Have you ever taken a workshop or class and been really disappointed with what you made?

I know I have. And it’s frustrating and the tendency is to get cross with yourself for being slow or stupid or not understanding. But I have come to realise, now that I am more experienced and teach art to others, that there are only two reasons this happens: you didn’t follow the instructions, or your tutor is crap. If you follow with care, and still don’t get the results you expect, then it isn’t your fault. Your teacher has failed you. So stop blaming yourself!

This is something I get on my high horse about but I am not going to apologise for it. Here’s the thing – being great at art does NOT make you a good teacher!!!! Producing an amazing piece of work is a totally different skill set from being able to communicate to someone else how to make it. In my case, I don’t consider myself a ‘great artist’, but I do think my work is solid and consistent. I am however, good at teaching others and explaining clearly and carefully what I am doing (and perhaps even more importantly WHY I am doing it).

“Here’s the thing – being great at art does NOT make you a good teacher!!!! Producing an amazing piece of work is a totally different skill set from being able to communicate to someone else how to make it.”

So many people learn from YouTube videos which have no quality control and are not monitored in any way for accuracy. Time and time again I see YouTubers giving out incorrect and misleading information because they haven’t put in the work to learn about their products. And this is why I see so many people frustrated with their own work, and often it’s because they are basically doing it wrong, based on bad information. One of the reasons I set up the Academy was to help people understand their creative processes better through quality controlled, curated, edited and beautifully presented learning materials.

So when you look at the team of tutors I’ve assembled for Mixed Up Creative, you might not see huge superstars of the craft world working with me. This is because my team are picked for their ability to teach and their enthusiasm and willingness to share what they know with you. Being famous isn’t a prerequisite for being an incredible teacher! The truth? Sometimes it’s great marketing, and a lot of style over substance. That’s not how we roll at MUCA.

On our Wellspring Summer School, my heart was joyous at seeing all the work our students created, because it was all so GOOD! And they got good results because they understood the tutorials perfectly and were able to follow them and learn from them. And that’s because my tutors are fricking awesome.

So next time you are wondering why you can’t do something you’re being taught, and you get frustrated with your own crapness, take a pause. Maybe it’s not you that’s crap….

Katy Leitch
Mixed Up Creative Founder