Thursday, August 18, 2011

Folio Academy is finally here!!!

I'm so proud and excited to announce our new creation - Folio Academy - online art lessons for everyone. You can check it out here.

Back in October I was driving home from a long day teaching at UVU here in Utah and I heard a woman being interviewed by Dave Ramsey on the radio. I can't tell you her name or the name of her book because I was talking back skeptically and sarcastically. The woman was saying that EVERYONE has something they do in their spare time or professional life that they could use to earn extra income. I was thinking, "I'm an illustrator and a teacher...what else could I possibly have time for??!!!" It bugged me for about a week when a thought popped into my head - I teach...why not teach to the video camera and then sell the videos on my website???...I love teaching and video editing has been a little hobbie - so I did.

And then I heard the voices - "this is a waste of time"..."who do you think you are anyway?"..."you could be watching Flintstones re-runs." But I silenced the voices and forged ahead. In between a book project and some text book covers I grabbed 10 days where I basically didn't sleep. At the end of that torture session I emerged gleaming with my finished product: "How To Illustrate Children's Books". I was so proud. It was a labor of love indeed. I should probably back up a bit - I was lucky in that I have a programmer living with me - my brother in law - and he assured me that he was up to the task of programming my website so that we could sell streaming videos. He would take care of the tech end and I would take care of making the videos.

Because I had to jump right back into illustrator mode I was only able to spend one day marketing my little video series. I contacted a few illustration bloggers like Angela Matteson - Angelato and children's book blogs like Mark Mitchell's How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator and invited them to do a blog post and give-a-way of my video series. They accepted as did about 4 other bloggers and from there I started selling my videos. Every now and then someone who purchased my videos liked them enough to do a blog post on them like Paula Pertile who used the photoshop concepts I put in my videos to achieve an unbelievable digital version of her colored pencil drawings. I know I'm leaving a lot of wonderful people out but there are too many to mention...but Sue from Moab has been a great supporter!

Fast forward through a few more video series and I started getting asked by fellow artists about how my videos were selling and if I thought it was worth doing. Of course I told them I did but the problem most artists have is the programming side of selling videos from their own site. I put my head together with a few artist friends and together we decided to make a site available to artists of every kind. One of my illustrator friends said, "Can you imagine what it would have been like to have a resource like this when we were going to school?"

Artist Greg Newbold setting up for his video shoot

So our goal is to find the best artists from around the world and see what they have to teach. We've partnered with several local video studios like Amber Media Pro and Provo Creative and are inviting artists to come into the studio for a day and do their thang in front of the cameras. Of course not every artist can get to us so we'll also offer their videos if they can produce them themselves. We're of course small now but we plan to release one new video series per week. Over time there's no telling where this will go.

So, woman on the radio talking about monetizing your hobbie whoever you are - thank you! - and my apologies for doubting you.


  1. What an excellent idea Will! This is going to be great! I can see this turning into to something truly big and wonderful. Too many superlatives? Yeah, well, I can't help it, it's exciting... ;)

  2. How exciting!! I will for sure check it out. It will be great to have the online access for this kind of classes. Thank you!

  3. Great, thanks for having that type of initiative. We all benefit from that. I was wondering if in your "How to use color" video do we get to see how you paint an illustration? or is it just about picking colors?

  4. Hi Marielle,

    Thank you! We're having a blast with this project and already have a lot of interest!

    I don't paint in that video series but I talk a lot about choosing colors, warm & cool colors, relativity in color, how to get rich color, muddy color etc. I use photoshop to sample lots of colors from photos and talk about why they look the way they do.

  5. Thanks Will, I'm still deciding between that video or the Digital Painting in PS. Both look so great!! ;-)

  6. What a great idea! I will definitely tweet about this and spread the word!

  7. I love your photoshop video (and though I'd been illustrating for a number of years, I found your How To Illustrate Children's Books informative and on spot) I'm using it now to complete a couple of my near-miss picture books for self publication (through Smashwords). I'm sharing this with my critique group, a wonderful bunch of author/illustrators ( in case one of them would like to partake. I don't see anyone wanting calligraphy/hand lettering or pysanki, my workshops used to be filled, but now the interest has dwindled, and Maine is a bit of a jaunt. But I wish you the best of luck, and am happy about your generosity!

  8. Will this is totally awesome. You are soon going to be so busy you won't be able to teach in person at the college. Their loss...The world's gain. I love it that you're not afraid to take the ideas you get and turn them into concrete.


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