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Well, it’s been a year. We could all use a creative jump-start after so much time online, at home, and in our own heads. In an effort to end the year on a positive note, we’ve put together this handy-dandy list of the 20 best Skillshare classes of 2020.
The best classes on Skillshare are taught by a diverse group of artists and educators, and this list encompasses a wonderful range of teaching styles and skills presented. We welcome you to click through and discover some things you didn’t know you were interested in (embroidering your artwork, anyone?).
We hope that, after a truly tumultuous year, you’ll tap into your artistic abilities and get creative and inspired with these top classes.
1. Still Life Photography: Capturing Stories of Everyday Objects at Home by Sean Dalton
Learn how to take still lifes at home from photographer Sean Dalton, focusing on seeing everyday objects in a new way and capturing their beauty through photography. This course covers everything needed to snap still lifes in the comfort of your own home, including composition, location, lighting, styling, and editing. All you need is a DSLR camera and a willingness to learn!
2. iPhone Photography: How to Shoot & Edit Conceptual Photos on Your Phone by Amelie Satzger
This course will teach anyone from a beginner to a professional how to take better iPhone photos. Amelie Satzger walks through the steps to taking creative, colorful, compelling photos that will catch the eye of the viewer. She also focuses on the setup, equipment, and apps to make iPhone creativity and editing easier, illuminating her craft with a behind-the-scenes demonstration.
Photographer Minh T takes us outdoors in this class, showing how to capture the best image outside, whether you’re in a city, a forest, or your own backyard. He gets hands-on and covers such topics as the best time of day to snap photos, the geometry of photography subjects, and how to develop a good eye or style as you get more exposure to shooting outdoors.
Film, Video, & Animation
4. Film Lighting Made Simple by Dandan Liu
If you’re a filmmaker intimidated by lighting, this is the course for you. Cinematographer Dandan Liu shows that you don’t need a crew or fancy setup to create well-lit shots. She takes us behind the scenes of an interview shoot to show how she creates a simple, tasteful, and affordable setup, and she demonstrates her five-step method for shaping light.
5. Learn Premiere Pro and Edit a “How-To” Video by Hallease Narvaez
Learn the basics of Premiere Pro from expert and plant-lover Hallease Narvaez. In this course, she shows beginners the ropes of editing how-to videos for YouTube. Follow along the creative process and edit as you go to get some practice—you’ll be using Premiere Pro to create amazing how-to videos in no time!
6. Video on a Budget: Prepare for Your Shoot Without Breaking the Bank by Chrystopher Rhodes
In this course, photographer Chrystopher Rhodes shares how to prep for a photoshoot while staying within your budget and creating amazing shots. He covers topics like building your project around a location (not the opposite) and using existing footage to inspire your artistic vision.
7. The Creative Toolkit: 6 Techniques to Spark Original Ideas by Esteban Gast
Explore your creative process with author and comedian Esteban Gast, who gets into the nitty gritty of the creative experience and explores how the right process can help us arrive at better, more original ideas. He uses his personal experience to teach concrete techniques to help you break through a creative block and develop better artistic habits.
This course explores what creativity means to each individual person. Artist Mari Andrew helps guide you to fulfill your career goals with your unique skill set. She uses art as a form of therapy in her own life, and she encourages others to find the community and friendships that art provides, utilizing self-prompts to spark ideas in times of transition.
9. Unlocking Your Potential: 5 Exercises to Build Creative Confidence by Emma Gannon
Emma Gannon is an author and speaker who teaches this course to help people tap into their fullest creative potential using five methods. She emphasizes that imperfection is not to be feared, and she teaches her students to trust the process despite their doubts.
10. Organic Expressive Florals With Watercolor and Ink by Ohn Mar Win
Explore how to paint beautiful florals with watercolor artist Ohn Mar Win, who guides you through the process of making fresh, effortless, expressive watercolor art. The course includes warm-up exercises and three demonstration sessions that focus on distilling the simple essence of the flower into watercolor, using big brushes and bold colors.
11. Watercolor in the Woods: A Beginner’s Guide to Painting the Natural World by Rosalie Haizlett
Join nature illustrator Rosalie Haizlett in her childhood Appalachian cabin to learn how to bring an appreciation of nature to life with pencils and watercolor paints. Practice your skills with a paint-along of a mushroom and fern in real time and see how relaxing it can be to paint nature!
Illustration & Graphic Design
12. Illustrated Journaling: 14 Days of Prompts by Dylan Mierzwinski
Grab a writing instrument and get ready to be prompted by artist and inspiration Dylan Mierzwinski, who provides 14 specific prompts that will get you feeling creative in no time—like Daily Routine, Favorite Corner, and Toiletry Bag Favorites. All you need is a journal and an open mind!
13. Watercolor Illustration: Transform Daily Objects Into Whimsical Characters by Hélène Baum
Hélène Baum is a whiz at transforming everyday objects into eye-catching art, using a wide variety of colors and textures to bring her pictures to life. In this course, she shares her secrets to taking our surroundings and turning them into surprising, delightful art. Beginners and advanced artists alike will benefit from this course.
14. Hand Lettering in Procreate: Fundamentals to Finishing Touches by Gia Graham
In this course you will learn how to letter a name—yours or someone else’s—in a beautiful, unique way. Hand-letterer Gia Graham shares her staged approach to the process, so instead of diving straight in, you can complete the project one phase at a time.
Crafts & Plants
15. Painting with Thread: Modern Embroidery for Beginners by Danielle Clough
Try something new with Danielle Clough in this course, which shows how to embroider artwork in a fresh, modern way. Clough emphasizes that embroidery is accessible to everyone, and the old rules don’t apply. Dive in and learn some stitches and color theory, and work on an embroidered flower in the demonstration.
16. Everyday Flowers: Simple, Stunning Arrangements for Any Occasion by Spencer Falls
Florist Spencer Falls believes that artistic intention is as important as color choice when it comes to floral arrangements. He creates a wide range of arrangements, from high-end to backyard-sourced, and he reminds us that there are no right or wrong ways to make a bouquet. Use all your senses and creativity to create a totally unique flower arrangement.
17. Plants at Home: Uplift Your Spirits & Your Space by Christopher Griffin
Join the self-proclaimed Plant Kween Christopher Griffin and learn how to use plants to enliven your home or workspace. Griffin encourages everyone to learn about themselves through the process of selecting and caring for plants, and the course guides learners to find their perfect plant and make a schedule to help their plants thrive.
18. Daily Art Practice for Self-Care: 14 Days of Messages To Yourself by Jessica Swift
In this course, Jessica Swift encourages us to take care of ourselves using art to tune into our inner selves. She taps into a personal tragedy to teach art for self care, emphasizing the process of turning trauma or difficulty into images. No artistic talent or experience is necessary to benefit from this practice, and any medium works—just give yourself the time and space to create what you feel!
19. Writing for Inner Calm: A Mindset, Methods, and Daily Exercises for All by Dani Shapiro
Dani Shapiro walks the walk: she is a New York Times–bestselling writer, and in this course, she shares some of the prompts and methods she uses to find an emotional space that sparks creativity and output. The emphasis is on calm, healing rituals that surround the creative process and allow Dani and her students to tap into a confident mindset that will unlock the flow of words you need to be a successful writer—whatever that means to you.
20. Visual Journaling: Drawing Your Feelings by Jordan Sondler
Finally, something we could all benefit from: in this course artist Jordan Sondler shows how to draw your feelings. Discover your vulnerability through five exercises and process your feelings on the page. As Sondler says, it might sound scary, but it’s worth it. Cheers to that.
Want even more recommendations for top classes? Check out our list of the best classes on Skillshare in 2019.