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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 6 of 70

Organic Growth vs. Forced Growth

Brooke Shaden

Creating a Fine Art Series

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

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.


  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

Organic Growth vs. Forced Growth

So then how do we grow organically versus in a forced way? And what are the pros and cons to that growth? Well, there are a couple of ways that we can think about this. Okay, So organic growth kind of precipitates slow progress potentially and often has a lack of effort associated with it in that if you're waiting for inspiration, it may never come. If you're just doing whatever you want all the time and you're not thinking about that next step, then growth may be very slow and there is nothing wrong with that. So I'm not going to say one is better than the other. You work how you wanna work. I will advocate for a slight blend of these ideas, but you take what you want, and honestly, it's of no consequence to anybody but you. So it's okay. Forced growth can cause burnout. That's the bad part of it, because you're trying to force all this growth on yourself and you're trying new things. But you get tired and you just slow down naturally, because you can't force a pace that isn't natural...

for you. But it can also create more realistic expectations off success because if you are thinking about the next goal, the next step, the next you know, curious path that you're going to follow, then you can start to set yourself up for the next success that you're going to have a swell. So whatever you dio take ownership over your growth and your inspiration. Because inspiration, we often think of as this muse that just like visits us sometimes. And we don't have control over that. I don't believe that at all. I think that inspiration should be a practice. It is a process. And when you're thinking about growth, take that forward momentum that you get and run with it. Run with that momentum because if I know anything, it's that confidence and success all stem from momentum. It stems from I did something good. Now I want to do more of that good thing. That's where confidence comes from, and it's important that we recognize whatever your growth style that it has toe have momentum to it. Strategy versus inspiration. Do you have to choose one over the other? Does it have to be? I'm inspired and I'm just waiting for it. Whenever I feel that muse I will act on it. Or does it have to be on Lee strategy? Do I have this idea of a thing that I want to do? And I drill it in and I do it? Do it, Do it. I think that it comes from a blend. I think that the the best growth in your artistic journey comes from a blend of strategy and inspiration because they work together to create a more sustainable business models, mawr, innovative art and I want to encourage you to start to think about inspiration and creativity is a practice that could include strategy. The problem that was strategy is that people often think of it is calculated and cold and like you're not a real artist if you have a strategy to your art. But I think that the most successful artists are the ones that have strategy. Despite being labeled as calculated or inauthentic or lacking artistry. They have a goal. They have a plan. They know how they should make you feel, how they want you to respond to their art, where they're going to put it, to be seen by the most people. And there should be no shame in wanting your art to be seen because you're creating something valuable and important. And if you don't believe that, then that's where the work starts. Is believing that you are doing something valuable and important and that it could change the course of ah person's life or even the world You just don't know. Inspiration is often seen as this divine force, right? Like you know, the muse that comes or goes or whatever. But I really think that inspiration comes from a much deeper source, and it's the understanding of oneself. It's the cosmic onion. It came back. So this idea of digging deeper is really just finding your inspiration. Where does it come from? And often I have found it's the thing that people don't get about you. So, like when I started photography, even when I started filmmaking, I remember one of the first things that I made was like this girl. Bad things happen to her, and she was crazy. And like all this stuff, it was really dark. Lots of death in the video, and I remember my family being like, No, why are you doing this? No, please don't make this stuff this is terrible, and I felt so compelled to do it. It's the thing that I did that people said, Why? Why would you do that? That's so weird. That's so crazy. I don't think so. So your deepest inspiration is probably the thing that you feel you need to do and other people don't understand at all. Inspiration is a commodity. I know that you might not like me saying that, because often people don't. But I think that inspiration is a commodity we have toe learn to turn inspiration into something reliable into something that is concrete, something that is delivery herbal, that you can really, really process internally. And when inspiration becomes a commodity, well, then you can pick it up any time you can consume it. It's something that is not just this like magical spirit thing in you, but something that you can call whenever you need it.

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!