This post is sponsored by Skillshare, an online learning community for creative skills.
If you’d asked me six months ago whether I’d ever take a watercolor class online, I would have said no. Or at least I would have hesitated. That’d be like watching paint dry, I would have said. Welp. I’m glad you didn’t ask me, because I would have had to eat my words. I’ve been using Skillshare for the past few weeks and turns out, watching paint dry is super interesting.
I mentioned in my last newsletter that I’ve been hunting for a little watercolor set. I’ve liked the idea of using our trip to France as an opportunity to do a little something creative. I haven’t used watercolors since I was in elementary school, but I was planning to wing it; to get myself a few tubes of watercolors, and some brushes, and to maybe pick up a pad of watercolor paper once I arrived.
But when Skillshare reached out asking if I wanted to give their classes a try, I leapt at the chance to take a little bit of direction from someone else. And I’m so terribly pleased that I did. (Psst: They’re spreading the love by offering RMTL readers three months of Skillshare Premium for only $0.99 (redeem here;more details below!))
For the unfamiliar, Skillshare is an online community for learning creative skills. For a monthly fee of $10, users have access to thousands of classes taught by experts in their fields. Topics covered range from design to business, to photography, tech, crafts, film, writing…phew. If you need help brewing the perfect cup of coffee, Skillshare has your back.
For my part: I went hunting for watercolor classes.
I think the part about Skillshare that I most appreciate is that I can dabble. It’s so freeing! I can pick and choose what’s useful from a whole bunch of different classes. Classes tend to be about an hour long, but they’re broken up into digestible shorter videos, which makes hopping around even easier.
For instance, before I began, I watched the supplies lessons from a few different classes to get ideas about what tools I’d need to get started (and then spent a happy hour poking around East Village art supply stores looking for the goods). I wouldn’t have bought a waterbrush or the kind of paints that I ended up with if I hadn’t had the chance to hear from a bunch of different water colorists about their favorite supplies.
Once I had my materials gathered, I continued my dabbling.
In a class called Modern Watercolor Techniques: Beginner’s Level, for instance, I especially loved the lesson on transparencies and creating different color values from the same single paint color. I watched that particular lesson a few times and recreated my own transparency chart in my notebook.
The class Basic Watercolors: Learn Painting with Paper Fashion focuses on fashion watercolors, which isn’t precisely my thing, but I found the supplies lesson and the color mixing lesson to be super valuable and felt encouraged to spend some time just getting to know my colors and how they worked together.
It was especially neat for me to see how different teachers approached the same concepts—like making a color chart. And I was able to feel confident to make own chart based on a few different suggestions.
If you prefer sitting very much in your seat, and sticking to one class, you can do that, too. Lots of classes come with assignments and opportunities to upload student work so you can see how the whole class unfolds.
Maybe best of all, as I gain confidence in my (extremely rudimentary) watercolor skills, it’ll be so nice to have this catalog of classes to return to. If I forget something, or need a refresher, I can replay just one section of a class that I especially loved. (Not to mention, access to the whole range of classes gives me the chance to learn other skills, like, say, improving my wine-tasting game.)
If watercoloring isn’t something you’re into, but you’re still looking for a travel-ready hobby, the class Travel Photography: Seeing, Shooting, and Editing might be the perfect primer. Or if you’re feeling generally itchy for a bit of on-the-go creativity, you could take a look at Travel the World: Reinvigorate Your Creativity On the Road.
Whatever the specific skills are that you’re looking to hone, if you’re interested in giving Skillshare a shot, they’re currently offering a 3-month subscription for just $0.99. Use the code RMTL to give it a try! Offer expires 11/17/2016
This post was sponsored by Skillshare. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.