something immediately. You feel indifference, so you scroll past it, you feel excited. So you look at it, you feel disgusted. So you look at it. There are all these different emotions that are triggered when we see something that tell us, move on or stay put. And after you have that initial emotional reaction, you think about it. Why do I feel that way? What do I see that interests me in this? And finally, if your art reaches the deepest place in somebody, they act. They take action. They felt an emotion. They thought about why they feel connected to it or why they don't And then they taken action because of it. And that's how we create controversy in our art. That's how we create intent by having those three steps outlined for our viewers. Depth of meaning is what we really mean by concept by ideation is how many layers can you go to put more meaning into your work? How can the visual elements of what you're putting together not only tell a story but tell one story than a sub story and a sub story? And you keep going deeper and deeper because if you don't understand your art, then you can't expect anybody else to understand your art. And the more areas that you skip over when you're creating a concept like location, wardrobe, character lighting, color, all of those things when you skip over those and you think, Oh, well, I'm just here. So I'm just gonna shoot here or, Well, she's already wearing that thing. I'll just photograph that. Then you're missing an opportunity to connect your art to an audience or to somebody who's going to see it. So keep that in mind that those are all opportunities for meaning that sometimes we skip and sometimes we skip it because it's just more fun that way. Maybe you're a spontaneous shooter, or maybe it's something that can be really examined as to why it's getting left behind.

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!