I just completed my art journal for an online class taught by Kelly Kilmer called "Marvel - Your Precious Life." The class focused on creating collaged art journal pages using paper, pens and images, but no paint. Therefore I referred to it as my "dry" art journal. If you click on the "art journal" label below, you'll be able to see more of the pages I created for the class.
The class ran for 31 days and cost $25. On each day of the course, I received an email which included a "template," a sample art journal page based on the template, a few design ideas and a journaling prompt. The "template" is similar to a scrapbook page or card "sketch." It suggested places for a focal image (or two) and an arrangement of background papers and embellishments. These made it really easy to construct a page. The design ideas were fairly simple (but fun), and the prompt was typically a fairly basic question. In addition, Kelly gave each class participant a collage tutorial PDF discussing how she approaches making a collage page, and instructions for stitching your own journal. During the month, Kelly hosted a few facebook chat sessions where students could talk with each other and ask questions. I didn't participate in these, but they looked like they worked just fine. She also hosted an ephemera swap in which I intended to participate, but I (sadly) missed the deadline.
In addition to the daily emails, Kelly set up a yahoo group where students could ask questions and discuss issues. She posted the daily emails in the files section of the yahoo page for easy access and suggested that participants create photo albums where they could post their pages. This worked fairly well, but it was a little difficult to tell when new pages were posted and when new comments had been left on the pages which I posted. Overall, 27 students set up photo albums, and about a third of these participants remained active throughout the length of the class. Kelly was meticulous about following the discussion and answering any questions that arose. I don't recall her commenting very often on pages posted in the gallery, but I could be wrong.
Overall, I enjoyed the class. It was very low-stress, easy and fun. And I LOVE the journal I created. The class did not contain a lot of challenging techniques. In fact, it really focused on teaching one technique (dry, collaged, layered art journaling) and gave participants lots of opportunity to practice it and adapt it to fit their own style. I feel like the class accomplished this. In fact, I feel like I probably learned everything I was going to learn from the class after about ten days to two weeks. After that, for me, the prompts, templates and design ideas got a little repetitive. I think the class could have been improved by either being shorter or adding some new, challenging techniques in the second half of the month. I'm glad I took the class because it gave my art journaling a much needed kick start. I also think it was a reasonable value (given the templates, tutorials, chats, etc.), but it would have been better for me as a $15 two week class. The class would be especially great for beginners who don't know where to start with collaged art journaling and for those who don't want to mess around with paint. For intermediate to advanced collage artists/art journalers, it's a fun class to take when you want to get back to creating quick, fun pages that don't involve a lot of challenging technique.
Overall, I'd give the class a good, solid B.
Anyone else take the class and have any feedback? And for the rest of you, do you prefer a class that has a lot of difficult challenge for you? Or one where you can relax and enjoy learning a few easy things?