4 Tips from a New Skillshare Teacher

Last month I launched my first ever Skillshare class entitled 'Food Illustration: Design your Favourite Fruity Recipe' I will admit it sure was a challenge and a long journey, before I hit that final 'publish' button. Here is the intro video to this class.

You can access the class HERE

These are my points to remember if you are considering becoming a Skillshare teacher

TIP 1 - DO NOT BE DAUNTED BY THE CLASS NOTES

Do follow the step by step approach laid out by the Skillshare team. Their advice is plentiful, far reaching and sound - they really want you to succeed !!! If in doubt just email them and they are happy to help.

TIP 2 - DECONSTRUCT THE PROJECT

Think in terms of producing a project that would be EASY for you e.g. watercolour whatever  and turn it around, so you look at it from the eyes of a relative novice student. You may want to ask yourself:

-what materials or programs would they need

-how can I make the class videos as short and to the point as possible without leaving out important content

- what technique(s) will they learn

- what prior knowledge would they need for successful completion of the project ( e.g. basic Photoshop?)

Ohn Mar Skillshare drawing fruit.jpg

TIP 3 - RECORDING THE CLASSES IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK

Make friends with the Modify>split clip> delete step in iMovie to rid videos of all there 'errs' and awkward pauses. I soon realised it was much better simply repeat the sentence again if I fluffed it than to record a whole new screencast ( where you record the screen of the Mac) When it came to editing it was much smoother.

TIP 4 - DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE THE MARKETING

Skillshare point out that it is vital to have 25 student enrolments in the first two weeks to show in their trending classes.  Here are some of the methods I used to bring awareness to my class:

- a week before the launch I linked my intro video (on Vimeo) to the profile of my IG to direct followers to it

- there were free class enrolment giveaways

-  I created short animation which played on a loop in IG using the food icons created for this class

-  I have reposted illustrated recipes created by students on IG to remind folks of my class 

-  had a giveaway of a set of my foodie postcards for the 1000th student to sign up

 

As mentioned right at the beginning it has only been a month since this first class launched however I feel that its been a worthwhile undertaking. Such has been the overwhelming positive response I felt compelled to work on another one with more guidance from Skillshare.

Again I chose a particular strength of mine which is drawing, and tried to condense it into a challenge with pen, paper and a timer. It is not a new concept but as creative sometimes we overthink and get in the way of ourselves. Committing to just drawing in three minutes can help with gaining fluency and confidence with drawing, and impact in other areas of your art life. You can watch the intro video to 3 Minute Drawing Challenge below.

And you can access this drawing challenge class HERE

Unexpected results from Elizabeth Olwens Skillshare class

For ages I had been meaning to use my free months of classes with Skillshare that a friend had gifted me. And late last year I was invited to join 'In Da House' Facebook group to produce designs based on houses which are trending at the moment. I'm afraid I never did anything about either until two weeks ago. But the two options seemed to fit in quite purposefully when I activated my Skillshare account.

I chose to start with Elizabeth Olwen's Skillshare class as I do lack confidence creating patterns ( I know even now) She's a great teacher with many useful tips which I was able to incorporate when selecting my layout. However I decided to ignore her recommendation NOT to use Livetrace as I felt she was referring to pencil sketches. I pretty much rely on my brush pen or dip pen and ink.

I chose Paris as I have many many fond memories of time spent there over the last 20 years. The streets are so elegant, full of character, and with much attention to detail. You can read more about my process here on the Skillshare site. So I uploaded my final project and thought 'nice project' and didn't expect much feedback. There were a few 'likes' and nice comments so I was pleased anyhow.

However I got rather a shock when it was the featured student project on Skillshare's Instagram feed just a few days later. There were a flurry of more' likes' and more super supportive comments. It gets better... 'Parisian Houses' was then featured on their email as a trending project. I suddenly had new followers on my Instagram, and the numbers have been steadily climbing since.

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All this was certainly unexpected and unplanned. But I'm very grateful for the way its all worked out- even if it could be a fluke.  I feel this could platform could be great for of self promotion. One thing I noticed is there are over 7,000 students enrolled into this class (at time of this bog) but only 157 student projects in the gallery. In fact this seems to be the trend. In the next class I aim to take by Mary Kate McDevitt there are well over 6,00students enrolled but only 50 projects in the class gallery. Why don't people post their projects? Since that is the only way other students and the teachers themselves will understand your process and the finished result. Yes by doing so you would be open to being vulnerable if you don't feel you aren't receive 'likes'. In this instance I choose to be brave and show the Skillshare community and feel I reaped some pretty cool rewards.

NEW SKILLS with Skillshare

I've become rather addicted to Skillshare classes, which I'll be blogging about in the next few weeks as I've signed up for so many. First I'm starting with

Matt Kaufenberg's Character Illustration

. It was to design & illustrate a pirate character using Illustrator and Photoshop.

Delving into my past again now. Many years ago my art director ( at a greetings card studio) had said the boy character I'd drawn for a birthday card was 'scary' and the client would be horrified. It didn't go any further than that. In the intervening decade I didn't draw anymore characters as I'd been so put off by that negative response.

So with this course I wised to overcome that fear. Its not that I don't want draw kids, or things with faces, or cute -I just felt they would all look scary! I ignored the pirates and concentrated on some Christmas designs I was excited by. Matt's instructions were very clear, and he had so many cool tips. It starts by tracing your sketch in Illustrator, releasing it as layers then exporting to Photoshop.

That's were the fun really begins. As part of the package were links to Photoshop brushes which I greedily uploaded. OOohh the fun I had - I had missed texture so much. I was extremely pleased with the results, I couldn't believe I had made this art. I had felt it was just beyond me. Now I can see other applications for this wonderful technique (for me) - expect to see more of it in the coming months.