The Self-Taught Artist

Skillshare for Creative Thinking

creative thinking post

Learning online has become an addiction for me, however in the beginning I was constantly striving to try to recreate the same thing that the teacher did.

Quickly I realized that this wasn’t how I liked to learn. I am not a project based learner. I need to understand the thinking and creative process as I struggle a lot with coming up with new ideas. Technique aside, you can become the worlds most capable watercolorist but if you want to illustrate things, it takes more than drawing skills.

These teachers are a class a part and set the bar for other Skillshare teachers. I personally don’t like “tutorial” style classes. I watch those on YouTube, but a teacher’s thinking process is what makes these valuable.

If you’re like me and you want to skip the “how to paint a _____” and more how to create your own _____, these are the best classes and teachers. Plus a couple of classes that are just too useful!

  1. Odd Bodies by Tom Froese
    This is a brand new class. I was recovering from surgery and binged watched it, but it was so compelling that I had to get up and do some of the exercises. The result was surprising. I never thought I would be able to ever break free from the “eight head” figure.
  2.  Casual Hand Lettering: From Drawing To Digitizing with Linda and David
    I had watched other lettering classes in which being exact with extrema points and pixel-perfect (is that still a term?) rendition were overwhelming to me. I love casual and loose. This class is short and to the point. I loved it!
  3.  Radical Typography: Using Hand-Drawn Branding for Expression & More with James Victore
    This is one of Skillshare’s earlier classes, I hadn’t watched it because I was still stuck on the step-by-step thing. James Victore is so direct you have no choice but to go and make a mess in your studio. Result: this mug, which is more an art piece than a simple ceramic thing to drink coffee from.
  4.  Expressive Illustration: From Ideas to Execution with Roman Muradov
    I love Roman Muradov’s work. This is a step-by-step class but what makes it more compelling is his initial thought process. The word lists and how he comes up with a concept for an illustration. The result is breathtaking.
  5.  Design For Meaning: Creating Effective and Artistic Book Cover Designs with Peter Mendelsund
    Again, a master sharing his thinking process. From reading a text, finding the keywords and coming up with a concept. The stuff jealousy is made of.
  6.  Draw Your Life: Intro to Illustrated Journaling with Mimi Chao
    Super fun class if you want to document your life in images and drawings.
  7. Leveling Up Your Art Game: The Elements & Principles of Design with Dylan Mierzwinski
    What to do with inspiration? Sometimes we endlessly collect images and then we don’t know what to do with them. How do you use them? And how do you self-critique? Here Dylan shares her process of how she takes her inspiration to finished pieces and how she uses the elements of design to evaluate the work.
  8. Learn the Art of Inspiration: Strategies to Create Unique Work  if you struggle to use reference images just as inspiration and you wind up copying too much, this class offers a technique to use all your inspiration and combine it to create something unique.
  9. Writing Essays: Making the Personal Universal If you want to write essays but you find prompts uninspiring, this class almost renovates my faith in them. The teacher has excellent techniques to start writing something compelling. I used this class to write an essay I submitted to a magazine.
  10. Kickstart your Creativity: Introduction to Mood Boards with Nancy Hermann
    Again, as I am someone who curates and collects a lot of stuff: images, quotes, photos, etc. This class helped me distill moodboards into something I can make my own.

The process of finding your style, your voice, your OWN way of doing things is quite difficult today, despite having all the resources available. Having so many choices means being able to see what others are doing and it’s difficult to not be influenced. This is why these classes have made a huge difference in my learning this year.

Thank you to all the teachers who have put their hearts into their teaching!

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