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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 59 of 70

The Artistic Narrative

Brooke Shaden

Creating a Fine Art Series

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

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.


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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

The Artistic Narrative

This brings us to the artistic narrative and thinking about your overall story in narrative form. What does that mean? What are your narrative Touchstones? The things that you go back to time and time again to define this story that you're telling for me. I have a few different sort of Touchstones that I will always go back, Thio and reference so that they're showing up again and again in the story that I'm telling one of them is that I'm really happy. And yet I create dark art, and I think that's a fascinating narrative to talk about because people are contradictory. We contain multitudes to quote what women, And because we know that about ourselves, we can never, ever be just one thing. And when we try to brand ourselves is one single thing, we get frustrated, we burn out and we get sick of our own business. So I'm happy, and yet I create dark art. I am not afraid to look at my anxieties and examine them and then talk about them openly. I am very interested in interactive art and ope...

n conversations around darkness, and I'm knowledgeable about fine art and how to create it. So all of those things are the Touchstones of my narrative that I go back to again and again to keep working into the story that I tell you about myself. What are the elements of story? We're talking a lot about story. We're talking a lot about how we tell stories and the ways that we communicate that with other people. But what are the elements of story? Well, there are five main elements of story. If you look at it from a very literal standpoint, this is often found in literature. When you're studying writing, there are five elements of story. There's the introduction. How are we introduced to the world of the story? Um, what do you see? What kind of atmosphere is there? What kind of story are you telling? Set the tone. That's the introduction. Then you have the back story. So who are the players in the game? Who are these characters? What do we need to know about them? To move into the narrative story And you might be thinking, Why are we talking about this? Trust me. It's gonna full circle right back into branding and then you have the inciting incident and the inciting incident is the point of no return. It's where you have these characters. You know their backstory. You have the world set for yourself, and then they do something. They make a decision, and whatever decision those characters make, they either go in one direction or another direction. And it sets the story on its course that it will remain on until the resolution after the inciting incident is the conflict. And when we look at conflict, it's really just how are we going to solve the problem? What is the big problem and how is it going to get solved? That could be violently or with sadness or with joy. You never know what the conflict will result in, and that leads us to the resolution. How does it all end? And I talk about this pattern of storytelling because most stories are told in this way, and you could even extend that art and branding. So, for example, if you can identify the way that you tell stories, you'll be more likely to tell stories that resonate with an audience. This goes for your art. First, where do your images fall in terms of storytelling techniques. Are you somebody who tends to photograph and introduction, maybe your landscape photographer, and you always get the sweeping views of mountains or something like that that might be an introductory shot. You're introducing the world to a place that you love. It's an introduction. Maybe you focus on back story. If you're a portrait photographer, what's the story of that person that you're photographing? And how can you really bring that story to life? Will you focus on what makes them them at their very core? The inciting incident is where I fall as a photographer. I love the inciting incident because it's the point where you're not sure what's going to happen. There is a choice that's being made, and I portray this in many different ways. For example, I have images where there are lots of hands holding up, Ah person and some of them look like they're pulling her down. Some look like they're pushing her up, and it's the inciting incident because we have to decide what's about to happen. Is she being held up or pulled down another example of this? Within my work, I have an image with a girl who is falling off of a cliff, and you don't know if she's going to fall down, come back up or fly or just hover there. And it's the point of no return. Something is about to happen that you can't take back. So that's where I fall. And then, of course, conflict. Do you create the conflict oven image? For example, Um, if you're a birth photographer, that's that's the conflict, the moment of conflict. It's where all of these emotions have come to a head and we're going to see what's going to happen. Or is it the resolution? You know? Are you photographing the end of something? How does it end? What is the ending that you're telling? You can also translate that into branding. How do you tell the story of who you are and your art altogether? Well, do you tell it from an introductory standpoint from a character driven standpoint, like the back story? Do you move from a place of I've learned something, but I'm on the precipice of a discovery, you know, where do you fall for storytelling? And when you discover that you can write with more specificity and it's very helpful

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!