The Essential Art Department® Mission Statement

Teaching All Things Art Department!

Anyone who has worked in Entertainment Production would probably agree that a good portion of your skills are learned on the job. This resonates heavily for the Art Department. Our mission at TEAD’s is to help bridge the gap between classroom and field experience, by educating individuals starting off in their careers or even just transitioning into the workforce, by providing real-world examples, resources, and discussions. The Essential Art Department® aims to bring together industry veterans from all Art Department disciplines with young professionals to create an inclusive, teachable community.

The Essential Art Department® was started by industry professionals and as professionals who have worked in various areas of Entertainment for more than 30 years, we know the value of the skills that have been passed down through generations of the trades within the industry. Skills that make the job easier and may be lost over time that could help make the job easier or at least less daunting when you are starting out. TEAD's is our way to bring together our community and share our techniques with those starting their journey or anyone interested in gaining more Art Department experience.

The Essential Course Catalog

We know that your calendars fill up quickly for the next year so we are building our 2023 lineup of courses! Pre-Order your 2023 courses to reserve your spots and Get Ready To Art Department! And save $$$ when you purchase Multi-Series Packages!

All Work and No Play in the Art Department! Not really!

The Value of a Great Art Department

It is a key component to any production. But don't take our word for it!

  • William Katt / Actor-Director-Producer

    "...the most important component in a business where collaboration is everything."

    "Over the course of 40 years in the entertainment industry I've had the pleasure to work with many talented individuals on both sides of the camera as well as the theatre proscenium. No great surprise - whether directing, producing or acting - I've always come to rely - if not depend - on the talent of the art department! It's the first thing I think about when I start to tell a story. Before anything else the art department is singularly the most important component in a business where collaboration is everything."

  • John Murdy / Creative Director - USH HHN

    "A great Art Department is essential to the success of a project..."

    A great Art Department is essential to the success of a project as they produce the main visual representation of the basic idea, whether it be scenic environments or film/software based, and so much of "the story" or plot of a themed entertainment attraction is told visually (due to the audience being on a ride system or some other conveyance) as opposed to a traditional dialog based narrative like a film, television show or play.

Why choose The Essential Art Department® courses?

  • Knowledge

    Taught by current industry professionals, you will be given insight into some of today's new technologies involving the Art Department, as well as learn techniques of old. To familiarize you with as many aspects of what being a part of an Art Department has to offer.

  • Let's Talk! Series

    Access to the Let's Talk! Series, live webinar instruction sessions, involving hands-on labs, and in-class/on-screen collaborations. This is your Q&A period where you bring the questions and we bring the answers!

  • Downloadable Resources

    Downloadable industry resources and information. Paperwork is daunting but if you are pre-loaded with what to expect, it makes it easier to understand.

  • Access

    Access to the course material for extended time allows you to download and reconnect with the subject matter talked about within each session.

  • Feedback

    Direct feedback from your instructors on any topic! We will give you feedback on projects, guidance on jobs, and we are full of meaningful and fun advice!

  • Networking

    Access to industry contacts helps you start to build your network. You can start with your instructors as the first building block to your network. And we have plenty more to offer you in many different areas of the industry!

  • Resume & Portfolio

    Our instructors can give you pointers and guidance on building your resume and portfolios so that you get NOTICED! They know what the industry is looking for.

  • Certification

    At the end of each course you can claim your certification, proving that you put in the effort toward gaining superior Art Department knowledge, and honing in on your craft.

  • Priced for Value

    With multi-week intensive, self paced courses, packed with knowledge and skillsets like you would find in a typical college semester course, you will see the immense value in our coursework.

  • Essential Scholarships

    Need based scholarships for students are offered through generous funding of anonymous donors. Scholarships may cover the cost of a course as well as course materials. Students can apply for scholarships as they become available through our scholarship section.

  • "Essential Ready"

    Students who successfully pass coursework will have the opportunity to build their brand awareness and have a link on our "Essential Ready" page. Prospective employers have access to student bios and links where they can find a perfect fit for work and job opportunities that will fill an "Essential" need.

  • Passion

    The Essential Art Department is built around the idea that Passion should drive what you do. Through these courses we hope to instill passion and creativity for you to take your Art Department career to the next level!

What industry professionals have to say...

“I have worked with Brandi as an Instructor at the Art Institute of California Hollywood and I have found her to be extremely focused and detail oriented. Her teaching is highly imaginative and her ability to develop strong teaching concepts through practical industry standard skills and training, consistently shows in her work. Her methodology is very hands-on, yet she insists that each student develop their own creative vision. Brandi is an excellent Production Designer and Teacher and she has an incredible ability to involve and inspire her students to do their best work. Her projects and assignments range from individual work to complex group projects and all of her students strive to excel in whatever tasks Brandi presents to them. ”

Trefoni Rizzi / Creative Director-Author-Teacher

“Brandi is an extremely talented designer. She works with Set & Exhibit Design students to understand the professions of Set Decoration and Art Direction. She has organized excellent field trips and invited impressive guest speakers to speak to the class. She has an approachable team-oriented style with the students. She is a good role-model for her students. She has an excellent attitude and is always positive about any program she teaches. Although Brandi works in the entertainment industry, she is extremely passionate about teaching. She works very hard to teach professional skills to all students (beginning to advanced). She has the respect of all her students. Brandi has used her professional contacts in the film studio and TV industries to benefit the students.”

Gary LaVasser / Academic Director - AI

“Brandi Creason, who is not only in my humble opinion, a wondrously talented Production Designer and Art Director, but a great collaborator and undeniably - a lovely person. Whether designing a realistic set or an impressionistic dreamscape utilizing forced perspective - her work is always creative and beautiful to behold. In addition, having come out of the theatre, she has the ability to turn less into more and few into many making producers like me look good to our bosses when we come in under budget. Let me close by saying - not only is she a force to be contended with - but she has always gone above and beyond with the young people she has had come intern on sets with her - making sure that they share in the creative process and understand concepts and execution behind all of the design components. Any student would feel lucky to have her as a teacher and mentor.”

William Katt / Actor-Director-Producer

“Brandi is truly one of the “great” ones! Talented, smart, dedicated! Most importantly, she is one of the best collaborators any project or class could hope to have. She brings a passion to everything she works on, and that in turn, becomes infectious (a term that really can be positive). I’ve been fortunate enough to work with her as a designer in a professional capacity, but equally fortunate to interact with her through her teaching. In the past I’ve participated occasionally with her students in the classroom, to share my end of the “entertainment business” and have been amazed at how much they have learned to embrace all aspects of industry, not just the artistic, but everything it takes to execute their artistic vision. This ability to share real world experience within the safety of the classroom is something I have always found inspiring. Her students go forth engaged, passionate, well rounded and well prepared.”

Joel Smith / Universal Studios-Senior Project Manager Prod. Admin.

“There are very few people in a person's life that can truly help mold the person you become. Some may say your family, a close friend, a life partner, and if you're lucky, a teacher. If you were fortunate enough to have Brandi Creason as a teacher, you are a better person because of it. It's very rare to have a person come into your life that is incredibly knowledgeable about the field you are passionate about. I was lucky enough to have Brandi as an instructor for a few of my classes in college while obtaining my BA in Set and Exhibit Design. This was a crucial time in my life as I developed the skills and the path I would take for my career. Having an instructor like Brandi, truly helped mold and develop the necessary skills I needed to be successful. Not only is she knowledgeable about the lessons she is teaching, but she also has a passion for teaching others. Her passion and love for her work are extremely contagious and truly motivates you to soak as much in as you can. If Brandi can even put a quarter of her knowledge, passion, and love into The Essential Art Department, it will still be more than enough to help you succeed in the field of Art Direction. ”

Matt Maldonado / Industry Designer-Student

Are you ready to join The Essential Art Department®?

"Good luck is where opportunity and preparedness come together."

With a little luck and hard work, you will land that job of a lifetime and continue to grow your skillsets to become an Essential part of any industry Art Department. Jump on board and get ready for a great ride! Now, let's go get you prepared!


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...and what our students have to say!

“I can’t recommend this course enough! Fantastic instructors that pull back the curtains on the mystery of how to start a career within this field!”

Michael Francis / Student - CC101/102 Fall 2021

“From practical knowledge involving contract negotiation, unions and kit fees, to more personal topics like taxes, personal finances and even more importance of balancing a personal life - this course covers every important aspect of entertainment you did not learn in school. Not only that but the teachers provide a level of attention and care on par, it not better, than any university course. The instructors are at the top of their field and bring that relevant, on-the-job expertise to class every time. I can not recommend this course enough if you want a career in entertainment!”

Jackson Mancuso / Student - CC101/102 Summer 2021

“I wish I had taken this class before interning in the industry. This class really helped me understand many aspects of the entertainment and themed entertainment industry, the work force, and myself as an employable candidate. if you have any interest in entertainment, this class is a must!”

Xochilt Khoury / Student - CC101/102 Summer 2021

“The quality and extensive depth of content offered in this course is unparalleled. I had taken art direction classes at school prior to taking this course, yet walked away knowing more than I ever thought I could! If you have any interest in themed entertainment or film, I can not overstate how much I recommend taking this invaluable opportunity to learn from two incredible teachers!”

Dominic Diaz / Student - CC101 Spring 2021

“I can honestly say that Brandi was one of the best instructors in my college experience. Because of her, I'm not afraid to be myself, speak up and simply NOT BE AFRAID of anything put in my way. I love the way that she approaches teaching, relating everything to real world situations, which has helped tremendously. She has taught me that everything is possible no matter how big or small it may be. She also taught me that it's ok to be "weird" and be yourself. Thanks to Brandi for all your motivational speeches and amazing teaching skills.”

Paula Williamson / Designer - Student

“Brandi Creason is one of the most dedicated and easy to talk to teachers that I have ever had. The time spent in her class has been enlightening to say the least, she not only involves moments of lecture but in order to put what she's taught us into practical use, she makes the time for us to get involved in real time projects which have shown us valuable on-the-job training and professionalism. She strongly believes that to learn this business/craft properly you have to be hands on. Not only have I used what she has taught me on projects, but I will always cherish the time she took to make sure that we would be aptly prepared to be on set and know the proper etiquette so that we would go far in our chosen fields. ”

Marcia Dios / Industry Set Decorator-Digital Illustrator-Student