Each month, we sit down with one of our top teachers on the platform to learn more about their Skillshare experience. This month, we were excited to connect with illustrator and former art director at Sub Pop Records, Jesse LeDoux, who is making a huge splash this Fall on Skillshare. His newest class, Building Character 1: Design and Your Sketch Your Character, was met with tons of excitement from his followers on the site who have been hard at work on their own quirky characters. He even hosted a live AMA earlier this week to give students a chance to pick his brain. A pretty stellar teacher, we’d say!
Check out what Jesse had to say about teaching, and why he thinks you should teach too.
Skillshare: If you could take a class from anyone, who would it be?
I’d love to see how Geoff McFetridge makes his paintings. I went to his recent gallery show in NYC and was blown away by the precision and flatness of them. They’re incredible.
Why is lifelong learning important to you?
If you’re not learning, progressing and improving, what are you doing? You’re either stagnant or backsliding. Learning something new helps you look at the world in a new way. And those new skills can help augment the skills you already have. As humans, I think we have a responsibility to constantly be improving ourselves and being a better person than the one we were a year ago.
How did you decide to teach your first class?
Truth be told, I tried to wiggle out of it. I tend to keep pretty busy and teaching a class wasn’t really something I was super motivated about adding to the to-do list. But after a couple of conversations with the Skillshare team, they convinced me that others would be interested in “skills” I take for granted (like dipping a pen into a jar of ink). The process of filming the classes was less of a production than I had thought (iPhone as film crew…who knew?!?). I won’t go as far as saying it’s easy, because sitting in front of a camera is never easy for me. But it was definitely less painful than I had initially expected. I’ve found that the moments in life that get me out of my comfort zone are frequently the most rewarding. Teaching my first class definitely falls into that category. I feel I learned more from the process than I taught.
What’s been your favorite part of teaching?
Seeing students’ projects. It makes the whole thing feel like a conversation. I say something to you, via the videos, and you respond, with your project. That’s way better than me just yammering into space. So, for those of you who have taken my class(es), complete a project!
What advice would you give to someone who is considering teaching a class but doesn’t know where to start?
The simple advice is to choose a skill you like to do. It doesn’t matter if other people have already done a class on the subject. Nobody has done it the way YOU do it. So, just be yourself and do it your way. There’s a HUGE value in being able to see that.
What’s the next skill that you want to learn?
“How to follow through with the children’s picture book you started 2 years ago.” Seriously.
He may not have followed through with his children’s book yet, but we’re sure glad Jesse followed through with teaching. Check out both of Jesse’s classes here, and stay tuned for the next two in his character design series coming out later this year!
Are you ready to start your own teaching journey? Start a class today at www.skillshare.com/teach, and share your skills with our community of over 1M students.
This interview has been edited for length.