My First Class on Skillshare

As a self taught graphic designer I have felt a little late to the game. I never went to art college, I have never used Adobe software, I only recently bought my first iPad! I’ve long been put off from the idea of seriously pursuing my desire to become a professional freelance designer and illustrator because I’ve felt there are skills that are too complex for me to get to grips with without forking out a tonne of money and committing to a course. After over twenty years in educational systems and two undergraduate degrees already under my belt how can I possibly justify retraining AGAIN in a field that is already competitive and overcrowded?

I have found an affordable and exciting way in and I am thrilled about it. I recently signed up to the wonderful website Skillshare. For just £7 a month I now have access to an overwhelming number of online classes and resources aimed to encourage creativity and improve my skills in graphic design and illustration.

The first class I took was hosted by teacher Peggy Dean, a very successful artist and teacher who runs her own website The Pigeon Letters. I am so impressed with her work but I also so admire her dedication to encouraging creativity and career progression in others.

Her class was all about ‘Procreate’. I have been using this artistic App on my iPad for about six months now and I had no idea how to do half of the things that Peggy taught me! Her class was long – about two hours – but she kept me totally engaged throughout and the quality of my work has since improved ten-fold. Mainly, I am much faster than I used to be and have learnt all of the tips, tricks and shortcuts to achieving amazing digital art. You can find the lesson here.

The second class I took was hosted by Australian illustrator Gemma O’Brien. She talked us through how to create your own Letter Art – using photography, flowers and good old fashioned pen and paper. I was over the moon with the results (see below). The class took us right into Gemma’s studio and outlined her artistic process in a clear way and has inspired me to create more work using her methods.

Her process involved taking inspiration from a variety of fonts online to come up with your own sketch of a letter. She then created a template of the letter that would form the base of the art work. She used both real flowers, and photographs, and collaged them on the letter template both in reality and on Photoshop (I used Procreate) to create her final composition, which she then traced and used fine liner to add beautiful detailing. I really do recommend watching the video because she explains the process far more clearly than I can through writing!

You can access Gemma’s class here.

One of my main struggles with creating decent drawings lately has been that I have been trying to conjure them all up in my imagination – this has meant they’ve lacked detail, depth and realism. Gemma’s class taught me to use the world around me. I was recently lucky enough to receive a beautiful bouquet of amazing flowers for Valentine’s Day, so they provided much inspiration for the letter below. But I also took lots of photographs of flowers at my local supermarket too. Inspiration is everywhere if you know how to look for it.

My final piece

So to conclude my post this week I would encourage everyone that is looking to expand their creative horizons to sign up to Skill Share. In just one week I have already learned so much and I can’t wait to see what else I discover.

Have an amazing week!

Meg x

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