colored pencil art classI did a little 6-week colored pencil art class experiment

If you are in the Rock Your Retirement Facebook group, you probably already know what it is.

Basically, I have been working with colored pencils. In other words, I've been trying to bring my artistic tendencies back.

I created three colored pencil drawings of three different Kingfisher birds. And to do that, I basically took two on-line classes. The two classes were completely different.

The first one was a video where you got to watch the instructor create the drawing. She told you what pencils she used, and you got to draw along with her. This was over five hours of video.

The second class wasn’t like that at all. The instructor was a retired high school art teacher. He also gave you the pencils that he used, but really what he did was an outline. There were videos, but they only totaled about an hour, and they were edited.

For my third bird, I didn’t take a class. I found a picture of a local Kingfisher bird and used the knowledge I had gained from the first two drawings to create the third one all on my own. It came out a lot better than I thought it would because I felt kind of lost while I was doing it. But it came out good.

So, I thought to myself, there must be people who are looking for something to do during this COVID stay at home order. A lot of us feel lost and lonely. We aren’t used to staying at home and not talking with other people outside our home. Plus, I figured that so many people are putting together puzzles and other things, that colored pencils might be the next thing. After all, the adult coloring book thing is still a thing and people might want to learn what else they can do with their pencils.

So, I decided to create a class. If you are one of my clients, you already know that I have several Medicare Class videos out there. But this wasn’t about Medicare.

It was about something that I had barely learned. So, I was very nervous about it. I reached out to the Art Club where I live and asked if they would like me to create a free online class using Zoom. I sent them the pictures of the three Kingfishers I had created, and the art club agreed.

Why did I make it a free colored pencil art class? Most of the art club classes cost anywhere from $60 to $150 here. There were several reasons.

The first reason is that honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to put an art class together and I didn’t know how I was going to show the students what to do using Zoom. But I just kind of figured it out as I went along. I didn’t have a class outline. I knew what I was going to do for the first two classes, but after that, I wasn’t really sure. But now that the art club agreed, we picked a date for the class to start on the following Wednesday. I wanted it to be an hour-long, for six weeks, so that’s what we did.

The second reason I didn’t want to charge for the class is that I’m no expert when it comes to colored pencil paintings. I call them paintings instead of drawings because that is what they wind up looking like when everything is done.

And the third reason I didn’t want to charge is that I knew more people would sign up for a free class. That way I’d get the social interaction I was looking for.

Plus, I wasn’t looking to make money from this class. I wanted to find other people to fall in love with colored pencils.

Because if you are already an artist, you’ll find that the medium is completely different from anything else you’ve done. It takes a lot of patience. The paintings take a lot longer to create. But you can make them look very realistic if you are patient.

Maybe you went to one of those wine events where you paint a picture, and everyone is painting the same one. Color pencils are totally different from painting or drawing with a regular pencil.

A lot of people will buy colored pencils for their grandkids, and then they'll decide to pick them up and try to start using them, and they'll get really frustrated because they don't do what you want them to do. Part of that is because it's totally different.

So, my goal was to work with people who had never created a picture themselves, or maybe were coloring in adult coloring books, or maybe that were artists with a different medium. My goal wasn't to work with people who already knew how to use the medium.

There are a lot of people out there who are intimidated by art. Colored pencils are easy to use if you know how to use them. I wanted to share the limited knowledge that I had with non-artists, so they could find joy in becoming an artist.

Now that I had made the commitment, I had to start preparing. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do, so I prepared some slides for the first class. I wanted to do a demo at the end but wasn’t sure how to do it. I didn’t want to spend any money buying a camera for this purpose and figured that there MUST be a way to do it with my cell phone. So, I spent a couple of hours searching YouTube for ways that this can be done, and I found a way.

Basically, I had to sign in to Zoom twice. Once as the instructor, and once as a student. The student would be my phone and would do the demo. I was really nervous about the technology, but in my pre-class emails, I let everyone know that this was an experiment and they needed to be patient with the tech. On the first day of class, I actually had 31 people who signed up for this free class and wow, that was a lot of people! I learned a lot about teaching the class.

Number one, if I do this again, I certainly don't want that many people. In the end, I had 15 people, and that was a nice size. I learned a lot and the class learned a lot! The last day we took a screenshot of everyone who was in the final class, and all their drawings looked fantastic! These were mostly non-artists.

I purchased this contraption that holds my cell phone, I signed into the Zoom class as a student and showed everyone how to do the drawings. But it didn’t really work very well, and it was difficult. For the people who couldn’t attend the live class, and wanted to watch the Zoom recordings, it was impossible. The recordings would jump around to whoever forgot to mute themselves.

I got a brilliant idea around the third class to just record it ahead of class. So that is what I did. I recorded myself doing the drawings and talking. So, the demos were recorded and then the class sessions basically turned into a Q&A.

On the day of the class, I would send the videos for that class and then I would sit in the Zoom Room and answer questions as they came up. Then it evolved into sending the videos out ahead of time.

The reason why I am telling you this is I want you to think about something that you can do or teach in your own community. You don’t actually have to have everything set up in advance. You can make changes as you go along as I did. Even if you don't think you're an expert, you can share your knowledge. Just like I did! I am not an expert at colored pencil drawings, but I shared what I knew, and now there are about 10 people out there who want to continue with it! Sure, some people didn’t want to continue, but now they know that it’s not for them. For the people who did continue, now there are some more artists out there because I was there to help them.

I got so much out of that, I had so much fun, and I learned so much. Teaching what you know is really something that can help you rock your own retirement. You can do it for free as I did, or you can do it for money. It’s your choice! The two classes I took were not free and I gladly paid for them.

I know that there are a lot of gurus out there that are saying, you know, make money by teaching classes and, yeah, sure, you could do that, if that's what you want to do. And there's probably a ton of things that you know a little bit about where you could share your knowledge and you don’t have to be an extrovert. People think that I'm an extrovert when they meet me because I can engage in conversation with people. However, after about two hours I am drained and I really need to leave and to go home. I am the type of person that I can go to a party for two maybe three hours max. Even if it is just visiting with family, I really need to decompress afterward.

The point is that if you are an introvert, that doesn’t mean that you can’t share your knowledge with others. You don’t have to have a huge class of 31 people. You could have a class of 3 people if that is easier for you.

Teaching a class might help you rock your own retirement! You can pretty much do whatever you want, you can change it midstream. It doesn't have to be fancy, and you can learn from it too. Whether that means something that you did for work, or something you do for pleasure, or something you do or did as a side gig.

Let me give you an example. Let's say that you are someone who has been investing in real estate, and you have three or four houses, and that's how you were able to retire. Or you have 10 houses, or whatever. So, you have a lot of knowledge in this area. Well, you could do the same thing that that I'm doing.

You could put your knowledge out there and record yourself. Talking about exactly what to do and how you did it. Like how you found your first property if you remember that far back. Or what are the processes that you use when you're managing your own property, or how did you figure it out. How did you find the handyman that you're using? What do you do when somebody calls you at 2 am? You know, you could just talk all these things through.

Put them in a private YouTube video or several YouTube videos and then just ask your friends if they would go through the videos, one at a time. You can also do zoom recordings where it just records you as the speaker. You could get two or three friends together or just people who were interested in whatever it is that you're able to do, and just walk them through it in a Zoom room and record it. The zoom will record your videos to your own computer, or if you have the paid version of zoom, it will record it to the cloud. Then you can pull those videos off later.

All I am saying is that I got so much benefit from sharing my knowledge for free. It is kind of like your ongoing legacy to share what you know.

I was actually talking with a friend who is thinking of retiring and before she retires, she was going to take all of her information and workshops on what she does for a living, and she was going to hand over all of this information to another one of her competitors basically. She's not 100% ready to retire yet and I said to her, “Hey, why don't you put together a class? Why don't you take all of these power points and information you have and just turn them into a class?”

Because she works with nonprofit organizations, churches actually, and you know not everybody can afford her, not all churches can afford her prices because she is a consultant. I said, why don't you put these all these things that you know how to do in a class. Then for people who can't afford your fee, sell it to them for $197?

So think about some of the things that you can do either for free or for money and put them in a class and share your knowledge. You can build your legacy that way. Just think about it.

If you are a beginner, interested in colored pencils, I will let you into my class. Just go to http://RockYourRetirement.com/Art  to sign up. Use the coupon code JULY2020 and the class will be free. Otherwise, it will be $25.

What I would like you to do though, is to consider putting your knowledge in some sort of electronic format. So that can be passed down to others.

I wish my dad would have done that with his real estate investing knowledge. Now my dad has Parkinson's disease, he can't share all that knowledge that he had. There is a lot of knowledge out there with books and things like that. But I would have loved to have my dad’s knowledge, and I am sure that there are people out there that would love to have YOUR knowledge.

Do you have something you could share with others? Let us know in the comments below!


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