A Mainstream Audience for Artprof.org?

Sometimes when I doubt myself, one activity that is guaranteed to always lift me up is reading the scores of testimonials from people who use Artprof.org. When I was researching early on to see what kinds of art education sites were available, one aspect that I definitely took note of was the types of comments and reactions that people had to various types of content.  There are tons of YouTube channels with art instruction, and I noted that many of the YouTube comments generally were either one word exclamations, “Cool!” or sentences that had three words or less: “So cool!”

Which is why when I read the reactions from our users, I know that we are definitely doing something noticeably different. In fact, the reactions from my Taiwan brush pen video are even more unique in that so many come from people who are not artists.  Our other video lessons tend to be aimed more towards people who want really specific instruction and intend to take that instruction and act upon it in their own work.

That’s why I think this Taiwan video (watch it below) is a major milestone for us. The content is immensely more diverse both in terms of the visuals and the content, making the video much more like a personal narrative and has the potential to become mainstream.  Our other video lessons are still just as important to me, but they’re definitely much more niche and targeted towards a specific demographic of people.

Here are some of the reactions we’ve gotten from the Taiwan video:

“Even though I’m not an artist, I really enjoy your videos. The narrative is so interesting and informative! Great work and I can’t wait to see the next one!”

“Clara’s view of the world with an artist view is so much more detailed than my non-artistic view!”

“It is very engaging video. I felt like taking up sketching just from watching!”

“Lovely well produced video. I wanna get a brush pen!”

“Now I’m hungry for dumplings after watching the video.”


Happy Birthday Artprof.org!

We celebrated the one year anniversary of Artprof.org last week!  Hard to believe that it’s only been one year; Art Prof started as a one paragraph blog post way back in 2014 so I have to remind myself that technically speaking, the site really hasn’t been around for that long!

There are so many aspects to running the site on a daily basis that most days I feel like it’s a continuous game of whack-a-mole that I’m playing. However, we are moving into our second year armed with three partnerships that are really exciting:  Fredrix canvas, Tombow, and our digital partner, Cantina. So much of starting a project like this from scratch is trying to convince people that what you’re doing is worthwhile and that they should join your journey.

As the site grows every day, I’m proud that our content keeps evolving for the better. The first course posted on the site was a Drawing with Crayons course, and while I still think that course has it’s own merits, it’s a far cry from the Brush Pens in Taiwan course and the two person courses we’ve been producing like this Balsa Wood carving course below.

It can be really challenging to be constantly experimenting with different formats for the courses, as there’s a lack of stability that accompanies that approach, but it’s also incredibly exciting at the same time. Every time we make plans to shoot a new course, such as the upcoming Digital Illustration and Oil vs. Acrylic course, and we start talking through the logistics, I feel exhilarated by the possibilities and the opportunity to explore ways to present the content.

Art Prof has been so exhilarating to work on that I wake up everyday with a powerful drive to tackle what at times feels like 5 billion tasks that need to be done, but I thrive and flourish with that drive. I’ll admit that my fine arts career has really been neglected for some time now for that reason; I mean, I haven’t lifted a finger really to get into exhibitions and push my career forward the way I used to.

Ironically, that’s when major career landmarks started happening.  I was invited to show in a 4 person exhibition, “March Four Women,” at Boston City Hall which goes up this week and to my tremendous surprise, I was awarded an artist fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. I’ve applied to this artist fellowship every year I’ve been eligible (the categories alternate years) since 1998, so I was in complete disbelief when I got the phone call.

I used to obsess over every detail of my fine arts career, probably to a degree that verged on unhealthy, and it’s such a relief to have a project I am so excited about that those emotions have completely disappeared from my head. When I do make some work on occasionally, it’s almost always influenced by what we’re working on at Art Prof.  I haven’t picked up a paint brush to oil paint in over 12 years, and yet shooting the Oil vs. Acrylic course made me want to paint again.  (I seriously thought painting and I were OVER.) I got out an old canvas that has done nothing but sit in my garage for many years, and starting painting over it.

In a field that can be so unstable, unpredictable and nervewracking, I think I’ve finally found the balance and positive energy I’ve been searching for, for as long as I can remember. Looking forward to what the next year has in store for Art Prof!

Brush Pens in Taiwan


I’m thrilled to release my Tombow brush pen course on sketching in Taiwan!  I’ve been working on Artprof.org since 2014, and to say that our videos have evolved would be a severe understatement. Out of all the videos we’ve produced, this is one is hands down my personal favorite.  This course has all of my favorite things in the world:  drawing, food, culture, and travel!

Shooting the tutorial was the most chaotic, bare bones production I’ve ever done.  I traveled with my husband, 2 kids, and my parents throughout Taiwan and trying to find moments to draw, much less set up a camera to shoot was not easy!  Despite the almost complete lack of a production crew on this trip, (it was either it was me with a tripod by myself, or my husband doing a few minutes of hand held when we could squeeze it in) it was the most fun I’ve had in my life!



Drawing, Traveling, Shooting, Editing


I’m a workaholic, and although working is incredibly satisfying to me, I’ll also admit that it makes me a little crazy at times.  Which is why this trip to Taiwan is exactly what I needed in terms of stepping away from my life and trying to reset.  In terms of Art Prof, this past year has definitely been the most stressful of the entire project; the site launch alone I think took 10 years off my life, and then figuring out how to keep moving forward and keeping the project alive from there was an immense challenge.

I hadn’t even thought about creating any Art Prof content while on this trip until Tom (my Art Prof partner) mentioned that the trip would be an amazing opportunity to film a tutorial here. I had been experimenting with Tombow brush pens for some time and had been thinking at the back of my head that I wanted to eventually do a tutorial on their brush pens.


That’s why this trip has become the best of both worlds:  satisfying my compulsive need to work, but under the best, most exciting circumstances possible. I’ve been able to shoot a lot of Broll footage on my own, and my husband Alex has been filling in the gaps an setting up shots of me drawing. In the evenings, I’ve been editing the footage, photographing my drawings, and trying to come up with a narrative for the tutorial.

At first the footage I shot felt totally all over the place and I couldn’t quite figure out how I wanted to format and present the content.  While I wanted to highlight my personal experience, I didn’t want it to turn entirely into a personal video about me. After a few days of editing, I think I’ve finally figured out a balance between a tutorial and personal stories.  It’s definitely a unique tutorial, I’m weaving in stories of my experiences here with technical advice on the brush pens, while also speaking about what frame of mind to be in when you’re traveling and drawing.

Initially I didn’t bother doing any editing, but once I started editing, it really helped me recognize where I was missing footage and what content I hadn’t talked about yet. Perfect because I won’t be able to come back and re-shoot any missing footage!


Editing on the go has also been important because all of the tiny details of the trip are really present and fresh in my head.  Although I am taking detailed notes in my sketchbook about what’s been happening, it’s great to be able to tell a story the same day that it happened so that the details are a lot more vivid.

Artist Conversations

When I remind myself that I started thinking about Art Prof back in 2014, it seems incredible to think that we’ve been working on Art Prof for 3 years.  Not only has the time passed very quickly, but the project continues to change and evolve so much that I constantly feel like we are just getting started.

The most significant change in our tutorials is we have shifted away from one person tutorials to tutorials that feature two people.  I got the idea from Jacques Pepin’s series Cooking with Claudine, where his daughter Claudine was on the set as a student learning and asking questions during the show. We were amazed that these two people tutorials were a billion times easier to shoot, as all of the pressure of being the only person speaking on the set was taken away.  On top of that, these tutorials also seem much more informative because someone is there to ask questions.

It’s also fun because even though I’m the Art Prof, I get to be on both student and teacher in these two person tutorials.  Not only do I get to learn so many new techniques, but I like that this emphasizes that even when you work professionally, learning is still ongoing!

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. Artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

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Art Prof on NPR!


I’m a major NPR junkie.  I listen to Morning Edition with Bob Oakes every morning in the car, to the point where I know all of his word pronunciations to the smallest detail.

So you can imagine it was a very, very big deal for Art Prof to be featured on WBUR’s Morning Edition last week!

We loved that the reporter stated in the segment that Art Prof is still in a “punk rock” phase, because that really does sum up where we are.  Despite the fact that we have video content that is polished, curated, and professional, anyone who visits our shooting space can figure out quickly how DIY our production is.

Yes, I wish we had enough funding to have a real production studio, full-time staff, and much more.  Tom and I joke about having our outfits already picked up for when we appear on the Today Show some day, but both of us have been in complete agreement for a long time that we are GOING TO THE MOON with Art Prof.

Looks like NPR brought us just a few steps closer.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. Artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email

The Future of Artprof.org

Since launching Artprof.org, it’s been thrilling for me to watch our creative community grow. When I’m having a crummy day, I re-read viewer testimonials, which always gives me a lift. Here’s one that made me laugh out loud: “I’ve replaced Netflix with Art Prof Instagram Live videos.”  Now that’s a compliment!

In our staff group, we have many lists.  One list stands out: my queue of 34 videos that have been sitting on my server for weeks, some even for months. Why?  We don’t have the funding to hire a sound designer to do the sound mixes. (that’s not even counting the hundreds of hours of footage that have been shot, but not edited!)

With the exception of 2 interns this summer, I have done all of the editing since we started.  Not because I knew anything about editing, but because if I didn’t do it, no one else would. (only took me a year to learn Premiere!)

After being on sabbatical, I’m returning to teach at RISD in September. With my teaching schedule, I know that I won’t be able to keep my prior production schedule. The only solution is to hire editors and sound designers.

If everyone on this email list donated $5 a month, we could easily pay our TAs, editors, sound designers, a web developer, and cover critical expenses. Beyond that, we can show you what we are REALLY capable of!!!

One fundamental premise of our mission was for Artprof.org to be 100% free. I really, really don’t want to have to set up a paywall, but we’re at a point where we may have to. I literally have 20 years of content stuck in my head that I want to share with you! I care deeply about this artistic family and I want so much for us to keep thriving.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. Artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email