Hand-lettering by Skillshare teacher Mary Kate McDevitt.
We believe in the importance of creativity in design and want you to learn from some of the top designers and makers teaching their craft. Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re unlocking 6 brand-new design classes:
Freelance illustrator and designer, Lydia Nichols, teaches The Best of Both Worlds: Leveraging Photoshop and Illustrator In Your Work, a Skillshare class on exploring ways to use Illustrator and Photoshop in tandem to uncover new possibilities with your work. Through her project assignment, she tasks her students with illustrating their favorite city. Lydia launched her class in February and has enrolled nearly 2,000 students since. To help you get started on your own class, we asked Lydia to share some insights from her experience with teaching on Skillshare.
Lydia: Skillshare reached out to me about teaching and the more I looked into it, the more I realized how valuable a tool Skillshare can be. I love to teach (and to learn) and it’s been a thrill to teach in the classroom at school’s like MICA and Moore, but I know that the classroom setting isn’t for everyone. Sometimes you need to supplement what you’re learning, you’re in a job that requires new skills or you just want to learn something for your own sake. The accessibility and pacing of Skillshare make it a great choice for any of these scenarios and also allows teachers to share very specific skills instead of just broad, cursory overviews.
How did you decide what you would teach?
Lydia: Skillshare had some suggestions and we both agreed that an interesting route to take would be one that combines two programs—Illustrator and Photoshop. Since I use this approach pretty regularly in my own work, I felt super comfortable and excited with the idea.
How did you choose a class project for your students?
Lydia: People identify with and take pride in their favorite places and things so it seemed like a no-brainer to focus on a city. It allowed students to either hone in on one city attribute or explore a whole slew of their favorite things.
How long did it take you to create your class?
Lydia: It was floating around in my brain for a little bit, but probably took a solid weekend to put together. Again, since I’m so familiar with the subject matter, that was the easy part. The hard part was articulating that information clearly and concisely in a way that students of varying skill levels could all identify with.
How did you initially market your class?
Lydia: The usual social media suspects: Twitter, Instagram, Dribbble, Tumblr. I’m not on Facebook, so that potentially left a hole in outreach, but I think word got around just the same.
How did you engage with your students? What kind of things have you done to interact with them?
Lydia: Just being on Skillshare to check out posted projects and to answer or mediate any questions goes a long way. This isn’t your ordinary classroom situation, so people aren’t expecting constant one-on-one attention. However, it’s still important to be engaged and to offer feedback especially when someone explicitly asks for it.
What’s your favorite part of the teaching on Skillshare experience?
Lydia: It’s really neat to see how people use the information I’ve shared. All I’ve done is introduce students to tools and processes, but how they adopt those tools is totally up to them! Despite the fact that most contemporary illustrators and designers are all using the same tools (Photoshop, Illustrator) you can get some pretty wildly different results! It all depends on the user, which makes it such a fun and exciting field!
Feeling inspired? Get started teaching your own class here: www.skillshare.com/teach
Today, the leadership expert shares his secrets for giving a presentation that will have people on the edge of their seats in How to Present: Share Ideas that Inspire Action. In just 30 minutes, students will learn how to present ideas with passion, conviction, clarity and energy. During the class shoot at Skillshare headquarters, Sinek shared his thoughts about living in NYC, the next skills he wants like to learn, and the one Skillshare class he can’t wait to take.
How does living in New York affect your work? Simon: New York is the only city I’ve found so far that goes faster than me, so I find that very relaxing, believe it or not. You have no choice but to take a deep breath. And for someone like me with a curious mind and shiny objects syndrome, there’s a lot to keep my mind occupied. There are lots of things to do and lots of fascinating people. It’s not a one industry kind of town, so I love that. I find it to be a quite a bubbly place. I know an economist who refers it to as “yogurtville” because it’s full of live culture.
What skill do you want to learn next? Simon: There are personal skills I would like to improve upon. There’s one skill that I’m actively engaged in learning right now which is learning to be a better communicator with my friends. I’m pretty good with strangers and I’m learning to be better with the people that I keep close to me. There’s a lot of room for improvement and I’m working on it.
The other thing I’d like to be better at is something that you may think I should be good at by now, which is understanding the structure and function of numbers inside organizations. I’m fascinated by it and its implications to the human environments. There’s a lot of learning for me to do there.
If you could take a Skillshare class from anyone living or deceased who would it be? Simon: I think I would like to take a class on oratory and rhetoric by Winston Churchill. He’s an unlikely character to lead during the times he did, but he had a remarkable ability to rally a nation to go through struggle and sacrifice in a matter where I think a few leaders today have the capacity to do.
We’re thrilled to announce two huge leaps to a more accessible and open version of Skillshare: the launch of Free Memberships and the opportunity for anyone to teach on Skillshare (along with a brand-new classroom design)!
Free Memberships allow anyone to watch video lessons for one hour per month, every month. As a Free Member, you’ll have full access to all classes, including all community features (including discussions and projects), forever. If you choose, you can upgrade anytime to a Premium Membership, which includes unlimited access, and much more.
We believe that everyone has something to teach. Starting today, we’re removing all approval processes, allowing anyone to teach anything. Any topic, any class length, across any skill level. We’ve also overhauled the class creation process, removing half of the fields, simplifying class tags, and allowing project guides to take any form teachers choose. For the first time, creating a class is easier and faster.
At the same time, we’ve built community-driven curation tools to ensure the highest-quality classes continue to rise to the top. With a simplified algorithm, our community of students will drive how the best classes are discovered, shared, and made a success.
This transformation has been years in the making, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring Skillshare to even more people around the world!
Last week, we hosted a series of InstaWalks – inspiring photography adventures in some of our favorite cities around the world! Skillsharers had a blast connecting with other photographers to exchange photography tips all while capturing their city’s unique vibe.
Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite photos from the #SkillshareInstaWalk.
One randomly selected winner will receive a brand new iPhone 6+, everything to make your phone the perfect camera from Photojojo, and a lifetime Skillshare membership to grow their photography skill set.
The 10 participants with the most contest shares will each receive a Skillshare annual membership.
Enter for a chance to win today. Share with friends and get an extra entry for each one who enters!
Tiago Forte teaches Get Stuff Done, a Skillshare class on workflow design and productivity. In his first month teaching, Tiago made over $3,000 from his class. A year later, he has enrolled over 8K students and continues to receive stellar reviews. We asked Tiago to share his thoughts on the hurdles that keep people from teaching online and why he believes that anyone can overcome them.
I created an online Skillshare class on productivity last year that has enrolled more than 8,000 students, and since then have become very passionate about helping others do the same.
But in talking to numerous people about teaching online, on topics ranging from bicycle repair to finding your chakras to hacking blood sugar to living as a digital nomad, I’ve noticed the same handful of misconceptions holding them back.
I want to demolish them once and for all, and encourage people with something to say to share their knowledge with the world.
#1 I’m not an expert
This belief fundamentally mistakes the nature of teaching in the digital age. It is no longer about knowing all the facts and answers — we have Google for that — its about being a passionate curator and a guide.
A curator pulls together content from many sources and carefully selects only the most relevant parts, saving you the time of sifting through mountains of information.
A guide understands that you can only learn by doing, and guides you along a path where you can make your own discoveries and mistakes.
It doesn’t take the world’s greatest expert to spend a few weeks or months researching a topic, curating only the best content, thinking of a simple project that demonstrates these strategies, and then guiding total novices on how to complete it. In fact, the world’s greatest expert on your topic is extremely unlikely to go through the trouble.
And let me tell you a secret: it is this very process of helping, advising, encouraging, and troubleshooting with your students that will give you true expertise. Teaching is not the last stop on your learning journey; it’s one of the first.
#2 I don’t have any original ideas
Having new ideas (assuming, first of all, that such a thing actually exists) has nothing to do with being a good teacher. There is so much good content out there on virtually any conceivable topic — instead of waiting for a creative epiphany, how about simply connecting people in need with tried and tested strategies?
Cite your sources, respect copyrights and trademarks, and include links to the originals, and you will be surprised that your sources will actually be grateful for the referral traffic. You are giving them for free the most effective form of marketing in existence: thought leader recommendations.
#3 I don’t have the right skills
The skills required to create an online class are the same ones many of us use every day on social media: taking pictures, making short videos, creating slides, writing text, and commenting on students’ projects.
The required tools are more accessible than ever: our smartphones can take high-quality photos and video, and most personal computers have basic image and video-editing software preinstalled.
If you want to take it up a notch (which I recommend), Skillshare classes themselves are the perfect way to acquire new capabilities quickly:
My efforts at creating a logo for my class, in Evan Huwa’s class on logo design
The great thing about these classes is they are all project-based, so instead of creating a sample project just for fun, you will actually be creating a deliverable to use in your own class. As an extra bonus, you’ll be learning the best practices from teachers who have come before you.
#4 There’s already a class on my topic
Think about this: there is a group of people somewhere out there that you, and only you, are perfectly prepared to reach.
Maybe it’s the way you think, the way you explain things, the analogies and metaphors you use, the level of abstraction or practical application, the media you use, the project you pick, your tone and personality, the relative balance between text, photos, videos, and slides…the list of potential variations is literally endless.
You aren’t the very best in any single area, but that doesn’t matter. Absolutely no one has the exact combination of skills and perspectives that you have, and therefore no one is going to create exactly the same experience in the same way to reach the same group of learners.
I don’t know if this group is 50 people, 500 people, or 5,000, but in a world of 3 billion internet users and rising, finding a niche is easier than ever.
#5 I can’t take time away from my job/business/weekend/vacation/etc.
Creating a good online class is a significant commitment, let’s make no mistake.
To reach the levels of quality that are needed to enroll significant numbers and produce significant income will probably take more learning, experimentation, and hustling than you expect.
But to finish this list on a positive note, here are 5 reasons you should do it anyway:
Don’t put it off because it will take a lot of time; that time will pass anyway. Might as well get something useful out of it.
We are in the very beginning stages of an online education movement I believe will change the world. Get in on the ground floor while competition and expectations are low, and be part of the revolution.
An online class is the best business development tool I have ever encountered: it is the perfect way to build your thought leadership and spread your ideas far and wide, while at the same time building credibility and a lead qualification process that is far more effective than cold-calling.
You are probably already creating online content for yourself or your business (blog, Instagram photos, Facebook posts, Medium posts, etc. — why not get paid for it?
Selling online content is one of the most effective ways for freelancers and subject matter experts to create passive income. Even if it’s small, it goes a long way toward balancing out the cyclical nature of contract work.
There is someone out there that is waiting to hear what you have to say. With the immense knowledge, resources, and skills you have at your disposal comes the great responsibility of making your voice heard — luckily we live in an age where discharging that responsibility is easier (and more profitable) than ever.
Tiago’s next class, Design Your Habits, on creating sustainable personal habits, comes out later this month. Sign up here to hear when it goes live. To learn more about teaching your own class, enroll in this class on teaching at Skillshare.
To kickoff the launch of the School of Photography, we’ll be hosting a series of InstaWalks from October 6-9. It’s the perfect way to connect with other Skillsharers, exchange photography tips, and capture your city’s unique vibe! Attend a meetup and find your city. Don’t forget to tag your photos with #SkillshareInstaWalk – we’ll feature the best photos on Instagram!
In preparation, here are some mobile photography tips that Skillshare teachers and Instagram enthusiasts Dan Rubin and Tyson Wheatley shared with Popular Photogrpahy Magazine this week to use at #SkillshareInstaWalk.
Like it or not, there are 60 million new photos uploaded to Instagram every single day. If the iPhone changed digital photography when it was released in 2007—Instagram’s launch in 2010 revolutionized it.
“I loved it right away and it made me shoot every day,” says Dan Rubin, co-founder of The Photographic Journal. “I think the ease of sharing instantly made me feel like taking pictures where ever I went.”
Although the purpose of the app has remained relatively consistent in the past four years, Instagram shooters have gotten much more sophisticated. Dogs, breakfast and selfies still eat up a considerable amount of bandwidth in the Insta world, but plenty of users doing more with the app.
Skillshare teachers and Instagram enthusiasts Dan Rubin (Mobile Post-Production: Editing Your Photos) and Tyson Wheatley (The Possibilities of Instagram: Sharing Your Best Photos) dished on eight tips to improve your iPhone photography and Instagram feed.
1. Good Instagram Photos Take Planning
Just like shooting film or digitally—capturing good photographs for Instagram requires planning. Occasionally there are happy accidents, but according to Wheatley these are rare. “It’s about putting yourself in a position to get a good photo,” says Wheatley. Location scouting, experimenting with angles and, of course, planning around the light remain very important for capturing a great photo for Instagram.
2. Take a lot of Photos
Getting an amazing picture to share on Instagram doesn’t take just one shot. Both Wheatley and Rubin said they shoot throughout the day, often taking 10-20 frames of a single subject.
Rubin says he finds the new “favorite” photo feature in iOS 8 particularly helpful when he is shooting for Instagram. “It’s only been a week and a half that I’ve had iOS 8, but I started [using favorites] and now it’s part of my workflow,” he says. “It is very similar to my Lightroom workflow for my DSLR.”
3. Golden Hour and Blue Hour Still Count
While Cortex Cam can be useful for image capture in dark spaces it goes without saying that smartphones perform better in well-lit spaces.
“You always have to be really cognizant of light because lowlight and backlight are really problematic for the iPhone,” says Wheatley. “Golden hour and blue hour those are going to be your best time for creating photos. I think you need to think about programing your day around them. I know I certainly do.”
4. Try Third Party Editing Apps and Edit in Phases
“Flexibility came into play the minute that Instagram allowed importing images from the camera roll,” says Rubin. “Once that happened it meant photographers weren’t restricted to just using the Instagram filter set.”
Rubin believes many of the current editing apps are a direct result of Instagram freeing users from the preset filters—and while VSCO is still the gold standard for most mobile shooters, there are plenty of other apps that are great for micro adjustments. Here are some of Rubin and Wheatley’s favorites.
-Snapseed: Free full feature editor, with a selective adjust option that allows you to place adjustment points on one area of an image and adjust brightness, contrast and saturation individually.
-TouchRetouch:$0.99 clone tool good for getting rid of blemishes in an image.
-Anticrop: $0.99, works like Photoshop’s content aware fill. “Rather than cropping in, you are cropping out,” says Rubin. “It doesn’t really work all the time, but for things like skies and lakes, anything that is plain enough, it does a fantastic job.”
-Afterlight: $0.99 full feature editor, an old favorite of Rubin’s. Wheatley likes to use it to add a white border around photos that don’t fit the standard square Instagram crop.
-VSCO Cam: Free with In App Purchases. This full feature editor is the preferred photo-processing app of most mobile shooters and where Rubin and Wheatley say they do most of their major adjustments: sharpness, cropping, temperature, white balance, exposure, contrast and sometimes applying a VSCO preset. “I love the selection of presets, they suit my editing style and that helps me have a more consistent look to my images,” says Rubin.
Wheatley says he avoids doing any editing inside Instagram, but Rubin will occasionally use a preset in his final edit. “It’s a whole lot easier now because of the extra control. You can apply one of those filters and then you can dial it down,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll add the tiniest bit of Rise or Valencia, but at like five or six percent to give a slight edge when I post.”
As a teacher on Skillshare, your job is to give your students the tools they need to create an amazing project to share with the class. In addition to your video lessons, you’ll do this through the Project Assignment section of your class. The assignment you give your students should include a constraint that provides your students with a clear direction for what to create. For example – “Write a piece of creative nonfiction on the most mysterious person you know.” With this specific prompt, students are able to dive in and get started right away.
Within your class creator, you’ll notice that the Project Assignment section consists of an open text-field that you can use however you’d like. We encourage you to be creative and use this space to give your students all the resources and inspiration they need to create something awesome!
Here are a few things to include in your assignment:
Title – your project title should start with an action verb and clearly indicate what students will create. Include your specific project constraint in your title – instead of “Create a hand-lettered envelope,” try “Create a uniquely hand-lettered envelope to surprise a friend in the mail.”
Description – provide an overview of what students will create and why this project will allow them to hone their skills. Indicate which video lessons students should focus on when working on the project. Also be sure to include any necessary materials that students will need to complete the assignment.
Deliverable – outline what your students’ final project should include. What does a completed project look like?
Checkpoints – break down the assignment info smaller steps that can be shared in the project gallery for feedback. Encourage your students to share initial thoughts and inspiration, a first draft, or anything else that allows them to demonstrate their work in progress. It’s also helpful to provide tips for what students should look for when providing each other with feedback.
Additional resources – include additional resources to inspire and assist your students as they work on their assignment. These can include articles, interviews, graphs, images, Ted Talks, Youtube videos, and anything else you think will be helpful.
Project Assignment PDF – attach a PDF version of the assignment instructions at the bottom of the guide so that students can access it separately if they so choose.
Here are some great examples of project assignments from other teachers:
Exciting news! This fall, we’re teaming up with more than 20 iconic photographers to bring you the Skillshare School of Photography. Each week, we’re unlocking a new photography class full of cutting-edge techniques and creative inspiration. Whether you have a pro DSLR or an everyday smartphone, these classes will challenge you to capture a unique perspective that’s all your own.
Every half-hour class has an inspiring project that sends you out into the world to seek and capture your experience in a stunning, shareable way. Snap photos of your morning coffee with Instagram food photographer Adam Goldberg, and record incredible landscapes on vacation with National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale. Capture adventures with your friends with Instagram pro Brenton Little, and use your iPhone to record the hustle and bustle of your city through Hyperlapse videos with Dave Krugman. You’ll walk away with dozens of captivating photos for your portfolio!
In addition to classes, we’re bringing you photography events, contests and AMAs throughout the fall. From October 6-9, we’ll be hosting InstaWalks: inspiring Instagram adventures in some of our favorite cities. Find your city and join a meetup. Also, each week, teachers will host special AMA sessions, where you can ask questions and seek photography advice. And, starting today, students who post photo projects will be eligible to win trips, prizes, and have their work featured in a variety of outlets, including Skillshare’s blog, Instagram feeds, and more!
Check out all 22 upcoming classes and explore a few breathtaking images from our photography teachers below.
Instagram pro Brenton Little photographs a friend with incredible light and perspective.
Instagram food photographer Adam Goldberg starts off his morning with a beautiful snap of breakfast.
National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale captures this image while on assignment in Kashmir.
Capture unique images and take your photography adventures to the next level by enrolling today at skillshare.com/photo!