Now that you have registered for your art class, workshop, or artists retreat there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the most out of the class.
Read carefully through the class description, syllabus, and supply list.
Come prepared with all the supplies from the supply list. If you are traveling to an art retreat, make a checklist to use while packing so you don't forget anything.
Have directions to the facility, location of the class, and name of your instructor with you in case you have any trouble locating the class. If it is an online class, make sure you have the correct software to fully participate in the class. If you have questions, email the instructor prior to the start of the class so they can assist you.
Leave plenty of travel time and arrive a few minutes early to ensure you have time to unpack supplies and get settled in before the class starts.
Remember the basics you learned in grade school: listen carefully, treat classmates with respect, don't monopolize the teacher's time, and always be polite. You never know who is in the class with you. This includes turning off cell phones. If you have dependents that need to be able to reach you during a class, choose the vibrate option. Nothing is more annoying then a call interrupting the instructor or distracting students who are working through a creative process.
Silence phones during an online class too. You want to give the class your full attention.
Ask questions. Chances are if you have a question, so does someone else in the class.
Bring your sketch book and something to sketch with like colored pencils or markers. This will allow you to make quick sketches to go with your notes.
Hands down, the most important thing you can do to make the most out of your class is to take notes. If it is an on-going class, review notes from the previous class before the next class. (We will come back to this notes in a minute).
Do the assignments, including reading and watching any assigned videos.
For art retreats or short classes/workshops, make a friend with another artist in the class. Exchange emails and agree to create an art piece using the technique(s) learned in the class. Give a deadline the work has to be completed and agree to email photos of the completed work. This will keep you both accountable and has the bonus of making new artist friend.
Tips for taking notes:
1. Come prepared with a notebook and/or sketchbook and something to write with. You could use a laptop or tablet if that works better for you. I usually come with a sketchbook and my tablet but find I use my sketch book the most.
2. Try to capture your thoughts, feelings, and ideas along with the information the instructor is covering. You can mine those ideas later in your studio.
3. Jot down any questions you have that you want to ask later or explore on your own. This would be things like I wonder how the Dylusions Ink would mix with Dr. Martin Inks or I wonder how the instructor comes up with ideas.
4. You don't have to get every word down. Writing shorthand is fine. Capture the important ideas covered by the instructor and then go back later and fill the blanks.
5. Re-write and organize your notes after each class. Try to do this as soon as possible so your memory will be fresh. This allows you to process the material and you will be prepared when it is time to review. If it is an ongoing class, this is what you will review to prep for the next class.
6. Create a file or notebook for the class where you can store your reorganized notes, photos, class handouts, supply lists, and contacts.
7. Take it a step further and put the lesson in your art journal, creating a page or pages with the techniques learned in class.
8. Create a project from your notes using the new technique.
9. Take photos documenting your progress with the new technique.
10. Like anything we learn, if we don't use the information, often it gets forgotten. This is also why taking notes is so important. When life prevents you from using the information right away, you can go back at a later date, review your notes and photos, refreshing your memory to what you learned in class.