Interview with Artist Sheldene Visagie
Sheldene Visagie shares her journey to becoming a professional artist, creating Skillshare art courses and the difficulties of selling original artwork.
Sheldene Visagie Bio
Sheldene is an Australian colored pencil artist who captures the tiny details of the art of realism. Drawing animals, people, places and objects Teaching and providing weekly tutorials and resources. Her custom commissions and private works are in private collections world-wide Sheldene now endeavours to teach others her creative processes.
Please tell us about your work.
I provide free content for all my YouTube followers from time to time where I answer their questions, create tips and tricks videos, do realtime demonstrations and post fun time-lapse videos.
My online students get everything on YouTube as well as stepby-step tutorial videos they vote for, personalised live video streams where they can ask me question in real-time, challenges, give-aways, collaborations, digital design methods of creating references for drawing and more. I also travel to near by towns and schools to conduct workshops and write for the Coloured Pencil Magazine. I divulge almost every day in drawing and always take into consideration what my followers want to see or learn.
What is your art background?
I was without a job for a while, and during the time I spent at home looking for new work I found myself inspired by other artists on YouTube like Lisa from Lachri Fine Art and Heather Rooney. Their use of coloured pencils compelled me to try it for myself. I purchased my first set of coloured pencils and I never put them down since. I took a par- time casual job so that I could use any other free time to develop my drawing skills, a year later I was drawing full time, and two years after that I am where I am now. I have 130+ students that I teach online and my social media following continues to grow with wonderful like minded creative people.
Why do you focus on colored pencils?
I’m always drawn back to coloured pencils even when I try other mediums, it teaches me patience and cures my curiosity. The satisfaction and achievement you feel when you are applying a tiny point to a piece of paper and permanently placing a piece of yourself to it is beyond words.
How do in-person workshops compare to teaching
In-person workshops are wonderful because you are able to physically be with others who want to learn something. Watching them achieve results and enjoy the time together is a great way to form connections. My on-line course is less interactive because I don’t physically spend time with those learning from it, but the online course covers so much information you couldn’t possibly get through it in a day, it is also very useful to those who can only afford to spend small amounts of time with it. It saves your progress and never expires so everyone can go at their own pace.
Why did you stop doing original commissions?
I’ve temporarily stopped doing commissions so that I can spend more time focusing on teaching. A commission may be very important to one or a few but being able to use one piece to teach many is far more rewarding.
Is it difficult for artists to earn enough money from
selling their art alone?
Yes, in my opinion, I find it very difficult to sell my art. In actual fact, I still own most of my original art. There are so many incredible artists out there whom want to get their work seen which makes marketing all the more competitive. I chose to notice that there was a different interest in my work, people want to know the how’s, more than they want to own my work. They wanted to create something better, their own. So I stopped thinking about selling my art and by sharing my knowledge instead, I find my work is being seen more and wonderful creative relationships are being formed in the process.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in
becoming a professional artist?
My only advice is to only create for the love of creating, don’t do it if your eye is only on money, or if you expect perfection on your first try. Do it to feel the calm and beauty of changing something blank, into something that’s a part of you.