What is Evolve Artist?
The best answer to that question can be found on their own website: www.evolveartist.com
But, if I can summarize it real quick:
Evolve Artist is an online art training program using the medium of oil paint, that trains students from virtually zero knowledge of art to the point where they are skilled enough to create realistic paintings that they can sell.
They do this by breaking down the steps and teaching students progressively harder skills, using only top quality material, which they actually box and ship to students, included as part of their tuition.
There are four modules in part one of the course, which is the part I signed up for, and those who finish part one have the option to do the advanced part two, which is four more modules.
Evolve is an interactive course with an active student community, teachers who actually grade assignments and hold office hours (in fact, you can’t move on to later steps until you’ve submitted previous assignments), and live classes with the teachers and the CEO/founder himself, Kevin Murphy.
Okay, that about covers it. For the rest, check out the website 😉
How I Found Evolve Artist
Every now and then, I like to watch artists on Youtube, and while I was watching some of them, this Evolve Artist ad by Daniel Folta kept popping up. Usually, I ignore these types of ads, but for some reason this one made me pause. Maybe it was the narrator’s soothing voice, or more likely the before-and-after images that he showed that caught my attention.
Either way, I looked up Evolve Artist and found their website, then Mithrilda’s Youtube channel, then several other artist YT review videos, channels, and podcasts interviewing Kevin, Mitch, Daniel, and other Evolve Artist people. I become minorly obsessive, looking up videos, articles, blogs, podcasts, anything and everything I could get my hands on related to this program. (I also emailed the Evolve Artist help team quite a bit over the weeks between discovering the program and signing up for it).
I still remember staying up late the day I discovered Evolve Artist, just researching the structure of their classes and goggling at how impressively organized it all was. Then the next day I cornered my dad in the hallway (the parents had come to visit) and gushed at length about this genius art program called Evolve Artist that appeared to have the perfect balance of everything–structured curriculum, visionary lead teacher/CEO, materials shipped to your door, office hours and study hours, live classes, everything you could want or need to go from basically zero knowledge to competent, skilled artist.
Still, at first, I never thought I’d actually DO the program. I was just in awe at how well put-together, from a course design perspective, the whole thing was. Yet the more I kept looking up content related to the course, the more I felt this itch inside to TRY the program. One day. Somehow.
But I’m not an artist! I thought to myself. Plus, I have too many things to do, and not enough spare money lying around to do this thing. Where am I going to find the time and mental space? No, it’s fine to just admire the elegance of this course from the outside.
Yeah, obviously that didn’t happen. 😉
Why I Signed Up
Hmm…to be honest, the full reason may be a mystery even to myself. But here are a few bullet-flash reasons:
- I’ve long been interested in art, from scribbling on the walls as a child to being surrounded (for some odd reason) by artist classmates through middle school and high school, half-starving myself so I could save money to buy my first Wacom tablet to play with Photoshop, and begging my mom to let me do a drawing class when I was in middle school (which was eventually eclipsed by the time and energy I had to devote to music, but I never forgot that class)
- I’ve got ideas in my mind that are best expressed in visual form. Designs, diagrams, visual metaphors and the like. Music and writing is great, but art gives you another dimension of expression.
- I’d like to be able to illustrate my own music and stories (novels, maybe picture books, blog posts, etc.) It’s too much work to find the EXACT right picture you want for something, and then you have to figure out the permissions. Sigh. I prefer to make things myself 🙂
So that’s why I’m interested in art, in general. But why Evolve Artist, in particular? Because up until now I hadn’t found or heard of a course that does all of the following:
- Offers a tested, step-by-step structured guaranteed-results curriculum taking people from zero to professional-level abilities, including beginner basics like how to hold a brush
- Sends you all the equipment you need so you don’t have to go hunting down elusive material yourself
- Holds one-on-one tutorials and weekly live classes on a variety of art-related topics
- Has a powerful teaching philosophy as expressed by Kevin Murphy, the founder of Evolve Artist, on various podcasts and YT channels: “If a student is working hard and really trying to learn, but isn’t getting the results, it’s the teacher’s fault for not presenting the material in the correct way,” basically.
- When I heard that, I thought BINGO! This sounds like someone who really has the heart of a teacher. I can trust him, and anything he makes.
- Practical training on how to monetize your art skills (how to price and sell portraits)
A note about cost:
- The Evolve Artist program is pricey, if you’re comparing it to udemy art courses or the like. But you have to remember that this is not a low-level online class.
- With the instructor attention, course structure, and quality materials shipped to you, this is more like a college-level course at an elite school.
- At most private universities, one unit of classes costs around $1,000+ and a full course is usually four units. And that’s just for a one-semester course ($4000+ for three months of instruction!). Evolve is a year+ long course separated in two blocks (the advanced block is optional) and costs $2500 for each block. It’s not cheap, but considering what it produces, it’s reasonable.
- Plus, a tip: Do some research to find sponsors who sometimes have affiliate links in their Youtube video or podcast descriptions. That can knock off anywhere from $100-10% of the cost, depending on if you are one of the first 10 or so people who sign up using their link. That’s what I did. Unfortunately, I’m not an affiliate or sponsor, so I don’t have a link. But maybe one day they will allow students to be affiliate-ambassadors…
- I definitely had to hard adjust my personal finances to afford this, but I believe it will be worth it. Definitely sounds much more valuable and (slightly) less expensive than many of the courses I had to take in college. Follow along, and we shall see!
Where I Am Currently
My prior art experience was very sporadic:
I took a few months of color pencil classes in middle school, drew some on my own with pencils and photoshop (because I was influenced by my peers in high school, some of whom are today professional artists and graphic designers), took a one-day sample architecture class, and that’s about it, besides me doodling here and there on my own in my journal.
Here are some samples of my current artistic ability. As you can see, it’s all over the place. There’s some pencil, some acrylics, some digital art, and some pen drawings:
Art of mine that I like more
Although there are many acrylic technique problems with this piece, I LOVE this penguin and the whimsical feel of the whole thing. Can’t take credit for it though, I actually was doing an art study/copy of another person’s art that I found on deviantart. Alas, I don’t remember who because the last time I checked, the person removed their art. May have even deleted their account.
My first and only really decent digital art piece. The flower things are terrible, added afterwards and they look like bad color pencil, but it’s not. All digital.
The perspective/background is way off, but I liked the two people in the foreground, and the subject matter.
Art that demonstrates my true (beginner/not-great) level
I drew these two dinosaur pictures when I took that one color pencil class.
And then I drew these two on my own for a couple deviantart contests years ago. Ironically I’m not terribly interested in dinosaurs or video games / Final Fantasy, but these were the prompts I was given, so there it is. (Mulan, I do like because of its humor and heart, but not the live action version, which lacks both).
This is a sample pencil sketch of a girl that I did a few years ago.
And another pencil sketch of an imaginary character that is more stylized.
…Dabbling in watercolors….
Done with oil pastels, then background added digitally.
Color pencil figures, cloud, and border, watercolor background.
As you can see, my art up until now has been very eclectic, inconsistent, and multi-media. Obviously I need something like Evolve Artist to hone my art skills, get some structure and regular practice, and improve!
So, now that I’m in the Evolve Artist program, what are my goals? What would I like to accomplish with this?
- The first is a process goal: I want to paint steadily, at least 7-10 hours a week, which will probably look like 2 hours on M-W, and 3-4 hours on Friday/Saturday (Thursdays and Sundays are inconvenient, I don’t really have access to a private painting space)
- The next goal is also a process goal: I’d like to record my progress as I go, writing some quick reflections after each assignment, making a video, that sort of thing.
- A process/long-term goal: If I have the chance, after completing Blocks 1-4, I’d like to go on and complete the entire program, the second half Blocks 5-8 and be able to paint full portraits and paintings.
- In Block 8 I hear we’re going to get to draw from life, really complex paintings. Sounds exciting!
- Now for a long term goal: I want to be able to draw from imagination and find my niche of things I particularly want to draw, and draw well.
- I’m not sure exactly what, yet, but some ideas: little girls, women, dancers, birds, dogs, exotic animals, stuffed animals, historic people I admire (like Lincoln, Desmond Doss, etc)
- Another long term goal: To be able to transfer my art skills (perception ability, hand control, etc) to other mediums, particularly digital.
- And final long term goal: To be able to illustrate my own stories and music, covers and inside-book illustrations. Which means I’ll also need to learn some design and fantasy/non-realism art as well.
- But first things first: Go through Evolve Artist Blocks 1-4 and learn and work as hard as I can on this!
And my final goal?
- To track my progress in as much relevant detail as I can, as I go through the course. Because it’s so easy to forget what you were like when you started and how far you have come, once you get good at something. Hence, this blog and its associated Youtube channel, links below:
Follow My Progress Here
And of course, I’ll keep updating this blog!
Stay tuned… 🙂