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Es Devlin’s MasterClass: Turn Ideas into Art and Unleash Your Creative Potential

Ever dreamed of transforming your wildest ideas into tangible works of art? Es Devlin has created immersive experiences for the biggest names in music, and now she's sharing her process in her MasterClass.

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Es Devlin Teaches Turning Ideas Into Art: Our Verdict (2024)


4.5 / 5

In "Turning Ideas Into Art," Es Devlin invites you to explore the world of stage design through a series of 15 engaging video lessons. Under her guidance, you will uncover the power of creativity and learn how to translate abstract ideas into visually stunning artworks. For aspiring artists, designers, and creative minds, learning from Es Devlin in this Masterclass offers unparalleled insight into the world of stage design and visual storytelling.


  • Learning from a professional in the stage design field
  • Practical techniques for translating ideas into visual narratives
  • Immersive visuals and music


  • Minor audio quality issues
  • The class could be more dynamic

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Your life will be an endless, and I hope, fruitful and happy journey of endlessly not knowing enough.

This class caught my attention from the very moment I stumbled upon it on the MasterClass platform. I’m a huge lover of visual arts and storytelling, but I didn’t know much about Es Devlin, and I knew virtually nothing about stage design. Yet something about Es and her view of the world drew me in, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I wanted to know more about what she had to say.

But is Es Devlin’s MasterClass truly worth the investment, especially for aspiring stage designers and artists? This review aims to answer that question by navigating the course content and discovering the valuable knowledge it offers to those willing to embark on this creative journey.

Ready to learn how to turn your ideas into art? Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What is "Turning Ideas Into Art"?

Stage design is a crucial aspect of creating immersive experiences in live performances, concerts, and events. “Turning Ideas Into Art” is a MasterClass taught by renowned stage designer Es Devlin, where she takes you on a journey through the fundamentals of stage design, from concept to execution. Through 15 engaging video lessons, Devlin shares her insights, techniques, and creative process, empowering you to transform abstract ideas into visually stunning artworks. Whether you’re an aspiring stage designer, artist, or simply curious about the intersection of art and technology, this course will inspire you to think more creatively.

Who is Es Devlin?

Internationally renowned visual artist and stage designer, Es Devlin
Globally acclaimed visual artist and stage designer Es Devlin

Es Devlin is a London-based visual artist and stage designer known for her groundbreaking work in the field of stage design. With over 20 years of experience, Devlin has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, including Beyoncé, U2, Adele, and The Weeknd, as well as prestigious institutions like the Royal Opera House and the Olympic Games. Her innovative approach to storytelling through immersive stage experiences has earned her widespread acclaim and recognition in the industry.

Who is this course’s target audience?

This course is ideal for aspiring stage designers, artists, and anyone interested in the creative process behind immersive experiences. While no prior experience is required, those passionate about visual arts and storytelling will benefit greatly from this masterclass. If you’re looking to pursue a career in stage design or simply wish to explore your creativity, “Turning Ideas Into Art” provides many valuable lessons and practical skills to help you succeed.

What topics does "Turning Ideas Into Art" cover?

This Masterclass provides a comprehensive overview of stage design essentials, covering everything from research and sketching to storytelling and collaboration. Here is a quick overview of what to expect from this MasterClass:

  1. Meet Your Instructor: Es welcomes students, explains the intent of her class, and gives an overview of the lessons students will learn.
  2. Research, Then Sketch: Es sheds light on one of the most important elements of creating art: the audience and the power of the audience’s physiological responses.
  3. Scale Models: Es breaks down the genesis of her ideas and explains that for her, every project begins with research.
  4. Scale and Architecture: Es explains how three-dimensional modeling has influenced her work since childhood and its role in manipulating scale and perspective.
  5. Storytelling With Light: Es shows how she practices with scale in her studio and reveals how you can play with the scale of objects to evoke various emotional responses.
  6. Mazes and Patterns: Es explains that ideas have an architecture to them and how both the presence of light and the absence of it can create a narrative arc.
  7. The Audience: Es invites you to look for systems in nature and architecture as sources of inspiration for your art.
  8. Aperture and the Cube: Es explores her love of the cube and explains how and why she uses it so frequently.
  9. Creative Leadership and Collaboration: Es shares her approach to creative collaboration, both with her team and the artists who have commissioned her work.
  10. The Weeknd: Es analyses one of her favorite live concert performances from The Weeknd’s Legend of the Fall Tour.
  11. Memory Palace: Es breaks down the inspiration, execution, and notable details of Memory Palace, an 18-meter-wide sculpture mapping historical transformational moments.
  12. The Lehman Trilogy: Es discusses one of her most beloved theater sets for The Lehman Trilogy.
  13. Passion Projects: Es breaks down some of her creations and explains that the works she makes normally emerge out of a world-building process.
  14. Sustainable Art: In this lesson, Es underscores the need for sustainable art and the importance of using art to communicate imperative truths.
  15. Your Career Is Your Story: Es shares practical takeaways for making a career out of set design and her process for overcoming self-doubt.

My favorite parts of "Turning Ideas Into Art"

1. Take both paths

This was my favorite lesson from Es Devlin’s masterclass. We’re constantly pressured into specializing, finding a niche, and becoming the best in a given field… and it’s something I’ve just never wrapped my mind around. And why should we? I love that amidst a society that urges you to “marry” your career or job; there are sources of inspiration like Es that advise you to go against the current.

Give it a try, and prepare to be pleasantly surprised
Just try it, and you’ll be surprised

This class is for those who meet a fork in the road and don’t know which path to take. I’m here to tell you: Take both, and then take both again.

You should define yourself as whatever you want. Make it up. Call yourself an artist, designer, director, choreographer, whatever you choose. Setting narrow boundaries is not going to help you, so take your ideas further.

Es’s invitation is for you to try on different words like you might try on different clothes. Just try them on because as soon as you start calling yourself the thing you want to be, people will just follow suit.

Do not hesitate to build upon the work of others; innovation often springs from collaboration and inspiration
Don’t be afraid of standing on the shoulders of others

2. Don’t be afraid of imitation

This advice is shared by many artists: Imitate! We learn by imitating others, and you shouldn’t be afraid of imitating those who inspire you. Nothing is entirely original because we’re always taking inspiration from many sources by watching others, copying, and experimenting with what we watch and learn.

So many things start with imitation. As you imitate, you start to learn new ways to make marks, and you start to do them on your own, so you’re no longer imitating—you’re making your own marks.

Es takes the example of Salvador Dali and his works being reminiscent of other artists’ work: he had just been trying on different versions of himself until he found out who Salvador Dali was, and that’s fine. That’s what we all do.

Challenge yourself with new parameters and boundaries
Set yourself new parameters

3. Sustainable choices

This lesson made me admire Es even more than I already did because it’s hard to find someone, especially in the art industry, who cares about making more sustainable choices.

Designers want to design systems that are beautiful; they don’t want to design systems that are destructive to their environment.

To make sustainable choices, a great shift in Es’s practice and the invitation she extends to you is, what if you start from materials first instead of starting from ideas, and you make your choices based on them? Consider your materials in terms of the beginning, the middle, and the end of their lifespan, and set yourself new parameters.

Do a carbon audit on your practice and look at it honestly. How much carbon did your practice deposit? And what can you do to diminish it?

Simply focus on growth
Just grow

4. Make sure you learn something new every day

Learning is a never-ending journey, and I love Es Devlin’s encouragement to keep on acquiring knowledge every day and grow in your practice, whatever that may be. It has inspired me to continue my learning journey and strive to become a better person every day, and for that, I’m immensely thankful.

Whatever it is that you do every day, make sure you learn something. Ask yourself at the end of the day: Did I learn something? Did I expand my knowledge?

And if you’re about to go to sleep and you didn’t, then make sure you do.

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

What I Liked About "Turning Ideas Into Art"

  1. Immersive visuals and music: Es Devlin’s signature artistic style comes alive in the course, creating an inspiring and visually engaging learning experience.
  2. Variety of creative exercises: I loved every single creative exercise Es invites you to take. They are very interesting and encourage you to experiment, explore different perspectives, and push your creative boundaries.
  3. Relaxed atmosphere and teaching style:  The course’s welcoming environment encourages open-minded learning and exploration.
  4. Behind-the-scenes of Es designs: You gain valuable knowledge and inspiration by witnessing the creative process behind some of Es Devlin’s most iconic stage designs.
  5. Invitations over assignments: I loved that there were no assignments but rather invitations to do creative exercises. Sometimes, the word “assignment” can add pressure, and framing them as invitations instead makes them seem more approachable.
  6. Book recommendations: Es shares her favorite reads that have influenced her artistic journey, which may inspire you as well.
  7. Interesting dive into stage design: This subject is often unfamiliar to many, and Es Devlin’s passion fascinates and intrigues you as you learn more about it.

Drawbacks of "Turning Ideas Into Art"

  1. Minor audio quality issues: Sometimes, Es Devlin’s voice of Es sounds a bit strange, as if it was recorded through a phone, with a slight graininess, which can be distracting and detract from the learning experience.
  2. Desire for more dynamic exercises: While the course includes some creative exercises, a greater variety of dynamic and hands-on activities could improve the learning experience and facilitate the application of what you’re learning.

Conclusion – Is "Turning Ideas Into Art" worth it?

Turning Ideas Into Art” has profoundly impacted my approach to creativity and artistic expression. I love learning about many diverse topics and understanding different points of view, and I can honestly say that enrolling in Es Devlin class is one of the best investments I’ve ever made on my creative journey. It has helped me shift my mindset and open myself to new experiences and opportunities.

I learned a lot from a subject that I never imagined would be so amazing, and Es inspired me to think out of the box and explore more fields to grow, even if it meant going against predefined standards.

Is taking Es Devlin’s class worth it? If you yearn to push creative boundaries, explore diverse art forms, and learn from a visionary artist, this Masterclass is a resounding yes! Es’s engaging teaching style and unique perspective on art and creativity make this MasterClass a valuable investment for aspiring artists, designers, and creative minds across many disciplines and fields.

I wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone drawn to visual arts but especially to those who, like me, don’t want to limit themselves to any label, to those who want to learn about everything, and who want to, above all, open their minds to the possibilities that the world has to offer.

If you’re looking to expand your thinking, get inspired, and take the challenge of embracing all that you want to be, this is the class you’re looking for.

Remember, the power of creation lies within you. So take the first step, enroll in Es Devlin’s Masterclass, and turn your ideas into art!