Let me first say I’m not talking about the official personal development or continuing education you need to keep your teaching certificate active here in PA.
I’m talking about the personal development for you, personally. The stuff you do to improve yourself as an artist/creative person. Personal development that makes me a better teacher. (If you’re interesting in understanding why I think personal development is so important check out this post.) Spending time on myself separate for all the time I spend on researching and developing lessons.
It’s so important to invest in yourself so that you can better serve your students.
When I’ve been going too long without actively investing in my own development it’s like I’m trying to draw water from a dry well. Trying to navigate the dark with a flashlight equipped with dying batteries. Like trying to grow greenbeans when the weeds are choking them out. Like I’m trying to do a watercolor wash without enough paint in my brush. You get the idea…
So do magazines count as personal development?
I’m going to say yes.
Art teachers are often on an island all alone. We may be the only one of our field in the building or like myself we may teach privately even without any other teachers. We work in a profession that doesn’t offer many opportunities to converse with peers on a regular basis.
Without the regular dialogue that comes from being surrounded by artists I tend to get distracted. Distracted by the mundan and necessary things in life. Dishes, housework, kids’ extracurriculars, church activities, yard work, errands, food prep… And THAT just drains the creativity right out of me.
An art magazine is another way to connect with others in the field though admittedly one sided. To emerse myself in the vocabulary and language that is unique to the art world. It also allows me a visual look into the creative realm that I don’t often reach from my corner of the woods. Seriously I mean woods. I live in very rural PA.
Hunting for Magazines
Since I don’t just want to dish out my hard earned money on a gamble of a good magazine. I went up to Barnes and Nobles to get a sense of what is out there. I like being able to get my hands on something before I buy it. I like to flip the pages. Decide if it has the kind of material and design I like. A variety of topics. Useful information. I also like to see if it is something I would recommend to one of my students. In which case, I’m looking for something clean of nudes or subjects my students/their parents could find distasteful.
So far I only subscribe to 2 magazines for my art self.
One of them is Professional Artist.
This is one that I really value. As the cover says it includes business advice, resources, education, tutorials, and art news.
Often times I’m looking for inspiration for my business, a feeling of connection to the art community, and ideas to share with students or parents. A fairly recent issue had an article called “Build Your Folllowing on Facebook.” I was able to take away a few ideas to help my own Facebook page. They even had a “Dos and Don’ts of Building a Following on Facebook” list. I’ve read through that a couple times just to remind myself to stay on track. I especially like the last one on the “Don’ts” list… “Don’t use Facebook as a way to avoid time in the studio. Post, close your computer and make art.”
Another article from at same issue was “Methods to Deduct Depriciable Assets.” My creative self doesn’t even want to think about all that technical stuff. But as my business grows I really have a lot to learn. So a reminder here and there about things to consider or business technicalities is good for me.
In another issue an article titled “Can Creativity be Taught” came just at the time I was teaching my Building Creativity Series. So I was able to add a bit more value to my class because of that.
Another magazine that I get digitally is SchoolArts. This is geared toward the Art Educator rather then the professional artist. I really enjoy seeing what others in the art education field are up to. How they are influencing their students and what projects they come up with.
There is another that I’ve been looking into getting a subscription for called Watercolor Artist.
Though I’m not a watercolorist my nature, I’ve really started to enjoy this very accessible medium. Students are drawn to watercolor so if that is what they want… that is what I teach. I’ve been brushing up on it myself. I like the quick sketch-like quality to it. It’s not like oils where I could feel obligated to mess with it forever. I have to stop. If I keep messing around I could ruin it. It lends itself well in that way because where my life is now (kids, business, lesson plans, household, etc.), I can’t justify dedicating hours working on a piece.
When looking for gift ideas I visited Barnes and Nobles and recommended a few magazines that I found could be of interest to my students. For this purpose I specifically looked for clean magazines. I found quite a few that I liked. In addition to the Professional Artist, which I already talked about, I also recommended Somerset Studio and Art Journaling.
I love the surprise of a new magazine in the mail box. And I take great pleasure in the bit of time I can carve out to read an article or two.
So I totally think that magazines count towards my Personal Development because they give me access to my fellow peers and gives me a glimpse into the art world I rarely see from rural PA.
What magazines do you find helpful?
There are some affiliated links through amazon. If you follow one of the links and purchase something, it won’t affect your price any but I will get a bit to help support this thing I love. There are also links to sites that I’m not affiliated.