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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 5 of 70

What Factors Dictate Growth

Brooke Shaden

Creating a Fine Art Series

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

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.


  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

What Factors Dictate Growth

so think about intention is testing it Z throwing a stone in the pond and seeing what the ripples do and if they take you where you wanna go. So then what dictates growth? What factors dictate growth? And if I think about that, it's There are a lot of answers, and I want to try to provide this roadmap for you, too, to intentionally grow to intentionally follow that curiosity. One thing that obviously dictates growth is technical improvement. But I have a very specific philosophy about this that I feel very passionate about telling you, and it's that were given to many tools. We're so often taught that technical growth is necessary in our careers, and it is. And so we sit down and we'll watch five hours of Photoshop tutorials and someone saying, Okay, here's my studio. This is how you take pictures, and I'm not saying that those air not valuable resource is. But what I'm saying is that it's too much information all at once, and we're not equipped to know how to put those technical aspec...

ts into practice in our own lives. So ah, lot of people lack the clarity of vision to know when those tools are appropriate to use in their own artistic process. And if you lack that clarity of vision to know when to use those tools, then they're just tools and they're not going to help you. And I have met so many people so caught up in mastering technique at the sacrifice of vision and style that you can't tell that their images air there's. And now that is totally okay when you're starting out when you're practicing, when you're trying new things, I am all for new techniques. But what I'm saying is, think about how it relates to you and how you can incorporate that into your vision and your style. Conceptual. So how do you grow in your career and in your heart? Well, you think about conceptual improvement. How can you take a concept and actually make it better and better and better and grow with it? So part of that is that there is a depth of concept that we often don't think about, and I would like to introduce the idea of the cosmic onion to you because I think that this is a very important concept. Okay, I made it up so don't try to like Google cosmic onion or anything. But everyone says that art is like an onion and that there are all these layers, right? Like there's just like, Okay, there's the concept, and there's like how you achieve it and there's the technique, and there's the blah, blah, blah. There's all these pieces that go into making an image and especially a conceptual image. But then that implies that you peel the onion and then you get to the center and that's it. And I like to call it a cosmic onion because there is no end. It just keeps peeling over and over and over, because really depth of concept does not come from a single image or from a Siris of images. It comes from exploring your own depth within. And how much deeper can you get to know yourself and your curiosity and the way that you're going to navigate this world? And it's endless. Every day I wake up and I asked myself, How can I go deeper today? And there is always somewhere deeper to go. I remember sitting with someone once, and I went through this exercise with them of writing down, over and over. Why do you create? Why do you create over and over and eventually they said, This is it. I know why I create now because I like I wrote this thing and it's perfect. It's exactly why I create. And I said. But then every day after that, you have to ask the same question because it will change. The answer will change. And if you think that you have found that that reason why you create and that's it and you're ready to go, you're wrong. There is always something deeper to find. There is always a deeper place that you can get to to explore the endless cosmic onion of your being thing is the weirdest thing I've ever said. Yep, probably Okay. So once we think about conceptual depth and we have to think about clarity of voice and vision, and when we think about clarity of voice and vision, then you think about your art. Your brand being recognizable is yours. Can you put any five images from your portfolio together and recognize them as yours? And I have a slight problem with this way of thinking, because I believe that if your curiosity leads you to different types of art. Do those different types of art. I am not going to say no. You have to pick one thing. But within those portfolios that you create within those interests and those pieces of curiosity, can you create a clarity of vision that says that this is your work? And this is where Siri's comes in Because you may be thinking, No, the answer is no. I can't pick out five random images from my portfolio and say, Yes, these all go together. I could tell that their mind. That's why it's so important to focus on a Siri's. Because if you could make one Siri's cohesive as opposed to your whole portfolio. It's a much more manageable way of thinking, and it's going to help you with getting recognized for a certain style, a certain voice and vision and also getting into galleries, museums, contest grant, stuff like that. We will talk about all of that eventually, I promise, and then impact. This is the one that I think we most often don't focus on. Enough. We, you know, you confined classes Gloria about voice and vision technique concept, but impact is much less spoken about what is impact. It's the connection that your heart has to other people the way that you intend for your art to leave you and go out into the world. That's impact. It's It's the legacy that your art leaves behind. And I am obsessed with legacy. And I am obsessed with this idea that we can hone our story and our narrative. We can put something specific, vulnerable, beautiful into our art that has impact for other people. There's an argument that I get in with people sometimes which I always win, I think. But that's just me, which is that art can be and often should be created for other people as well as for yourself. And I talked to a lot of artists who say No, my artist for me on Lee, But then equally those same artists will say, But I wanna make money or I want people to look at my work on Instagram. Well, then, it's not just for you, it's just not and there is no shame in that. As somebody who has been in the fine art world for over a decade, people have made me feel bad for thinking that I can't create for others. And the perfect example of this is that I went to a portfolio review in 2015 and a really, really big gallery looked at my work and I was so excited. It was like one meeting that I was most eager tohave, and she looked at, like, three of my prints, just dead, silent, just looking at them. And she said, I think you're not a real artist And that was her feedback to me and I asked why and what I could do And she said, Well, your online you're creating for other people That's not what a real artist does And I fundamentally disagree with that statement because what she was saying was, You can't create for art for yourself or for other people. It has to be one or the other. Either you're a commercial photographer or you create work. That's fine art for yourself. But I think that the best art takes the audience into consideration. You say, How can I impact people with my work? How can I create something that resonates internally that I can then flip to the outside and give to other people because art is a gift. The best art in the world makes you feel something and changes your perspective. And I think that the best artists in the world know that they know that their work is going to change the world somehow in some way. And that's why I fully believe that artists should consider their audience To some extent. I'm not saying that should dictate what you create or how you create. But when you're ready to share that thing that you have made, think about how you can do that in a way that will most serve others because you and your art or our gift, and if you don't give it to other people in that spirit, then it won't be received in that spirit.

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!