Why I Love Skillshare // An Online Creative Learning Community

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats // Skillshare Calligraphy 101 Project by Jitney's Journeys

If you've had a face-to-face conversation with me in the past year, I probably mentioned my love for Skillshare at one point or another. Why? Because I'm obsessed. I think it's one of the greatest creative communities of all-time and I've consumed more knowledge through the classes, teachers and students than I have in years.

Skillshare is an online learning community for creators. Unlike traditional study, online classes at Skillshare are taught by industry experts and focus on learning by doing. The courses, which are not accredited, accept anyone who wants to learn.

I grew up in a wonderfully creative home. My parents always nourished the wild curiosities and adventurous endeavors that my brother, Chase, and I put our minds to. They never squashed our excitement for new projects (regardless of how crazy, messy or strange they were). In fact, they encouraged them.

However, my design background started in a high school journalism classroom with one of my favorite teachers, Brian Cole. He taught the intricacies of InDesign and photography. While writing copy was somewhat enjoyable, I couldn't get enough of playing with different layouts. I continued to Auburn where I studied public relations and finished out my degree working as a marketing / PR intern at Mammoth Printshop where I had the opportunity to sit alongside Whitney Zech, a phenomenal graphic designer who rekindled a crazy passion for design within my soul. She taught me the basics of Illustrator and it was over for me. I couldn't get enough of it. But then I graduated and JD & I moved to a small town so I was basically on my own for learning. I wasn't sure where to go for that (unless I went back to school), so I focused instead on arts and crafts for a few years until Chase told me about Skillshare. It took me a while before I signed up but I asked my friend, Ashley, to join me in one of the handlettering projects and she was in. 

I'm semi-embarrassed to admit that I'm always one for free trials then dropping the 'service' when the trial period is over but Skillshare is one of the few things I believe in paying for. After the first free month, I became addicted to learning these new skills. A lot of people ask how I have time to watch the videos and do the challenges. I'll tell you how: I make time for it. I make it a priority. I believe in learning. I believe in excelling. I believe in expanding your skills. I believe in joining in community with others so that we can be better. (Plus, it helps that I work solo in the studio all day and have the videos playing on repeat while I work on custom projects). During every trip we've taken in the past year, I've focused on one class and one project. It's because of Skillshare that I've been exposed to true techniques of handlettering, calligraphy, surface pattern design and so many other design niches. 

The most recent project I've finished is the Calligraphy 101 class, taught by Bryn Chernoff. I couldn't describe Skillshare in any better light than this: 

Calligraphy 101 Skillshare Project by Whitney Todd @ Jitney's Journeys

'Picking the phrase or quote' was definitely the most difficult part of this challenge for me. It was so hard to narrow it down but I wanted to use a phrase that has encouraged me as a creative, in hopes that it will encourage all of you as well! 

I was sharing with my friend, Lauren (from the Department of Agraculture), the other day about how I quickly plunge from inspired to discouraged when scrolling through my Instagram feed and Pinterest. At first, I feel like, "Yes! I can do this. I can create something wonderful too!" But then the disillusionment of, "No, I can't. Everyone is accomplishing so much more than me," sets in. Lauren quickly diffused this by sharing John F. Kennedy's quote: "A rising tide lifts all boats." Even though Kennedy was referring to the economy in this speech, one of the creatives she follows on IG shared the quote in a post and wrote about how this is the same effect for creatives. When one of us is successful, it's like a rising tide and it lifts us all to succeed as well. Instead of getting discouraged by others' success, we should be excited for them, knowing that it is a sweet tide of success, lifting up the world of creativity, knowing that s/he is making a way for us all, creating opportunity. 

Don't get me wrong, I still get discouraged every now and then, but that perspective changed a lot for me. When I see the teachers and students of Skillshare, I see this quote played into motion. So many have been willing to share skills that we wouldn't be able to have access to otherwise. Because of the variety of classes offered, we're able to create that tide, to build skill on top of skill, and to reach new levels of creativity we've only imagined. I've been deeply inspired by this community coupled with the encouragement and tips we're able to give one another. 

Check out my full project and steps here. Want to join in on the fun with Skillshare? Get a free month membership here! Let me know which class you take and maybe we can take it together!