CREATED: 04.03.2024UPDATED: 09.03.2024

How to Teach Art Online With BlurBay

How to Teach Art Online With BlurBay

Teaching art classes online can be difficult, especially when it comes to monetization, which is why you need these eleven helpful tips.

Teaching art classes online offers several advantages over teaching in person in a one-to-one or classroom setting.

Convenience for your students is one – they don’t have to travel to attend classes. But as the online art tutor, you also benefit massively from the ability to open your classes up to a huge potential audience. Imagine going international with your classes, rather than teaching locally, and you get an idea of how big that audience can be.

Your only challenge is simple – working out how to effectively teach art classes in the online format. These eleven tips will have you creating mini-Picassos in no time by showing you how to teach art online with BlurBay.

Tip 1 – Find an Appropriate Lesson Delivery Format

You have two main options when teaching art classes online – interactive sessions or pre-recorded lessons. Both can be effective, but you’ll need to use different platforms and come up with separate ways to monetize each approach.

Starting with the interactive style of lessons, this is the one that most clearly mimics the in-classroom format. You’ll interact with your student (or class) directly using live video so you can both teach and answer questions as they arise. It’s an effective way to teach – studies show that students learn more when they can actively take part in lessons – but it’s a method that limits you solely to students who can attend your classes.

Still, if this is your preferred direction, platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Facetime work well. They require little effort to set up, on both the teacher’s and student’s side, and are usable with the camera and microphone you have installed in your device.

Find an Appropriate Lesson Delivery Format

Then, there’s the pre-recorded approach. While you lose some beneficial interactivity, you make up for that loss with the ability to share your lesson with a larger audience. Furthermore, you can do more than sit in front of a camera and talk. For instance, an art historian could easily incorporate the pieces and artists about whom they speak using transitional effects to make it easier for students to visualize the subject of the lesson.

For this lesson style, you simply need a platform that allows you to upload videos. Building your own website is an option – you get full control but have to deal with the maintenance issues and upfront costs of website ownership. Uploading videos to YouTube or Facebook is another option. Both are third-party platforms, though both are also difficult to monetize (you may need 10,000 views before you earn $100 from a YouTube video, for instance).

Thankfully, there’s a third option that offers a middle-ground – BlurBay. This online platform allows you to upload pay-per-view videos, meaning students pay directly for the lessons they wish to engage with. That overcomes the monetization issues social media platforms have while giving you a way to build masterclasses and courses using online videos, as you might with a website.

Whichever platform you choose, remember that its advantages and limitations impact the format of the art lessons you create.

Tip 2 – Provide Lesson Content in Advance

Lesson plans help students to prepare for what’s ahead.

That’s especially the case with art lessons. Using the art history example from earlier, reference materials and resources – such as links to the pieces you’ll discuss – can be useful for students who want to study before the actual lesson. For more traditional art lessons, your lesson plans could include guidance on what materials the student will need (pencils, paints, canvas, etc.) in addition to information about the style the lesson will cover.

The idea here is to ensure your students are prepared for the lesson. Without the plan, students have no idea what’s in store for them, which can lead to situations where they underprepare and can’t participate fully or overprepare to the point where they resent you for not telling them what they need and what they don’t.

Sending lesson plans via email works for interactive lessons. For pre-recorded art lessons, especially those encompassing several videos, draw up a schedule that highlights what each video covers, in which order to watch them, and what the student will need to participate. Alternatively, you can make these supplemental materials part of your business plan. With BlurBay, you can upload and sell documentation of all kinds, including text, image, and audio files.

Tip 3 – Have the Right Equipment

Have the Right Equipment

Your equipment can make or break your online art lessons – having an inadequate setup makes it harder for students to learn and could obscure the pieces you use to demonstrate your points.

Thankfully, there are only three things you need to deliver a good online art lesson:

  • A Decent Camera – You don’t have to break the bank when getting a camera – even modern phones can shoot in high definition – but you do need a camera that’s flexible enough to allow you to change angles as needed. A good web camera does the job and becomes more portable if you have a tripod to go along with it.
  • A Microphone – Again, you can likely get away with using the microphone in your laptop or mobile device when recording, assuming you won’t be moving around a lot. Test the mic you have before starting a lesson. A quick recorded practice run should show you if it’s of adequate quality for lesson delivery.
  • Lighting – Of the three pieces of equipment, lighting may be the least important, especially if your lessons focus more on talking and theory than they do on practical demonstration. But if you’re going to do practical work – such as drawing or painting to showcase specific techniques – you need a lighting setup that doesn’t obscure what you need to show.

One final note:

Having the right equipment isn’t the same as ensuring it works before your lesson. As mentioned in the “microphone” section, recording short practice runs to test everything out before you go live or start recording is recommended. So, too, is making sure your device firmware and any software you use is updated to the most recent versions. Allowing software to go out of date opens you up to bug and driver issues that could interrupt your lessons.

Tip 4 – Be Prepared for the Dreaded “Technical Difficulties”

Backups, backups, backups.

We’re repeating that word because it’s the solution to the technical difficulties you may encounter when recording your videos. And trust us – technical difficulties are part and parcel of becoming an online art tutor.

Take the equipment we just mentioned as an example. Cameras can malfunction. Microphones will sometimes go on the fritz. Even your lighting rig could fall victim to the little technical gremlins that can stop a video recording in its tracks.

None of that is ideal when you’re trying to teach art online with BlurBay because the entire model is based on your ability to record strong videos.

So, you need backups.

The good news is that you don’t have to invest heavily in getting those backups online.

For the camera and microphone issues you may encounter, a cheap webcam and your laptop could serve as a backup. Yes, the video won’t be of the same quality as normal, but your students will understand as long as you explain the issue at the top of your video. We also find that focusing on technical aspects – such as lecturing around specific artistic principles – is better when using backup equipment. After all, you need the high-def look if you’re going to be showcasing art, so don’t waste a lesson using equipment that doesn’t display imagery as strongly as needed.

As for the lighting issue, that’s a little tougher to fix. Just remember that you’re not the key focus of your art lessons – the piece itself is. As long as that’s well lit – allowing you to annotate and describe clearly – your students won’t worry about shoddy lighting.

Tip 5 – Block Out Time for Teaching/Recording

One of the best things about delivering art classes online is the flexibility available to you. It’s possible to combine pre-recorded classes with live sessions and Q&As, all of which can be combined into masterclass or course setups.

However, creating so much content takes time.

If you’re focusing solely on interactive sessions, scheduling is fairly simple. Block out time for the lessons to take place and ensure all of your students know when to be online. Your only worries here are ensuring you reserve the time to hold the lesson and scheduling the lessons for times that are convenient for your students.

Going down the pre-recorded route means you don’t have to worry about your students’ schedules – they can access the videos whenever they want – but you do have to think about your own. You’ll need time for preparing the lesson, shooting the video, and post-production, all of which you must schedule.

Then, there’s the option of allowing students to book sessions with you at their convenience, as you may do when offering one-to-one sessions at your students’ behest rather than your own. Appointment scheduling software is essential for this format. An app like Calendly allows you to book lessons while ensuring that pre-booked sessions aren’t available to other students, making keeping track of who you’re teaching and when much simpler.

Tip 6 – Find a Niche

Find a Niche

There are dozens of different types of art you could teach. Sculpture. Watercolor. Oil painting. Penciling. Shading. The list goes on and on and each potential student will likely know which specific niche they want to focus on before they invest money in lessons.

You need to know, too.

Specifically, you need to know which areas of art could be considered your specialties versus those with which you’d struggle. Your specialties are your niches and you can use them to advertise specific types of classes that won’t appeal to all art students but will attract those who know what they want to achieve through their educational experiences.

There are two reasons for picking a niche and sticking with it:

  • Your credibility is enhanced as it’s clear you know the subject, meaning students feel more comfortable with paying to learn from you and, ideally, recommending you to others.
  • You’ll feel more comfortable delivering your lessons because you won’t feel like you’re only one step ahead of your students when you’re teaching.

Tip 7 – Market Your Classes Online

Digital marketing is the way to go when promoting online art classes for a simple reason – your intended students are already online.

Make social media your first port of call. While Facebook and Instagram may not be useful platforms for delivering your lessons, they’re both visual enough to allow you to demonstrate your work to showcase what’s possible for your students with your guidance. The same goes for YouTube. It’s great as a tool for delivering quick tips and similar content, which creates trust in you as a teacher, even if monetizing full lessons is difficult on the platform.

Once you have students, you can take your online marketing game further. For example, encourage your students to share their completed pieces – complete with a hashtag related to your class – to get more eyes on your “product.” That “product” being the end result of the student’s work with you.

Again, it’s about credibility. What your students produce can be all of the social proof you need to demonstrate that your online art classes help people improve their skills.

Tip 8 – Take Other Artists’ Classes

With the other tips on this list, you have everything you need to set up your own online art classes.

But you could always use extra help when it comes to structuring your lessons and achieving an appropriate on-camera presence. That’s where watching (or participating) in other artists’ classes helps – you can pick up on what they’re doing right and wrong so you know how to create better videos.

You don’t necessarily need to focus on artists within your niche for this. Almost any class will do when it comes to the basics of structuring lessons, handling camera angles, and presenting yourself online. The idea here is to put yourself in the student’s shoes so you can see lessons from their perspectives, which informs how you’ll handle your own.

If you’d like to take things a step further, you could also talk to art students about the classes they’ve already taken with others. Think of this as market research, with a small sprinkling of competitor research added into the mix. The feedback you get will help you to develop a lesson syllabus – or even an entire course – that you can bring to life on BlurBay.

As for the questions to ask, how long the class was and how it was promoted to the student are key. The answers to those will give you an idea of the appetite a student has for watching videos of a certain length and what platforms they – and other students – frequent that could become your marketing vehicles. If you’re particularly comfortable with the student, you can also ask about pricing and attendance levels.

Tip 9 – Set Up Some Offers

You’ve started uploading some videos on BlurBay and you’re getting a decent amount of traction. People are buying. You’ve even started creating small collections of videos that you can sell as courses to go along with the individual purchases that are fueling your business.

Congratulations – you have successfully become an art teacher online.

How about we ramp things up a little?

While your marketing is growing to draw prospective Picassos to your videos, it’s the offers you make on those videos that will push those who are a little hesitant to buy off the fence and into your virtual classroom.

In other words – use discounts and promo offers to snag students who are on the cusp of buying.

BlurBay offers several facilities for doing so:

  • Seasonal Discounts – Launch flash sales and apply special discounts to your videos for holiday seasons, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. With the former, you can even market your classes around them being the perfect gift for people who have an interest in art.
  • Promo Codes – Create promo codes – which work like coupons – that entitle people to discounts for your art classes. This is an effective way to draw new people in. But your promos can also keep existing students on board (they’re a reward for loyalty) and could even be a bartering tool if you’re trying to get influencers to talk about your lessons.
  • Periodic Sales – Don’t want to tie your sales to the seasons? No worries! You can also control when your video content goes on sale. Once you’re more advanced, you can even set unlock dates for your videos, with sales applying to anybody who buys before the new lesson officially comes online. Create some FOMO and get those early signups!

One of the best things about BlurBay is that you also get buyer analytics that provide valuable insights into how people are interacting with the art lessons you share. Is an offer or promo working? You’ll get the answers with stats that show you how many people check out the video and – crucially – how many commit to buying it.

Tip 10 – Revisit Old Videos to Update Them When Necessary

Let’s say you get a couple of years down the line in your journey to teach art online with BlurBay. Over that time, you’ve learned so much about the process of creating videos, as well as about what your audience actually wants from your lessons.

Now quick – give one of those early art lessons a play.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll find yourself picking the video apart, saying “I’d do that differently. And that. And especially that!” as you watch.

So…why not do things differently the second time around?

In other words, refreshing your old videos with new content and improved production values can revive lessons that are essentially dead by opening them up to a new audience. You can even build your revisit into the marketing by talking about how the video is “remade and remastered” with all new content.

That’ll attract new people to the lesson.

But here’s the crucial part – be wary of charging people who bought the original for the redone version. You could just make your audience angry about having to pay for the “same thing” twice. Our advice is to offer your remastered video for free to people who bought it way back when, while also making it the standard version of the lesson for new students.

Tip 11 – Provide Clarity From the Off

Though online lessons feel like they became something of a standard in the pandemic era, the reality is that many of your prospective students may have never worked with an online art tutor before. Even in colleges, only 12.5% of students take online lessons exclusively, with a further 13.3% taking them as part of a hybrid learning model.

That leaves nearly three-quarters (74.2%) of students who’ve yet to take an online class.

And that’s in an environment in which people are likely to run into online lessons. For the average person – especially those who may be a little older – learning online may feel like a completely alien concept.

That’s a barrier you need to overcome if you’re going to convince people to pay for your BlurBay art classes.

The key here is to offer your prospective students a guiding hand as they journey into what may be the unknown. A great way to do this is to create an introductory video – available to all for free – that sees you going over the types of subjects you’ll cover and the techniques you use to teach. Not only those that video take away some of the uncertainty students may have about learning online, but it also lets them get a feel for you as a teacher.

It’s also worth pointing out the benefits of learning online in this intro video.

For instance, you can point out how the student will be in control of the lesson pace, meaning they can pause, rewind, or do whatever they need to make the lesson work around their schedule. Plus, point out the obvious benefits, such as the lack of travel and the convenience of being able to learn from home. You’re combining a sales pitch with legitimately valuable information to lift the fog of uncertainty and convince students to pick up their brushes (or pencils) and learn from you.

Start to Teach Art Online With BlurBay Today

Start to Teach Art Online With BlurBay Today

The right equipment, a strong platform, and an understanding of how to market yourself are the three key ingredients you need to become an art teacher online.

Start with choosing a platform. If you’re conducting one-to-one or interactive lessons, Skype and similar tools should do the job. As for pre-recording, a platform like BlurBay, which offers a pay-per-view format that’s ideal for monetization, works better. After that, it’s simply a case of securing the right equipment (you need a good camera, microphone, and lighting) and you’re well on your way to creating the first of what will hopefully be many online art classes.

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