As we practice social distancing and settle into new habits, many of us are searching for new ways to express what we’re feeling, connect with one another, and nurture hope. Creating art during times of change can be a deeply reflective and restorative practice, and it can serve to inspire, calm, and connect all of us in powerful ways.
Below, we’ve compiled some of the ways that Skillshare teachers have shared creative work in response to our unique moment. There are self-portraits, photos of our new everyday, written reflections that capture the current complexity, and more. We hope that browsing their work can offer a new lens to inspire your own creativity, and that these posts can help us all feel a little more connected.
1. Mimi Chao illustrates appreciation from the headlines.
Focusing on small moments of gratitude and kindness can help us find our center. Here, Skillshare illustration teacher Mimi Chao used a widely-shared photo as the inspiration for a poignant life drawing.
“Life drawings ?❤️ Love to this man, the nurse who shared the photo, and everyone else doing their part to heal, help and cheer in these crazy times. “Mimi Chao
2. Kate Bingaman-Burt draws real self-portraits.
Expressing the fullness of our emotions in words and images can be powerful for self-awareness and understanding. As Skillshare illustration teacher Kate Bingaman-Burt shared on Instagram, she’s acknowledged “trying to be okay with not being okay.” She shared and titled this self-portrait speaking to that feeling, which in turn was inspired by a creative prompt by illustrator Carson Ellis (who’s also posting art assignments designed for kids and grownups alike during quarantine).
3. Craig Whitehead captures virtual street photography.
Street photography is an art form uniquely impacted by widespread social distancing, but Skillshare photography teacher Craig Whitehead found a creative workaround so he could keep shooting: training his lens to the streets of video games. Over on his Instagram @sixstreetunder, you can find Craig translating his skills to a digital space with striking compositions from video games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Spiderman. The photos echo some of the solitude we may be feeling, while also offering a feeling of escape and travel.
4. Oliver Astrologo creates a moving video tribute to Italy.
Italy has long been a dream destination for tourists around the world, with images of crowded squares, streets, and monuments familiar in all of our minds. While the squares may be quiet now, there will be a time when they bustle again. In this moving tribute, Italian filmmaker and Skillshare teacher Oliver Astrologo captures the beauty, strength, and resilience of Italy and its people, inspiring us to imagine a brighter future ahead.
5. Shantell Martin shares daily “May YOU”…” kind words.
Of course, sometimes the strongest expression is a few words of kindness. Every day in the month of May, Skillshare teacher and visual artist Shantell Martin is sharing some much-needed well wishes to inspire, empower, and encourage us all. The messages are taken from a wall in the May Room on Governor’s Island in New York City, and they include such lines as “May you be strong,” “May you find laughter,” and “May you be free.” Follow her on Instagram for daily reflections, and read more about Shantell and the May Room here.
6. Jordan Sondler creates an honest fill-in-the-blank journal.
At home, it may feel like time both races and stands still day to day, which is why many people have found some peace in keeping a quarantine journal. Skillshare illustration teacher Jordan Sondler is helping us all get started journaling with a free template that can help us acknowledge, articulate, and express everything we may be feeling. Find the blank template here.
7. Mikey Burton creates a letterpress poster.
Design has always been a crossroads for functionality and art, and that continues to be true now. Here, Skillshare illustration teacher Mikey Burton created this informational poster using large wood letters. If you’re interested in exploring textures and creating a poster of your own, explore his classes on illustration and design here.
“Letterpress poster all about our new normal. I hate the term “new normal” can we call it something else? Alternate present? Darkest timeline? Anyway, a collaboration via social distancing with my bud Keith Berger (@crankypressman).”Mikey Burton
8. Amarilys Henderson paints a beautiful mask portrait.
Adding some welcomed creativity to our ever-present masks, watercolorist and Skillshare teacher Amarilys Henderson painted a simple, colorful design and made the image available for order online here. If you’re looking to decorate your own mask, you can also find her Skillshare classes on watercolor painting here.
9. Samantha Dion Baker draws illustrated moments.
Drawing a daily scene can be a good way to stay connected in the moment and share the memory with others. Skillshare illustration teacher Samantha Dion Baker sketched this touching moment of connection while in quarantine: a personal interaction she had with a postal worker on Easter Sunday, who was still making sure packages were delivered. The image is also a touching tribute to those continuing to help us all in these times.
“On Easter Sunday morning I saw the mail truck parked outside of our building. I decided to thank the woman delivering, and asked her if she would mind if I drew her in my journal. She was so happy to pose for me. Working on Sunday, Easter Sunday, and in these conditions. . . I wish I could have hugged her.”Samantha Dion Baker
10. Andre D. Wagner captures the life of New York City.
Photographer, Brooklyn resident, and Skillshare teacher Andre D. Wagner has continued to capture what life in New York City, albeit often with emptier streets and distance that we wouldn’t have expected months before. His perspective offers a powerful view into the changing and dynamic nature of the typically vibrant city. Find more images like this on Andre’s Instagram and website.
“Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn 2020 *for a brief moment I forgot about the pandemic”Andre D. Wagner
11. Heather Seidel illustrates waiting for city life to resume.
New York City — considered the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak — is home to a thriving community of artists from around the world who have had to leave the city or hunker down in small spaces. This has created a sense of longing and romanticism for a time when experiencing the city wasn’t done from rooftops and windows, as captured here in this hourglass illustration by Skillshare animation teacher Heather Seidel.
12. Mari Andrew writes love notes to New York City.
Artist and Skillshare teacher Mari Andrew’s love letters to NYC are both a time capsule of the time and a primer on understanding the different emotions we may be faced with on a given day. She has continued to post new love letters on Instagram, inspiring readers with her honesty and authenticity.
13. Debbie Millman creates an Ode to NYC.
From meaningful spaces to old photos, design icon and Skillshare teacher Debbie Millman is cataloging her nostalgia in a tribute to NYC. Combining words and pictures, her approach to visual storytelling is a unique way of expressing her experience in a way that also brings viewers into her story. Find more from this series on her Instagram.