The Academy - Black Raven Armoury
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• Make Professional looking leather pieces
 20 years experience
• Inspiration to Creation to Marketing
• 12 easy-to-follow modules
• Tutor & Student Discussion groups
• Watch & Practice Videos
• Digital eBook
• Bonus Guidance Patterns
• Bonus Exclusive Arts
• 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

Welcome to the Academy

A Beginner's Leather Masterclass For Larp, Ren & Cosplay

Begin your creative adventure

Leather from Concept to Creation in 12 Simple Steps

Have you ever sat staring in awe at the masterpieces your favourite heroes are wearing on the big screen?

Maybe browsed through photos of incredible leather costumes or armour, wishing you could make something just like it but don’t think you have the talent?

Maybe you have dreamed about creating something amazing using leather for yourself or your beloved horse or dog... but haven’t known where to start?

With over 20 years’ experience in crafting leather armour and costumes for Ren enthusiasts, Larpers, Cosplayers and the film industry, I have decided to share my passion for leatherworking, design and all things creative to your workbench. Via a new unique online course, I will lead you by the hand through everything. Step by step I'll share my entire personal creative process so even an absolute beginner will be able to design, create and bring life to their dreams.

Whether your passion is for Ren Fairs, Larp, Cosplay or SCA, this course will prepare you for a journey of expression and creativity.

Learn to create masterpieces, while having to work on a tight budget

Working through my 12 easy-to-follow modules, you’ll learn everything you need to make professional looking leather pieces. You’ll start by learning how to find inspiration and generate ideas, before moving on to the practicalities of design. In easy to follow simple steps, you’ll lay the groundwork so when the time comes to make your creation, everything falls into place. You’ll learn how few tools you need to get to work as well as learning to source materials on a budget. By the time you’ve completed the course, you’ll have created your own pieces to rival any professional maker.

The Course Structure

There are 12 modules in the course:

Module 1 - Where to start

Building your reference library of inspiration

In Module One we look at inspiration and to capture it. We'll discuss great ways to look for ideas and how to turn those ideas into plans. I'll share some of my secret sources of inspiration and by the end of the module you'll have a folder and a mood board brimming with ambitious plans and designs. We'll look at practical ways to saving your ideas. Where to source inspiration for all sorts of designs across the worlds of LARP, Renn Faires, SCA armour and Cosplay. In simple structured steps we'll walk you through the start of a fantastic journey.
Module 2 - Design considerations

Learning the physical limitations versus the materials chosen

In this Module we take a close look at the physical limits of the human form as well as the properties and strengths and weaknesses of different types of leather. We'll consider the various options available and we'll take a good look at the rules, where we can bend them and where we can bend them. This module will give you a sound understanding of what's possible and what's practical. We'll discuss form and function and discuss the differences between turning heads with your Cosplay at the Comic Con Versus turning steel at the Renaissance Festival.
Module 3 - Prototyping from concepts

Building a custom dummy and transferral of concept to first prototype

In this module we'll take the design stage a step further and you'll learn how to create an inexpensive functional manikin. This will give a fundamental understanding of basic design practicalities and you'll also produce a working dummy based on your exact proportions. We'll also take a deeper look into design and you'll gain sound knowledge of working with a manikin and an introduction to basic patterns.
Module 4 - Pattern making 1

Creating patterns for purpose using a variety of materials

A pattern is the Designer's blueprint. In this module we will dissect a number of patterns and look at their genetic makeup. Using the manikin from Module 3 you will begin constructing your own patterns and in doing so develop an understanding of the fundamentals of both pattern cutting and working with a dress form. We'll also consider different pattern options as well as looking at the different media and methods involved in the process.
Module 5 - Pattern making 2

Transferring your physical prototype patterns into final format

Developing on from our lessons in module 4, module 5 continues to emphasize the importance of the pattern. Building on the patterns you've already created, you'll take the next step and learn how to translate your designs into digital and final pattern format. At the end of module 5 you will have a solid understanding of patterns and how these delicate schematics form the skeleton of almost all designs. As an added bonus Black Raven's own Alex Agricola will walk you through his own preferred software platform as well as passing on some valuable tips.
Module 6 - Materials

Choosing your materials their best uses and best practices

Module 6 focusses heavily on the different types of leather, as well as looking at some vegan and veggie-friendly alternatives. You'll learn about the different terminology, how to identify different types and parts of leather, as well as developing a basic understanding of how the various styles and kinds of leather are made. We'll also look at sizes and sourcing and we'll discuss what kind of leather you'll need for any given project. Module 6 also includes a section on budgeting and when and where it's possible to substitute and it will give you an understanding of the costs involved in different projects.
Module 7 - Creating your first concept prototype

Create your first prototype fit for purpose

Module 7 will help you to create your own prototype. Using all the skills you've learned to date and with a basic introduction to tooling, module 7 is the next logical step and will see your design idea made flesh. Your design could for Cosplay, a Ren Faire or even practical LARP armour, it doesn't matter. What's important at this stage is that you will have learned the skills necessary to create your first workable and wearable project. Using your skills you'll tentatively make the transition from design brief via pattern into an actual physical representation of your concept.
Module 8 - Tools

Introduction to the basic tools 

In module 8 you'll learn all about the few tools you'll actually need to successfully work with leather. You'll build on what you accomplished in module 7 and take a closer look at the leather-smith's arsenal. You'll learn what each tool does and what part it plays in the construction and finishing of various projects. Much of this module will consist of practical video guides and upon completion you will have a solid understanding of most of the required tools and how to use them to dramatic effect.
Module 9 - Hand Tooling and embossing

A basic introduction to hand tooling detail

Continuing on from what you learned in Module 8, Module 9 will give you a more advanced look at the tools and processes involved in creating striking leather pieces. In Module 9 Alex will impart his own tried and tested techniques which he developed over his decades working with Black Raven. You'll learn deceptively simple techniques for making stunning designs and discover how to add texture, details and embellishments to elevate your own work to a new standard.
Module 10 - Water forming

The preparation and methods of water forming

In module 10 you'll learn the ancient art of leather forming. Also known as leather moulding, you'll learn how to use simple techniques and little more than water to shape and form leather into complex and rigid shapes. You'll learn what leather can be formed and to what extent, as well as hands on guidance and video tutorials from Alex himself. You'll learn insider tricks and tips to make the process easier as well as personal advice on how to make the most out of this simple but impressive skill.
Module 11 - Hand finishing

The final application of dyes stains waxes and distressing

In this the penultimate lesson, you'll learn the secret skills and techniques employed by Alex Agricola and the Black Raven team. You'll find out how to create stunning dyes and swatches, how to decorate your leather work and more importantly you'll learn insider advice on how to add world class finishes and even how to apply the same antiquing processed which have helped The Black Raven Armoury rise to such acclaim in the field on leather armour.
Module 12 - Marketing and self- promotion

Building your audience, client base and following

The final module in the Academy is nothing short of a master class in marketing, social media and business. Over the last 25 years The Black Raven Armoury has risen from a one man band to a world acclaimed institute with hundreds of thousands of followers and tens of thousands of satisfied customers all over the globe. In this final instalment Alex will share everything he knows about the business side of the Armoury and give the graduates of the Academy the best possible start in the world of leather working and costuming

What's Included:

The Tools

This is a complete basic tools list that you could make use of for the course (excluding a swivel knife) The actual number of tools will be down to what you decide to make as your project.

Tools will not be required beyond pencils, paper and duct tape, for the first 6-7 modules of the course when we start working on prototypes. As I’m an advocate of saving money where possible, all of these can be purchased at reasonable costs via many of the main auctions sites or indeed via many of the leather forums and groups on Facebook.

Materials will be 100% down to what project you would like to complete and are discussed at length in module 6, along with cheapest and best sources shared by the students and coach.

Tools List

Cutting Matt
Craft tool edge beveller  (number 3)
Rivet Setter (optional)
Hole punch (suitable for standard rivets) 3mm holes 
Hole punch for sewing holes 1.5mm holes 
Awl (optional)
Stitch groover 
Poly mallet 
Scalpel or craft knife
Blunt Harness needles
Wax Thread
Small Craft Anvil (or piece of solid steel)
Building your reference library of inspiration

“A personal journey of creation & imagination”

Discover Your Resourcefulness

This course has been designed to start at the level Alex was when he first started, with no money or materials. It assumes no prior knowledge, so wherever you are on your leatherworking journey, he’ll take you step-by-step through a process that genuinely delivers results. Alex is passionate about supporting and empowering the next generation of leather craftsmen, which is why this course is structured in such a way that any investment in tools and materials is kept to an absolute minimum. Second-hand tools and materials are readily available from various outlets and are very cost-effective. You’ll be amazed at the effect you can achieve for very little cost.

Full Support When You Need It

Each module comes with a post-module discussion group so you can discuss your ideas and any questions you may have with your fellow students. If you need extra help, we also offer ongoing support to help you with any issues you may have. Alex will also be filming bonus videos to cover the most frequently answered questions arising from these discussions to make sure you have all the information you need. What’s more, the course comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked, so if you try it and decide that it’s not for you, you have the confidence of knowing you’ll get your investment back.

Passing the Torch

When Alex started out, there was no internet, so he was reliant on books and hands on experimentation to develop his skills. 20 years on, and it’s still surprisingly difficult to find detailed information on leatherwork for armour, costumes, harnesses, etc. This is the first course of its type and we’re confident in stating that no other course will teach you this specific leatherworking process from scratch. We will take you from the very beginning of the creation process right the way through to the production of sales-quality items. When you sign up for the course, you don’t just get an introduction to leather working; you get your own little piece of Alex and his weird, whacky, and wonderful world. The only limit is your imagination.

Meet The Founder

Alex Agricola

Founder of Black Raven Armoury & Author of The Crystal Anvil

Born in the U.K. and currently based in the historical town of Stratford Upon Avon, Alex currently heads up one of the most respected teams of creators in the world, specialising in the design and production of Leather Armour & Accessories for a variety of industries including Larp, Ren, Cosplay, Motion Pictures & Television.”

Now It's YOUR Turn

Whether you’re a hobbyist who wants to perfect their skills or you dream of being a professional leatherworker with your creations featured in movies and more, this course will take you wherever you want to go. As part of the course, you’ll be assigned a project in Module 11. If you choose, you can submit a digital portfolio of work to Alex and his team, who will personally assess your work. If it meets our standards, you’ll be issued a certificate to confirm that you’ve been trained by Black Raven Armoury, which will help you get started in this exciting industry. We will give you the confidence and skills you need to establish yourself as a professional in your own right. This course could open doors you never believed could be accessible to you.

Randy – USA

Detailed videos that are easy to follow and understand.

Earl – USA

This is one of the best decisions I’ve made really enjoying the class.

Jeremy – USA

Beyond inspirational. This course from start to finish is the pure definition of learning the craft to its fullest potential.

Chris – USA

Simple easy step by step approach from thought to fruition into a completed project.

Brian – USA

Since I am new to the whole leather craft thing this course has actually helped me a lot, and Alex is very friendly and his tips are always helpful.😁

Zachary – USA

Very impressive work. If I could, I would hire you to make me something for the start of a collection.

Matt – UK

Great course, lots of content and clear instruction. Alex’ passion really shines through and the pace is very gentle. Heartily recommended.

Mike – USA

Comprehensive Curriculum with Emphasis on Original Design. The “Tips and Tricks” that come with Years of Experience are a Great Asset to those willing to take the time to Learn. Thank You Alex.

John – USA

Very Informative and well put together. I am not a novice leather worker, but this course is expanding on my knowledge in ways I never thought of. Definitely adding new and useful tools to my toolbag. 

Rich – USA

Great course, straight forward and easy to follow. I recommend it for anyone who wants to make their own armor or for Cosplay friends. Outstanding !!

Marie – USA

The Academy is a great in depth course that can take you in several directions. Easy to follow, thorough, also Alex is very responsive and helpful. Highly recommend!!

Ruth – USA

Well thought out modules that enable the student to absorb and reflect on each topic. Great support and feedback from Alex and other students. Enjoying it a lot.

Possum – USA

Well designed course for learning at your own pace. Videos are well done and concepts are explained thoroughly through video and practical instruction

Teresa – USA

I love that you can go at your own pace and there is no pressure or time constraints. So affordable too! If I could give it 10 stars I would! 

Possum – USA

Well designed course for learning at your own pace. Videos are well done and concepts are explained thoroughly through video and practical instruction.

Ron – Canada

I am THOROUGHLY enjoying the webinars and course material that are a part of this course. My skills as a leathercrafter are going through the roof as a result of what I am learning. An honest, well earned 5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

This is an amazing class all the information is on point. I’m enjoying everything about it. All the stars!!!!!!!!!!

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Start your journey to becoming an expert leatherworker
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APRIL 2019

Pre Registrations will begin March 1st 2019. Complete the form below to join the waitlist.