If you’ve been around the online art world, especially in the realms of mixed-media or art journaling, you’ve probably heard of Life Book 2019 by Willowing Arts. If not, it’s a year-long mixed media art journaling course which has 30+ artists as guest teachers. But is it worth the hype?
This year, I’ve joined the course myself and am here to tell you all about it:
The Teachers and Content
The line up this year is pretty flippin’ incredible. Not only are there oodles of lessons from Tamara Laporte herself, but we are also being joined by Jane Davenport, Tangie Baxter, Cinnamon Cooney, Marielle Stolp, Sarah Trumpp, Effy Wild, and so many more. Tamara actually offers the weekly line-up so you can see ahead of time exactly what classes you’ll be taking before you even sign up.
The lessons themselves aren’t just quick speed paintings, they are full-on lessons taking us step-by-step through an entire spread, with tips and tricks that will help each of us rock the hell out of whatever we’re doing. The first main lesson alone – a ‘guardian’ with Tamara, is three videos long. There are no shortcuts taken in getting us the best material possible here.
This year comes with an epic f*ck ton of extra content. Like, holy shit. Not only is there bonus content built into each month, but we have complete lifetime access to the Creativity and Wellbeing Summit material. Before the course opening, Tamara interviewed 30+ people about their processes, wellbeing, existing as an artist, etc. Each artist also shared a whole activity video with us. And then, if that weren’t enough, most of them also made freebies available to us – face templates, downloadable prints of their work, free classes, etc. You get ALL of this as a bonus to Life Book 2019.
And THEN, (I feel a bit like Oprah here – you get free stuff! You get free stuff!) she also has a Virtual Gift Bag for everyone! It is full of free downloadable art prints of some seriously beautiful work, discounts on other amazing classes, printable collage sheets to use throughout the course, a free coloring page from Jane Davenport, free art classes and tutorials, and a bunch of more cool stuff.
Something I hear a lot about classes like Life Book is ‘I can afford the class, or the supplies, but not both’. This is one of the reasons why I hesitated to join Life Book for so long. This is also one of the reasons why, in my own tutorials and classes, I focus a lot on minimal supplies and found art objects. When you watch artists like Tamara or Jane Davenport create art, it sometimes really can seem like they have full access to a whole art supply store, doesn’t it? And most of us don’t have that kind of studio or money, or sponsors sending us supplies to try. So, is it worth it? Will you go broke trying to make it happen?
The truth: You don’t have to. At all.
I created my last two pieces using pencil, a single micron pen, watercolors, watercolor pencils, and a Uniball signa white gel pen. My watercolors are not anything special and I have an affordable, cheap set of watercolor pencils from Amazon, not a fancy set. I could have done both pieces without the watercolor pencils and either skipped that step altogether or just used regular ol’ colored pencils. My teen is a very stubborn artist who uses maybe three art supplies total. They could easily take this class as well.
10/10 recommend not buying a bunch of supplies for this course and doing the projects with what you have on hand. In my opinion, it makes it even more fun and challenging.
What’s the best part of the course? The Group!
I really didn’t think the course could get any better. Then, I was invited into the Life Book 2019 Facebook Group.
Oh. my. gosh.
There’s thousands of us, ranging from a 12-year-old ‘beginner’ to professional artists. Not only is the discussion great, but there’s an album for each lesson. Seeing how different each of our interpretations of the pieces are is probably my favorite part of the course. None of our projects look alike. You would never even guess they were done using the same tutorials.
There’s so much encouragement to follow your intuition, pick your own color schemes, add your own details, etc. Other students will even help you figure that out if you get stuck.
And then they will praise the hell out of your work when you post it. There’s so much love-bombing going on in there that you can’t help but feel like your art rocks. They will find something great about it. They will also give you advice but only if you ask for it.
I’m in a lot of groups on Facebook, but Life Book 2019 has officially become one of my favorites. You are an artist and you are treated as such. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginning artist or a 30 year artist with your own line of products.
I do not at all regret joining Life Book 2019 and would join it again and again. I foresee myself taking this class every single year it’s offered!
p.s. If you’re interested in Willowing and Life Book but aren’t ready to invest in the course, check out her published paperback: