Increase the Value You Can Provide as a Designer

Living in the information age, we have access to an incredible wealth of knowledge. One of my favorite resources for learning is Skillshare: an online teaching and learning platform. So, in this weeks newsletter, I want to talk about how using Skillshare can increase the value you provide as a designer.

Skillshare - A Place where Knowledge Flows like Wine and Talented People Flock like the Salmon of Capistrano
Skillshare has attracted some of the most talented professionals to teach online classes, and we as students have an incredible opportunity to soak up as much knowledge as we can. Whether you are interested in Design, Photography, Business, Film, Technology, Fashion, Music, Gaming, Culinary, DIY, Writing, or Crafts, there is a class on Skillshare just waiting for you! Teachers curate and record video lessons for their class project, and then students can enroll and watch the videos at their own pace. Students are encouraged to share their progress in the class project gallery, so other students can see what they are doing and offer helpful feedback. 

Receive Critique from the Skillshare Community - Improve the Quality of your Work
Since your project will be posted to the public Project Gallery, other students can view your progress and leave comments along the way. Constructive criticism from the Skillshare community will act as your second set of eyes, helping you evaluate your project. Since art and design are subjective, it’s nice to have a second set of eyes on your work. 

Community engagement, in my experience, spikes when a class is recently introduced to the platform and a lot of students have signed up and have already started their projects. Since there will be a lot of eyes on the class page, you are more likely to receive feedback. But this is not to say you should refrain from signing up for an older class because you might not receive feedback. Outside of the critique, knowledge shared in the video lessons are invaluable. 

Provide Critique for the Skillshare Community  - Help Others Improve their Skills, While Simultaneously Strengthening Your Own Conceptual Skills
By providing constructive critique to a fellow student, you will be doing two things. First of all, you will be helping another student grow and think about their project in a new light. And secondly, by taking the time to think critically about another students work, you will in effect be flexing and strengthening your own conceptual thinking skills.

Skillshare works best when students are engaged and offer each other advice. As fellow students and artists, we should lift each other up, and offer our honest feedback. To give good feedback, I recommend reading through the student’s entire project before critiquing their work. Students are encouraged to tell a story while sharing their process, so they most likely will have shared their thought process during the creation of their project thus far. Once we understand their perspective, we can offer our thoughts while being cognizant of the reasoning behind their design decisions. 

Knowledge is Power -  Learn Multiple Disciplines and Become Well-Rounded
The way I look at it, the more knowledge and skills we acquire, the more confident we become in our ability to take on any creative project. As a graphic artist, it’s helpful to understand illustration as well as lettering, typography, and photo editing and manipulation. Skillshare has multiple classes on each of these topics, and after watching just a few videos from a class, we can learn techniques that took the teacher years to acquire. In this way, we have a unique opportunity to learn and grow our skills faster than ever.

After taking a few classes, you will notice that every professional has their unique creative process. For instance, lettering artist and typographer Simon Walker spends most of his creative process working digitally, while Martina Flor is a lettering artist who refines her work with pencil and tracing paper, creating rapid iterations until her sketch is as close to final as possible. 

I used Martina’s rapid iteration process to hand letter the word Value.    

I used Martina’s rapid iteration process to hand letter the word Value.

If you prefer the method of one teacher over the other, you can tailor your creative process in that direction. The idea here is to take as many classes as you can, so you can figure out which methods work best for you.

Cultivate a Desire to Learn - Never Stop Learning
All it takes is a little self-discipline to sit down and commit to learning, but I promise you, once you realize how much you can get out of online classes, you will start to fuel a desire to learn. Like never before, we have access to the tips, tricks, and techniques of countless professionals who are actively working in their chosen field of study. 

Let me take you under my wing - I am publishing a Skillshare class!

This May, I will be participating in the Skillshare Teaching Challenge in an effort to complete and publish my first online class by the end of the month.! I’ll be teaching Illustrative Lettering and my class will be called Turn Letters Into Art. The project will be to letter and illustrate your favorite letter or your initial. I’ll teach you how to come up with ideas for your project, techniques for lettering and drawing, and digital techniques within photoshop! You don't need to have impeccable drawing skills to create beautiful letters and art, and I hope to share with you some powerful knowledge that will help you create anything you set your mind to. Feel free to follow me on Skillshare, and I’ll make sure to keep you updated on my progress!