Skill Building Challenges; New Changes, New Incentives, New Learning Opportunities

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Here at the Watts Atelier, we are constantly striving to improve the learning experience for our students.  With this in mind, Jeff and his team of instructors recently took a close look at our Skill Building Challenges, and brainstormed ways to structure the challenges (as well as their rewards) to better help the skill advancement of our students.  While the Skill Building Challenges will adhere to the same overall structure (a month long challenge, broken down into four individual week-long assignments) we are pleased to announce a few significant changes that will help the challenges better support our mission of providing our students with one of the best online art educations available.

Greater rewards, for greater learning experiences:

Our goal at the Watts Atelier is to help you, our students, build your skills.  The winner’s rewards for our Skill Building Challenges now help that happen. The Winner of each Skill Building Cycle will receive a personalized video critique, performed either by Jeff Watts or senior instructors E.M. Gist and Lucas Graciano.  These video critiques are personalized for you, utilizing your own work; Our instructors print your piece, and provide you with a real-time video trace-over critique, using traditional mediums.  As everyone can benefit from an in-depth instructional video, the critiques will then be posted in an archive where all online students can access them.  In this sense, everyone in the challenge gets something out of participating.

an example of a student video critique, by Jeff Watts

Focused challenges, to give your skills the mileage they need:

Our Challenges are now better focused, and each challenge will fall under three different categories; Portraiture, the Figure, and Specialties.  In addition, each challenge will now be designed to push a student’s skills further and helping them developing a higher degree of finish in their pieces.  Challenges will now be geared towards utilizing the foundational skills you learn through your lessons, and applying them to a finished, polished piece.

Quarterly schedules, to fit your study routine:

In addition to focused challenge categories, our Skill Building Challenges will now be run on a quarterly schedule. Starting next week, we will announce three month’s worth of challenges at a time, so you can better plan your study routines.  While the specifics of each challenge may vary, these  quarterly schedules will always follow the same overall structure…One Portraiture cycle, followed by one Figurative cycle, and ending on the third month with a Specialty cycle.  In addition, students who have participated in the Skill Building Cycles for a full quarter will be qualified to receive a “Student Showcase” on our website.  This feature highlights the work of an individual student , and is a way of recognizing the hard work and dedication you, our students, put in each day for the advancement of your skills.


We’re excited to begin implementing these wonderful changes for you, and will be debuting them next week with our 9th Skill Building Challenge.  Join on us on August 24th as we welcome these changes with our latest Skill Building Challenge, Cycle 9: The Long Portrait.    For more information and the specifics of our Skill building Challenges rules, please visit our Skill Building Challenge forum.  We look forward to seeing what everyone brings to Cycle 9.  Whether you are a novice or an advanced student, we invite you to join us on the 24th to Embrace the Challenge!