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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 66 of 70

Live Premiere


Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 66 of 70

Live Premiere


Lesson Info

Live Premiere

So Brooke Schaden, take it away. Tell us all about why you wanted to create this course on creating a fine art. Siri's Yeah, so gosh, there are so so many reasons. And I specifically wanted to focus on a Siri's because I feel very passionate about the fact that for a fine art photographer, having a Siri's is, like, emblematic of having status as a fine artist. And that's, you know, I hate saying things like that in a sense, like you have to do this to, you know, become a fine art photographer. Something like that. And I truly believe that you don't have to do any one thing Thio, you know, skyrocket your career. But the thing that I have heard from the most galleries and the most reviewers, the most magazine editors, etcetera, is you need to have a cohesive body of work that can work as a Siri's. So I started to take that very seriously in, like, 2015 or so when I had my very first review, when I heard that and I started to really focus on Siri's work bodies of work instead of creating ...

work that was individual and maybe disparate from one another. And so I want to show you a little bit. I'm just going to show you my screen here. Um, I want to show you where my work started, because to me, this is an important part of the journey. And I'm showing you my flicker site right now because that's where I started. My photography journey was just posting images on flicker. These images that you see here are the most basic of, like, whatever was in my imagination. I just did it without a thought, thio how they would flow or if they would be good or if they fit into a Siri's. I was just making stuff and I want to show you how that kind of evolved into first, cultivating a style and then second, cultivating Siri's bodies of work that we're really cohesive, that I could put out there to galleries. So it started out with works like this thes air, all of my very first images and you can see from the square conceptual images to the non square. You could also call this conceptual image of these oranges. You never know, but it was really kind of a mix of what I was doing here on this first page of my flicker, and as we go through already just on the second page, you can start to see that cohesion come in. Cohesion of color, of form, shape subject all these different things coming together to create something mawr cohesive in this in a sort of evolution. And this goes on through my work as kind of a theme where it's almost like every page of my flicker site, which has every image I've ever made on it. You can see a slightly different evolution happening, a different sensibility through my photography. And it was around this time, which is like a really that weird thing to say. But I looked at my flicker site as like my timeline. It was around this time that I started thinking about Siri's more seriously thes. Couple of images, for example, are both examples of a new attempted Siri's that didn't quite work out as a Siri's. And so all of this work kind of it feels a little bit separate from one another. They weren't created to go together. They just happen to go together, and that's the first step of building your work is, Do your images cohesively run together? Now the answer is they don't have Thio. I'm not trying to say like, make sure that every image that you do looks the same. By contrast, I'm trying to say Be intentional about developing specific styles plural because you don't have to have just one. So I became really interested in creating this class when I realized that my heart was being taken more seriously by people who would eventually pay me for what I was doing when I created in a Siri's body of work. And you can really see the Siri's pop up, for example, right here, where all of these images flow really well together because they all look very similar. That's one Siri's. And then here we have another sort of cryptic Siri's, and this goes on and on. So I'm gonna go into Photoshop here, and I want to share with you my very first Siri's that I ever made. So creating a Siri's can happen in many different ways, but I would say two general ways people make a Siri's one is that you do it with intent. You go into your body of work, and you're like, I'm gonna make a photo Siri's and it's going to be cohesive visually, conceptually on. Then you do it the other way that you could do that. Is this example here where perhaps you just go through your old work and you figure out, Is there a common theme that I see a common idea that's popping up in several images? Maybe a common visual that you can connect and the reason why I bring up these two ways of creating a Siri's one being You just look at your old work and see what you can cobble together, the other being you create a brand new Siri's for the intent of creating a cohesive Siri's. The reason why I bring it up is because I have had so many exhibitions, like so many where the gallery contacted me and said, Oh, I love this image, Is it part of a Siri's? And I'll be like, Yeah, then I'll show them something like this, which is totally not a Siri's. I literally just went into my flicker and I pulled images that I use trees and that's it. And I put them together here, and it's believable enough that the Siri's even though I didn't make it as a Siri's. Because when you start to grow your voice and your vision when you become very clear about what your intent is, when you're creating Ah, lot of your work may start to touch on similar themes because it's very rare that an artist will say, Okay, I have this great idea and I'm gonna, like, tackle the theme of joy and then you're done after one image. Usually you want to keep expressing that until you feel like it's out of you. So similar themes will pop up in your work. Similar concept, similar ideas, similar techniques and visuals. So take advantage of that and put them together like I like you see here. But then I pulled up this one first to show you my very very first, Siri's that I ever made. And this Siri's is called Ballet Vacate. And it started because I went into a gallery for my very first meeting with a gallery and showed them this image of ah ballerina, and they said, we really like it, but can you turn it into a Siri's? So I spent the next six months shooting. This Siri's with the intent of exhibiting it all together, and that's what I did. So it's really important when you are coming up with a Siri's or making one out of your old work that you think about. Are these images visually cohesive? Are they conceptually cohesive? Are they relevant currently, like Is there a way that you can somehow relate this body of work, too? What people are feeling right now and that's a wide spectrum. So I'm not necessarily talking about current events. I'm talking about the emotional state or how that could be relevant right now. Are the images evergreen When I say evergreen, I mean Evergreen content is content that you create because it will not go out of trend. It won't go out of style. It's not going to be stuck in a certain time period. It's going to be relevant for a long time, which is part of why I create my work in the evergreen style, which is to say the timeless style so that it never goes out of style. But your answer to this question are your images. Evergreen might be no, and that's totally okay to It's just about understanding how your image is related to a current audience. That's it. And then the thing that I find the most beneficial when I create a Siri's is to write about the Siri's before I even started or as I'm starting to piece the images together. Then I write out my artist statement and figure out Why are these images personal to me? Why are they relevant to other people? Um, and how can you relate this? Siri's to a larger idea, a larger topic. All of those things are going to help tremendously when we think about putting a Siri's together this whole classes about creating a Siri's. But really, it's about creating a state of mind. And I feel very passionate about passing this point across to you because it's about creating the state of mind that is building confidence, building on an idea. So if you have a certain idea in your mind that you wanna really push and get out there in the most evocative, innovative way that you can, that's what this course is about. And I was so passionate about making it because my work has evolved tremendously in the last few years in terms of thinking about provocation, innovation and connection toe audience, and that's what this class is going to touch on. So if you're feeling a little bit worried like, I don't know if im ready to create a Siri's. Don't worry about that so much because yes, the course focuses on building a body of work. But that body of work could simply be your portfolio. So don't get Thio, you know, worried about that, that part of things. I wanted to show you this picture real quick because this is, um, just kind of an interesting story that perhaps we'll put you at ease because I have tried to create many Siri's that have failed and they have failed so badly. And this image I shot in 2010 and I actually was the very first time in my artistic journey that I ever spent money on a picture like I was. I spent money on a cabin in the snow and I went and I was going through this whole entire photo Siri's and it was really cool. It was going to turn it into a book. It was going to be like this naked guy and the snow covered in like oil. It was really Well, that sounds really okay. So just starting over, it was gonna be really cool about rebirth and death, and it was really, really fun. But I realized when we got there that you can't really cover someone in oil and then put them in the snow naked because they just freeze immediately. So everything was scrapped. It cost me like over $1000. At the time. That was like every penny I could spend on photography for the year, and it failed. And this was the only image that I got out of it, and I didn't even like it. So sometimes you're going to invest in your craft and it will fail spectacularly. And I have so many stories of how that has happened to me, and especially in working with a Siri's. If you're not used to working in that mindset, it's a very difficult shift to make. And it is a practice. It is a study, and that's why I really hope to guide you through it a little bit here. So moving on to these images that you see, I too big I I just started creating these images a couple months ago where I just had this random idea to paint on top of glass and then transpose that paint on top of my images. So I did. And the center image here was actually painted on the print as a mixed media piece. So I made these images and I loved them. I was so excited. Um, do you know that feeling when you make something and just like your soul is on fire with excitement about it? That's how I felt with this, and I made these images and then I kind of put it aside and I made some other things for a while. And then just this week, I made these images same technique, different visual. Then I started thinking, Could these be a cohesive Siri's? Because these air clearly very different images than these. How could they possibly go together? These air red and dark and dramatic and kind of like scary a little bit looks a little bit like blood, and then these air soft and, you know, like elegant and they're and they're meant to be. Sometimes when you look at your work, it's hard to see how they could go together. It's hard to see that connection that through line, that we'll talk about in the class of one image to the next image to the next image. And that's why understanding the flow of your work and the breath of your work is so vital. So here's how I ended up putting them together. I started trying to figure out if I were to display these. If if I were to pitch this as a cohesive Siri's, how could it work? Because sometimes you can't rely on technique alone. But when I staggered the images and put one after the other alternating dark and light, dark and light it looks intentional, doesn't it? Part of I would say a large part of being a professional artist is just being so confident in the way that you present things that other people believe it. So if I pitched this to a gallery, I'd be like, Yeah, of course I created these two go together. Of course I did. I didn't really, but they do, and I know my work intimately enough, technically conceptually, to know that these work together, so I find that super exciting. I wanna walk you through a current Siri's that I have going on here, and this is the first time that I'm sharing my Samsara Siris in full. So far, it's only halfway finished. But here it is so far, and this is the new Siri's that I'm working on. You'll see this pop up in the classes, you watch it and this Siri's is dark and disturbing and gritty and textured and gross. It's meant to be grotesque. But if you look at this Siri's and you think, Oh, I don't see any visual cohesion in this, then I would say that you're probably nuts because this is the most visually coherent you could get right. It's like dark background background, um, subject often centered with a yellow tent. And that's how I've been creating the Siri's. So I wanted to share this because this is my newest evolution of work, and I want to show a little breakdown of how I've started incorporating images into the Siri's. When you come up against a idea and you're like, Okay, I've got this thing that I really need to say this thing that I just feel so passionate about? I can't wait to do it. Then how do you begin to build that out? How do you begin to conceptually make it work visually, make it work and yet make it interesting enough? So I want to point out a couple of things that are going on here. And one is that even though it doesn't seem like it, there is actually a diverse color palette going on in terms of their being yellows, greens and reds. In this Siri's, you can see that especially represented here, where we have yellow, red and green all in a line. And if you had said to me even a year ago, would you ever put red and green and yellow all in the Siri's together? I would have said, Absolutely not. That doesn't work. So it's about refining that vision. How can it work? Where does it work? In what context and then diversity of form was super important to me. So you see these images here? They're very fluid. There's a lot of curving lines, um, very abstract in shape versus these images, which are very structured and rigid in shape. So I'm trying to think about not only color, cohesion, subject cohesion, theme, cohesion but also shape and how the images flow and how I can diversify the aesthetic while keeping the viewer interested in it as a cohesive Siri's. So those were just some of the ways that I started building the Siri's out and another big one for me, which, you know, take it or leave it for you is texture. How can I incorporate many layers of texture so that the eye falls on the image and it feels like this is gonna be weird, But it feels like you, Mommy, you know what I mean? Like when you're eating food and there's that flavor profile of umami and it's like super satisfying. That's how I want my images to feel. So I use texture umami in my images to create many layers of texture to make that work

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.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Overview of Brooke’s Journey

    How Brooke went from creating only for herself to building a multi-faceted career in fine art photography.

  3. Your Timeline is Nonlinear

    How to incorporate the idea of wealth into your journey as an artist.

  4. Using Curiosity and Intention to Build Your Career

    Too many people rely heavily on either intuition or goal setting as a means of propelling their career forward. Brooke believes that there is a blend between the two that sets most professionals apart.

  5. What Factors Dictate Growth

    A look at how improvement in the categories of technique, conceptualization, clarity of voice and vision, and impact all work together to create growth.

  6. Organic Growth vs. Forced Growth

    The most successful artists are able to use inspiration strategically to create innovative works that regularly impress their audience.

  7. Niche Branding

    If you brand yourself into a story, you will be less likely to fall victim to boredom within your branded niche.

  8. Brooke’s Artistic Evolution and Timeline

    Watch as Brooke shares every important event in the past eleven years as an artist to see which were the most helpful in propelling her career forward.

  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.

  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.

  11. Idea Fluency

    Learn abou how your ability to generate many good ideas in a short time is directly influenced by brain science, and then learn how to control your own idea fluency through exercises.

  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.

  13. How to Innovate an Idea

    By examining your sense of style, sense of idea, and sense of innovation, we will walk through exercises to not only create what is in your mind, but to take it further to stir yourself and your audience.

  14. Creating a Dialogue With Your Art

    Dialogue comes from provocation and response. Take a look at how to provoke an audience through visual and thematic clues, and then how to issue a definitive call to action.

  15. Conceptualization For a Series vs. a Single Image

    Find out the differences between coming up with ideas for a single image vs. a series and see examples of series Brooke has created to deconstruct how they work.

  16. Transforming a Single Image Into a Series

    A look at how to take a single idea and transform it into a cohesive series by focusing on visuals, theme, and through-line.

  17. How to Tell a Story in a Series

    Storytelling can unfold thematically, abstractly, linearly, and/or concretely. Here you will look at how story structure can help create a more impactful series.

  18. How to Create Costumes From Fabric

    Look at which fabrics work best for costuming, how color plays a role in costume selection, and how to tea dye or coffee stain costumes.

  19. Brooke’s Most Useful Costumes

    See which costumes Brooke uses again and again and how to build a costume wardrobe with a few essentials that won’t break your budget.

  20. Using Paint and Clay as Texture in an Image

    Brooke will demonstrate how creating texture on both skin and costumes can create a more dynamic look in the final image.

  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.

  22. Shooting for a Fine Art Series

    How you can create cohesion and conceptual flow across images in a series.

  23. Conceptualization: Flowery Fish Bowl in the Desert

    A description of the image being created and why it is conceptually and visually relevant to the rest of the series.

  24. Wardrobe and Texture

    How to choose wardrobe based on the concept of the image, and how to add texture to make the image more visually appealing.

  25. Posing for the Story

    Brooke will photograph three different poses, each one changing the story of the image, to demonstrate how pose can alter the viewer’s perception of the series.

  26. Choosing an Image

    Brooke will explain why she chose one image over another to demonstrate the need for angles and dynamic movement within an image.

  27. Conceptualization: Rainy Plexiglass

    A description of the image being created and why it is conceptually and visually relevant to the rest of the series.

  28. Posing for the Story

    Brooke walks through poses that become more and more complex, from posing the model behind a Plexiglas sheet, then adding water, then adding syrup.

  29. Creating Backlight

    Using a portable LED light, Brooke moves the light from the side to the back to create a more abstract image.

  30. Photo Shoot #1 - Creating a Simple Composite
  31. Photo Shoot #2 - Creating a Dynamic Composite
  32. Photo Shoot #3 - Creating a Storytelling Composite
  33. Shooting the Background Images
  34. Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Working With Backgrounds
  35. Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Retouching the Subject
  36. Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Color Grading
  37. Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Floor Replacement Texture
  38. Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Final Adjustments
  39. Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Cropping and Editing Backgrounds
  40. Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Selective Adjustments
  41. Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Adding Texture + Fine Tuning
  42. Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Compositing Models
  43. Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Expanding Rooms
  44. Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Selective Color
  45. Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Selective Exposure
  46. Editing Composite Shoot #2- Masking Into Backgrounds
  47. Editing Composite Shoot #2- Creating Rooms in Photoshop
  48. Editing Composite Shoot #2- Compositing Hair
  49. Editing Composite Shoot #2- Global Adjustments
  50. Editing Composite Shoot #3- Blending Composite Elements
  51. Editing Composite Shoot #3- Advanced Compositing
  52. Editing Composite Shoot #3- Cleanup
  53. Materials for Alternative Processes

    Brooke shows some materials she uses for alternative processes, or applying texture to an image after it is printed. She shows oil paints, wax, and more.

  54. Oil Painting on Prints

    A look at applying oil paints to canvas prints and how that adds value to original prints.

  55. Encaustic Wax on Prints

    A look at applying encaustic wax to canvas prints and how that adds value to original prints.

  56. Failure vs. Sell Out

    Brooke shares how the most successful artists straddle a line between personal work and consideration of audience.

  57. Create Art You Love and Bring an Audience To You

    When you identify areas of your process and craft that are non-negotiable vs. negotiable, you begin to identify how you can work best with clients and what you need to keep sacred.

  58. Branding Yourself Into a Story

    When you consider that branding is a mixture of personality, art, storytelling, and business, you can feel more at ease with your brand not just being one single thing.

  59. The Artistic Narrative

    Defining what stories you want to tell about yourself directly influences how you tell the story of your brand through your business.

  60. Get People to Care About Your Story

    Your brand must inherently bring interest and value to the people who are viewing it. Take a look at how you can begin down that journey.

  61. Get People to Buy Your Story

    From identifying your clientele to figuring out how you can meet their needs, shifting someone from an admirer of your art to a patron of your business is important in becoming a full time artist.

  62. Getting Galleries and Publishers to Take Notice

    Steps we can take to get representatives to pay attention, like the importance of regular interaction and becoming a resource.

  63. Pricing For Commissions
  64. Original Prints vs. Limited Edition Prints vs. Open Edition Prints

    Brooke goes through the benefits of selling original prints and how they can be done simply to add to your arsenal as an artist.

  65. Class Outro
  66. Live Premiere
  67. Live Premiere: Layers of Depth 1
  68. Live Premiere: Layers of Depth 2
  69. Live Premiere: Q&A
  70. Live Premiere: Photo Critique


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!