Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Every year, we use the first week of May to thank those who have taught us so much. At Skillshare, that means an incredible community of creative instructors who have helped us unlock the best of our creative selves, challenged us to go further, and given us the tools to approach our craft in new and exciting ways.

Every day this week, we’ll be highlighting a teacher from our community. Today, meet Silvia Ospina, a professional graphic designer and artist, with a passion for creativity and joy. Her Staff Pick classes (Botanical Scenes in Photoshop and Repeat Patterns in Photoshop) quickly became a favorite for thousands of students looking to improve their skills and learn in Silvia’s signature and friendly way.

Learn with Silvia Ospina

Botanical Scenes in Photoshop: Incorporating Watercolor Into Digital Design

Meet Silvia Ospina

Hi everyone! My name is Silvia, and I’m a professional artist and designer. I was born in Colombia into a family of artists, and I learned to draw and paint from a very young age as my mum is an art teacher. When I was a kid, I would get back from school to do arty classes every evening.

When I was a teenager, my family moved to Barcelona as my dad wanted us to experience living in a new city full of art whilst getting to know a new culture. Since then, I have spent my life between Bogotá and Barcelona and London, where I lived for seven years.

I studied visual arts and graphic design and later did a masters in fashion photography, and my curiosity to explore new sides of creativity has never stopped. Combining analogue techniques such as drawing and painting with digital tools has always been one of my strengths.

Hi Silvi! How did you start working on your craft?

Soon after graduating from graphic design, I realised that I wanted to be working independently. Since I was a child, art had been present in my life, and I knew freelancing would allow me to juggle commercial requests with personal art projects.

After a year of working in a small design studio, I decided to try being a freelancer. In the beginning, I didn’t know where to start, so I offered to create visual content for the local cafes for free. A few of their regular clients got interested in the person behind their designs, and that’s how I got my first clients in Barcelona. When my brothers, who are musicians, were releasing their first solo albums, I designed their album covers, and this resulted in other artsits contacting me to art direct their projects. During all of this time, I never stopped painting and tried to infuse a personal artistic touch into every design I created.

Since I started, I have produced at least 12 music album covers for various amazing artists and got to work with clients like Universal Music. I have helped more than 20 small businesses to create their visual content, and my artworks and paintings have been part of various exhibitions.

It was only eight years ago when I discovered the textile world whilst working in a design studio in Barcelona for a short period. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw I could print a watercolour painting on a piece of fabric – this allowed me to combine my artistic and design skills. Since then, I’ve worked creating repeating patterns for various clients and had the joy of seeing some of my watercolour patterns in brands like Zara, Mango and other independent brands.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Creative ideas often surprise me when I’m away from my computer or studio. That’s why I like to make time to go out for walks, go to exhibitions, or get myself lost in a museum. Sometimes making some alone time to visit a good bookshop or even sitting in a coffee shop’s window with one of my sketchbooks often helps me get inspired.

Much of my work is inspired by nature, so I’m always searching for botanical gardens; a visit to a natural park or even a local park is a must when I’m actively looking for new botanical references.

And finally, traveling is my most significant way to get inspired. Getting to know new cultures, places and being away from home always fills me up with new ideas.

Finish the sentence: I feel most creative when _____.

I feel most creative when I’m free.

“Teaching has allowed me to be more creative and dedicate more time to my own projects and paintings.”

What’s your favourite part of teaching?

Teaching has opened me up to a new incredible creative community, and I have met many wonderful people through online classes and face-to-face workshops. By providing a space for people to learn a new creative skill, I’ve received a lot of gratitude and love in return. Teaching has allowed me to be more creative and dedicate more time to my own projects and paintings.

Can you tell us about an influential teacher in your life and what you have taken with you from them?

The most influential teacher in my life has been my mom. When I was a kid, she used to have an art academy with students of all ages attending her classes. She designed her exercises in a very creative way, making sure that they were exciting and challenging enough but inclusive of various levels of expertise at the same time.

Now she has a very successful YouTube channel where she teaches knitting to people worldwide. She’s a natural-born teacher, and the good that she does to the world is invaluable. If you’re curious, go check her channel out!

Make Patterns with Silvia Ospina

Repeat Patterns in Photoshop: Incorporating Sketches into Digital Design