sketchbook skool teacher's story

Andrea’s Transformation: A Sketchbook Skool Teacher’s Story


Today’s guest blogger is Andrea Joseph, who teaches the Sketchbook Skool workshop Creative Lettering. Andrea first taught a klass in Sketchbook Skool’s Seeing kourse in 2014, back when she was known primarily for her amazing ballpoint pen art.

What was also amazing was that Andrea taught the klass at all–she was very shy about being on camera, and the monkey (her inner critic) nearly got to her. How Andrea got past that, and what’s happened for her since, is another great story of how art can transform your life that she tells here:

In 2014, I saw the promo for the very first Sketchbook Skool course. It looked so cool, but I was quite jealous. I thought, Why aren’t I one of the teachers? Hmmm, I couldn’t be a teacher; they’re all amazing. What was I thinking?

Then I got the call from Danny Gregory [Sketchbook Skool’s co-founder] about teaching a klass in Seeing. I said yes right away–I was SO flattered. But I thought nothing would come of it. It wasn’t going to actually happen or anything. I stuck my head in the sand, because I’d never been in front of a camera before. I would run a mile if anyone even tried to take a photo of me. I don’t think I’d taught or even held a workshop by that point. So I buried my head in the sand for a bit. Then Koosje Koene [SBS co-founder] got in touch to make arrangements.

Me, going to Amsterdam to film the klass! I was really nervous about it. Even while there, I’d wake up in the morning and think “What am I doing? I can’t do this!” But I wanted to grab this opportunity. Koosje made the whole experience comfortable for me, and I enjoyed it more than I ever believed I would.

Then I went back home to the UK, and back to pretending it wasn’t happening. While it had been a fab experience, I thought nothing would come of it. Then I got emails about the homework I needed to prepare for the klasses. OMIGOD the klasses! Me, on screen!

I didn’t watch the videos of my klass. I’ve listened to them and made the homework assignments that way, but I’ve never watched them, and I never will. I didn’t want to upset myself, be taken over by self-doubt and the critical mind, and that’s okay. I just accepted that this was happening.

It’s hard to explain, but doing that first course freed me. I found a way of coping with my shyness about the videos, teaching, and about making art, and it’s one of the best lessons I’ve taken from the whole experience: Just get on and do stuff. I’ve taken that attitude forward into all that I do now—I even have hardly any black in my wardrobe these days, and I’ve suddenly gone more colorful! I’m not saying I’ll ever be able to watch myself, but I don’t need to. It won’t stop me from doing things.

I want to share my work with people. I want to get out there and talk to people about my passion for illustration, I want to stand on a street corner drawing, I want to inspire people to draw. Plus, I need to do all these things now that I’m a working illustrator.

So now, I just do it. I teach, I run workshops, I urban sketch, I run drawing events. I even have my own Sketchbook Skool workshop, Creative Lettering, and I’m the only teacher, on camera all the time! I get on with it, because life really is too short to get hung up with all the other crap.

That shift in how I feel is due in large part to my Sketchbook Skool experience. And, of course, the wonderful, overwhelming response from the students has, well, I’m just not sure I know how to put that into words! Thank you all. Thank you for helping me along the way to get here. I truly appreciate it.

Andrea Joseph is a self-taught artist who teaches the Sketchbook Skool workshop Creative Lettering and a klass in Seeing. Andrea lives in England, where she organizes drawing meetups. Read about her in our Fakulty section, visit her blog, see her art on Instagram at @aheavysoul, and peruse her creations on her Etsy shop.

3 mins

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