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The ACademy: Creative and Business Courses

Below you’ll find my courses in creative and business skills. These are the very same courses I have taught at design schools and certificated programs. 

I help creatives — whether student, hobbyists, or practicing pros — get better at business, sharpen their creative skills and build their design knowledge.

I’ve helped train and launch hundreds of successful hobbyists and pros who are pursuing their creative passions and earning a livelihood from their work. 

My approach to teaching is structural. I focus on the fundamentals and principles of design, color, drawing, design history and critical practice to build effective design and imagery.

I encourage research and innovation — curiosity, curation, and creation, in that order.

I emphasize creative problem-solving, deep-dive effort, and self-reliance.

Creative Skills Courses

2D Design: Elements and Principles

An introduction to design theory and aesthetic principles — the form language. Topics include patternmaking, figure-ground perception, color interaction, line, texture, shape, scale, balance, rhythm, emphasis, and organization, which are necessary for visual communication. This course develops your perceptual skills, and creative awareness. You’ll gain exposure to a range of current and historical design forms. Lectures are delivered weekly via email. Assignments and critiques are optional.

Skill level: beginner, intermediate



Introduction to Graphic Design

This foundation course presents the basic principles of composition, typography, structure, visual communication, and career options for graphic designers, surface designers, web designers, and more.  Topics and assignments focus on layout, grid systems, typography, symbols and meaning, information hierarchy, working with photos and illustrations, and graphic environments.

Skill level: beginner, intermediate


Course available Fall 2023

Drawing Basics

Develop your perceptual and drawing skills for successful communication. This is a short course in the basics. Topics include using the pencil, sighting, gesture, contour, structure, quick sketching, drawing from life and from reference, compositing, drawing from memory, light and shadow techniques, linear perspective, value, proportion and structure. Exercises cover drawing from observation and photographic reference.

Skill level: beginner
Course available January 2024

Elements & Principles of 3D Design

An introduction to aesthetic theory, this course includes discussion and exercises in design elements, organizing principles and perceptual skills as they pertain to real space. Creative awareness, problem-solving, process, and technical ability are stressed. Principles taught are the basis for all 3D design fields. Assignments are oriented toward understanding and applying design principles.

Skill level: intermediate. 
Recommended prerequisite: 2D Design (above)
Course available October 2023

Color Theory

Covers the perception of color, its permutations, and its dimensions, using traditional as well as contemporary methods, emphasizing individual experimentation through lab exercises and demonstrations. Topics include the color wheel, digital color, Munsell and Albers theories, perception, symbolism, and psychology, pattern-painting techniques, and the applications of color theories to art, architecture, and interior design. Student projects and lectures combine intense exploration of theories with hands-on experience in a variety of media.

Skill level: beginner, intermediate



Linear Perspective: A Visual Approach

Build your ability to draw what you see with accuracy using a visual, perception-based approach to linear perspective. Starting with a basic understanding of how we see and understand what’s in our visual field, we apply concepts of form and space in drawing objects, environments, and living things.

Skill level: beginner, intermediate
Course available March 2024

History of Graphic Design

Gain a broad understanding of design and its dynamic past to discover inspiration for the present. Survey the history of visual communication, design’s sociopolitical and cultural contexts, and the artistic and technological characteristics of various movements. Concepts of inspiration, curation and creation, authorship and experience are addressed. 

Skill level: beginner, intermediate, advanced
Course available fall 2023

Color for Digital Designers

Just when you thought you knew all about color… there’s more to know. Designers and artists who use computers and tablets to create their art or for digital production need to know more than the color wheel and color mixing. I created this digital color course to address everything from file types to rendering intents to digital printing. 

Skill level: beginner, intermediate. Software ability is required. 


Course available March 2024

Portraits in Watercolor and Gouache

Explore the fundamentals of portrait painting using watercolor and/or gouache. A review of anatomical structure and proportions of the human head and hands sets the stage for application of color to communicate form. Watercolor and gouache techniques are explored, including palette set up, color mixing, and surface preparation, layering, blending, and opaque color. Also included are principles of light logic, facial color zones, mixing flesh tones for all skin types, color mixing for shadows, and principles of composition. Coursework includes exercises and 2 portraits from photographic reference. 

Skill level: Intermediate. 
Recommended prerequisites: beginning-level drawing and painting ability.
Course available Spring 2024

Business Skills Courses

Crafting Your Creative Brand

This personal branding workshop teaches designers, creatives and artists to develop or revitalize their own distinct, marketable brands out of their values and driving motivators. We focus on self-discovery, and storytelling to make an impact and build a long-term creative career. Students explore their aspirational goals, core values and distinct approaches as the basis for designing their visual brand identity. They focus on presenting a consistent message that’s relevant to clients, collectors, fans and patrons. Approaches to marketing, content creation, curation and establishing one’s authorship are explored. Students develop brand strategies and visual which they can implement immediately to start becoming known.

Video lesson series is available on demand, any time. 

The next live session cohort begins in January 2024.

Limited enrollment
Next live session cohort begins January 2024

The Thriving Creativepreneur

Designed to help independent creatives thrive in the booming gig economy, this course explores the total picture of a freelance business. We’ll addresses four pillars of owning a creative freelance or remote business: mindset, management, messaging and marketing. You’ll learn the crucial mindset shifts needed to transition from “creative” to “ creativepreneur”. You’ll set up foundational structures and frameworks of a solid business model, and gain strategies and systems to make a living from your creative work. 

Video lesson series is available on demand, any time. 

The next live session cohort begins in January 2024.

Limited enrollment
Next live session cohort begins January 2024

Crafting Your Professional Portfolio

Presenting a cohesive and flexible body of work is necessary for entering the professional creative fields. Whether your intent is to find a job or create an independent business, your portfolio is vital to your success. This course guides you in developing a flexible, professionally-presented and targeted portfolio showcasing your unique approach and point of view. You will select and refine your work and develop printed and digital portfolios. You’ll explore approaches to marketing and promoting your book to ideal clients and employers, and create or update your website and online portfolios and directories. Marketing pieces include a business card, printed and email promotions, and resumé/CV. Upon completion of the course, you’ll have what you need to promote your work to employers and prospective clients.

Course is currently not available.

Brand Strategy Workshop

For designers and other creatives seeking to attract high-value clients, level up their critical thinking skills, and increase their value in the marketplace, brand strategy can be the factor that makes a difference. This online workshop is designed to give you skill, confidence, and a road map for developing brand strategy for clients or your own business. We’ll look at the role of brand strategy in brand development, the reasons why strategy is foundational to creating and managing brands, and how you can implement brand strategy with your clients. You’ll learn a proven process for ferreting out purpose and deeper meaning as the basis for design, and how to lead a strategy session. We’ll also cover how to sell and price brand strategy as part of your slate of services, or as a stand-alone option. Coursework includes worksheets, templates, and exercises.

Video lesson series is available on demand, any time. 

The next live session cohort begins in January 2024.

Next live session cohort begins 9/13/2023

I have learned more from this design course then any other I have ever taken. 

Karen Tabor-Regis
Student, 2D Design Elements and Principles 

I have taken a few classes with Alvalyn Lundgren — branding and business — and they have all been great! She presents material that is detailed and thorough and engages her students to explore the topics deeply and with purpose. I have found it incredibly valuable to learn the ins and outs of being a creativepreneur from her as she has the first-hand experience and perspective of being a creativepreneur herself. Her courses have helped me gain a mindset shift that gives me the understanding and confidence to be a successful business owner. I look forward to exploring more learnings through her podcast, blog and other materials and I will passionately recommend her classes to fellow creatives. 

Rima Baroudi
Student, Crafting Your Creative Brand and The Thriving Creativepreneur

Alvalyn taught me character, skills and how to think. A lot of what she taught me is how to see.

John Beck
Student, 3D Design Elements and Principles

 I’m always astounded by how much I learn from you and how much my perspectives and comprehension of design change and improve from your instruction. I can honestly say I look at the world differently because of what you’ve taught me. Please know I appreciate how much you pushed me in both classes. You helped me realize my best and discover and develop my talents and skills, all of which were much more than I ever imagined. 

Louis Bollinger
Student, 2D Design Elements and Principles, and 3D Design Elements and Principles