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 & SCA

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 - Inspiration

Start off your fantastic journey crafting leather armour. Capture your inspiration. You'll learn:

  • A step by step detailed introduction teaching you the fundamentals behind the art of “Design” and the skills needed allowing you to create your own unique projects, using centuries old techniques;
  • In depth discussions and demonstrations, showing how you can then takes your concepts to the next stage of creation;
  • How to create your very own libraries of ideas, as well as My own go to secret sources of inspiration;
  • How to keep all your ambitious plans, mood boards and ideas organised so you'll never lose a design again.
Module 2 - Design considerations

Dive into all the considerations when designing Armour, Accessories and Costumes. You'll learn:

  • How the physical limits of the human form influences the design of your armour, Costumes & Accessories;
  • How to create something fit for purpose, its aesthetic fit for your costume or character, as well as all the practical lists of considerations needed when creating any project (Materials choices & their place in your planning) ;
  • The strengths and weakness of different types of materials, be they leather, fabrics or other synthetic materials;
  • What's Possible and practical when creating armour (and when you can bend the rules); 
  • The differences between turning heads with your Armour at a Ren Faire, Larp or Cosplay vs the NEED to Turn Rattan or Steel at SCA Event.
Module 3 - Creating Your Custom Dummy & Formers

Beginning to bring your concept to life. You'll learn:

  • How to create a working dummy based on your exact proportions, enabling a perfect fitting for the wearer;
  • The fundamentals of basic design practicalities, enabling a closer look at how materials work together;
  • How to work with a mannequin, sizing up, re shaping and adjusting the form, including techniques for extending the life of your working dummy for future projects;
  • How you’re working dummy and base forms, will work with your pattern.
Module 4 - Pattern making Part 1

From concept to pattern. You'll learn:

  • How to construct begin constructing your own detailed patterns using the mannequin or former from module 3;
  • How to create your first pattern skins, as well as how to bring a perfectly fitting 3 dimensional feel to your design.
  • The fundamentals of pattern cutting and working with your personal dummy former;
  • The different pattern options; and
  • The different media and methods involved in pattern making.
Module 5 - Pattern making Part 2

Transferring your physical prototype patterns into final format. You'll learn:

  • How to translate designs into digital and final pattern format; allowing faster, easier adjustment options for later use:
  • To gain solid understanding of patterns, & sizing techniqies;
  • How patterns form the skeleton of almost all designs; and
  • The software that Alex uses and valuable tips from his experiences.
Module 6 - Materials

Choosing your materials, their best uses and best practices. You'll learn:

  • The different types of leathers and also non-animal alternatives;
  • The different terminology;
  • How to identify different types and parts of leather;
  • A basic understanding of how different types of leather are made;
  • How to size and source leather;
  • What type of leather you'll need for any given project;
  • How to budget for your project and costs involved; and
  • Where you can substitute if things get too expensive.
Module 7 - Creating your first prototype

Drawing on all the skills that you've learnt, you'll move from concept to real life creation. You'll learn:

  • How to transition from design to a physical representation of your concept; and
  • Some basic leather tooling skills.
  • The final steps in creating your first working prototype design:
  • How to plan for your detailing, embossing and embellishments.
Module 8 - Introduction to tools

Learn all the tools you need to work with leather. You’ll learn:

  • What each tool does and their uses, as well as practical demonstrations, hints and tips ;
  • The reality of how few tools you require in order to produce any design:
  • To gain experience in using these tools; and
  • To gain a solid understanding of how to use them to dramatic effect.
Module 9 - Hand Tooling and embossing

Here we teach you more advanced tooling skills to get the detail you want.

  • Get 20 years worth of experience and techniques, as well as the processes used by many leading industry professionals;
  • How to use simple techniques to create stunning designs; and
  • Discover how to add texture, detail and embellishments to elevate your own work to a new standard.
Module 10 - Water forming

Learn the ancient art of leather forming.

  • Learn how to use simple techniques and little more water to shape to help you form leather into complex and rigid shape;
  • The limitations of forming leather; and
  • Tips and tricks to make the process easier.
Module 11 - Hand finishing

The final application of dyes stains waxes and distressing. You'll learn

  • How to create stunning professional level finishes:
  • How to decorate your leather work, including an introduction to many of the metalwork & finish options available;
  • Insider advice on how to add world class finishes; and
  • How to apply the same antiquing processes as Alex to create stunning leather.
  • How to Gild using both modern and ancient techniques, using a variety of foils, leaves & paints.
Module 12 - Marketing and self- promotion

Building your audience, client base and following. You'll learn:

  • How to market, create a social media presence and turn a hobby into a business; and
  • Everything Alex has to know about creating a business so that you can create a successful armoury.
  • How to create your own personal brand and signature style, enabling your own unique fan following.

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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APRIL 2019

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