Hi Grace. I am 99% self-taught with wax, and doing pretty well! I imagine it just depends on the person, but I took to carving pretty naturally. I did attend one workshop but didn’t really find it that helpful, other than building the confidence that you just have to do it to learn!
One benefit to classes though is learning which tools you will really use. Everyone I know who carves uses completely different tools. For instance, I bought an expensive wax pen machine early on, and now I barely ever even plug it in. However I use my cheap little Max Wax pen constantly. I also have a nice Kate Wolf set of tools, but I barely use those either since I don’t do much with a lathe… I use a single dental tool, an x-acto blade and a linoleum block carver for most work. I guess what I’m saying is, there can be a lot of trial and error and money down the drain to discover what works best for you!
I also think it depends what you want to carve. If you want to carve traditional, perfect mounts and settings, a class may be really helpful. My carvings are primarily animals, so I’m not sure that a regular teacher would be able to give me that many tips. I think I use my illustration background a lot more for this sort of work, and when I’m curious about a new product or tool, I tend to look for a Youtube video or blogpost about it.
Hope that helps!