How This Artist Helps You Find Your Unique Voice

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice by on September 28, 2017 • views: 984

by Carrie Brummer

My first professional post was teacher at the age of 22.

I spent years in the classroom LOVING what I did. But then, something started to niggle in the back of my mind.

I started to wonder, “was this really enough?” “How else could I make an impact on a greater scale?”

Can I Teach and Make Money Online with Art?

I started to feel like teaching wasn’t enough. I wanted to reach all the parents who came in talking about their traumatic art experiences as children just as much as I wanted to work with their teenagers. I realized: I wanted to help shift cultural perception of the arts.

At the same point in time I was exposed to some new people online talking about minimalism and making money online. It was the first time I thought, could I do that for art?!

I Started by Focusing Only on Blogging

I had no idea how to monetize, but I decided to start writing and see if I could reach more than the 100 or so students I had in my classes. I blogged for several years, wondering how to grow my reach, learning everything I could about moving my educational content online.

I did not start with online course content. I focused entirely on blog posts inspired by stories of my students and my own artist journey.

I knew eventually I would build courses like my signature programs Better Drawing Bootcamp and my mastermind The Circle.

I decided to start a lot smaller, and focused only on blogging. Then, progressively I started building 7-10 day free challenges/mini courses that could bring value to people joining the Artist Strong community. The Soulbrush Sessions: 10 Days to Create a Unique Artwork is one of those free mini-courses.

One of Carrie’s pieces of embroidery work.

How We All Show Our Unique Voice in the World

I created two versions of The Soulbrush Sessions. The first was all about embracing a sense of wonder and creative play with daily creativity prompts. But as I grew to understand my community and the people I serve, I realized many of them struggled with finding their own unique voice.

They had inner critics telling them that using a photo reference other people might also use meant they were copying and that they had nothing interesting to say.

I decided to show them that I could give them all a single starting image and after ten days, they would all have uniquely different artworks. That’s what The Soulbrush Sessions: Create a Unique Artwork in 10 Days, is all about.

I’m grateful to say it’s challenged people to think differently about how they use image references, or inspiration from the world around them. It’s opened people’s minds to the many different ways we all show our unique voice in the world, and how it’s natural for us to do that in our art.

My Question is Always: How Can I Help More People?

I have people signing up every week, if not every day, for this free challenge and I love seeing the unique artwork and journey people take by working from my daily prompts.

I really enjoy hosting the challenge 1-2 times a year as a group activity. We all work through it together in our Facebook Group called The Soulbrush Sessions. There is something special about doing it with hundreds of other people around the world!

For better or worse, I’m always looking for ways to improve and refine what I create. My question is always: how can I help more people?  It’s part of why I create content that my community tell me they find so valuable.

One of my larger focuses is building and sustaining a meaningful online community and my free challenges are one way to do that. I feel so touched every time someone posts their art and tells everyone how much fun they had. I guess I’m surprised just how much that means to me!

How You Can Help People Achieve

If you are considering building a community, or creating challenges like I have, know it is easy to overwhelm people. Don’t drown them in content. Create small digestible bites that allow them to achieve. Small steps that build give participants a real feeling of achievement and success.

I hope that after people participate in Artist Strong, they realize their desire to be creative is important and valuable. I hope people begin to see their unique artist voice is something they’ve had inside of them all along.

It only takes making a lot of art, and being willing to listen, to find it.

* * *

Carrie Brummer is an artist and art educator who helps artists refine their skills and develop their unique artist voices within her community Artist Strong. Her own art is influenced by living outside of the U.S. for nearly 10 years in places like Dubai, UAE, Muscat, Oman and now Ottawa, Canada. She enjoys portraiture of women, painting mandalas, and textile work.

Carrie studied Art and Art History at Colgate University and completed a masters in Educational Leadership with The George Washington University. She’s taught art to all ages, from elementary school through to adulthood.

In her early 20s, Carrie was part of a touring exhibition of artists whose work was exhibited at both The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as The Smithsonian. Her work has been exhibited across the U.S. as well as in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and in Muscat, Oman.

For more about Carrie and her work, please see her website, or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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