I don’t like taking art classes, to put it bluntly. I’ve tried different formats, in person and online, and my interest always wanes.
I once took a fundamentals of drawing class at a local art studio. It lasted about eight weeks, and I only finished because I forced myself to – it was expensive, and I had to show my actual face. Everyone else seemed to be into it, and I felt like I must be missing something, an important artist gene that instills a fondness for common objects. We had to draw things like folding tables, painted white wine bottles, eggs, and kitchen utensils (gag me with that spoon). Even though I learned some useful things in that class, mostly about cast shadow and good pencils, I resolved then to figure out how approach art another way.
I’m someone who wants to learn a wide variety of things. When I heard this great TEDx talk about multipotentialites, I identified and felt a sense of relief.
So when Skillshare approached us about trying their platform, I figured I would try it because there are multiple specific things I’m interested in improving and/or learning. Skillshare works for my ways. I’ve found that I need the basics as a springboard, and can then figure out the rest. Skillshare also works for people who are really drawn to one or two subjects and want to pursue them to their heart’s content. Keep reading to learn about my experience with Skillshare and to redeem a free 2-month trial.
For those of you who are not familiar with Skillshare:
- Skillshare is an online learning community for creators and entrepreneurially-minded individuals, with more than 17,000 classes in design, business, photography, and more.
- Everyone can take a class, try a project, and even teach a class themselves.
- Premium Membership begins around $8 a month for unlimited access to learning.
17,000- that is a staggering number! Choose away!
Doodlewash® is about all things watercolor, but because of what I shared above, some of the classes I found an interest in weren’t necessarily watercolor related. I like that I can take a class on my lunch hour (most Skillshare classes are 30-45 minutes long). My focus around the time of writing this was learning botanical sketching and illustration techniques for a new herb and flower journal that I’m starting.
My style tends to be a bit weedy and wild. I’m not looking to change it, but add to it for keeping a different type of journal. These are standard for me and in a Hobonichi Techo.
I wanted to learn to be a little cleaner and illustrate. I used a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series here.
I completed these with the help of two classes- Botanical Line Drawing the Cactus & Succulent Edition with instructor Peggy Dean- it was nice to focus on the clean and simple lines in this one. She went over 20 different cacti! Watercolor Herbs with instructor Louise De Masi was another great class- the video had lovely sweeping views. De Masi went over three different types of herbs and I learned how to layer on several different colors of watercolor to add depth. In explaining her process she offered a way I’ve never considered to get an image down on paper- tracing from your own photo. I was happy with how my first Rosemary try came out, it only gets better from here! Both classes helped me to get closer to my goals.
I checked out Logo Design with Draplin: Secrets of Shape, Type and Color, from Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. He’s a passionate character who, among other things, designs for Field Notes memo books. I’m a fan of those little books and always have one in my bag.
There were so many classes on hand lettering and brush lettering, lots of basic watercolor technique classes, and all kinds of classes on things like digital art, how to turn your ideas into a high growth startup, and even one called How to Make French Macarons (I love those delicate little cookies). There are tons of experts teaching on Skillshare as well like- Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki. You get the idea.
The classes I looked at were anywhere from only nine minutes to almost two hours. Classes can be saved to come back to later. There was a nice feature where the classes could be narrowed down by length of time, say if you only had 15-30 minutes, it would populate the classes that fit that criteria. Eat lunch, take a quick class, and end up with a little sketch. Classes are broken into helpful and manageable segments, so it’s easy to watch certain parts, and come back later to pick up where you left off, or skip over parts. In the event that you are feeling speedy or slow, the play speed of the video can be adjusted. Instructors share what supplies they are using, so it’s a great way to learn about those and decide if it’s worth it to you to make a supply purchase. Instructors can be communicated with to answer questions. People share their work by uploading projects, it’s nice to see what other people have learned. You can also complete your own project and upload it to Skillshare and receive feedback from others.
I only viewed one super short class in which I thought the video, instruction and sound quality weren’t great (which is hard to avoid with over 17,000 classes). All the others I watched were really well done though. Like anything in life, use your discernment. I like that if I find one instructor I really like, I could click on the instructor’s profile and find all the other classes that they offer. To sum up, not only is Skillshare a great way to learn new skills, it’s also a way to find inspiration if your creativity isn’t at its peak, or you are experiencing a creative block.
It’s winter, meaning it’s a great time stay warm inside taking classes. It might also make a nice gift.
The best part about all of this- there is no spoon.
Happy painting and sketching!
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