Capturing Moments: Turn Your Life Events into Illustration | Melissa Takeda | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Capturing Moments: Turn Your Life Events into Illustration

teacher avatar Melissa Takeda, Illustrator, doodler, foodie

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Brainstorming

    • 4. Gathering Inspiration

    • 5. Creative Decisions

    • 6. Sketching and Coloring

    • 7. Drawing for Cohesion

    • 8. Recap

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class


Learn how to turn your stories into an illustration series

In this class, you will learn how to start a series of illustrations using your favorite subject: YOU :)

That will allow you to:

  • Notice your style elements¬†
  • Work on illustration cohesion
  • Self-reflect on what your life experiences meant to you

No prior knowledge is required, and you can choose the medium you feel better working with:

  • watercolor
  • procreate
  • pencil
  • markers

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Melissa Takeda

Illustrator, doodler, foodie



I'm Melissa! A Brazilian illustrator living in the US.

I discovered that I could transform stories of my life into art, and that changed my perspective on everything! I love baking, taking care of my houseplants, having a glass of wine after dinner, and ordering wings every Friday.

I have a series featuring my everyday adventures with my love...

You can see more of my work at my Instagram


And if you would like to learn how to doodle your own stories, you can check out my course!... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: I have always loved utilizing art for self reflection and I realized that by doing that, I could choose better which stories I wanted to tell about myself. Hi everyone, I'm Melissa, a Brazilian illustrator living in the US, and in this class I want two teach you how to take stories and moments of your life and transform them into illustration. I developed a series of illustrations that shows all the things that I love doing with my husband because he's such a great companion and we share a lot of new adventures together. I created characters that represent us, our family, and friends to turn everyday joys and big life events into illustrations that tell my stories. In this class, I'm going to break down my process so you can learn how to found the life events you want to capture, and turn it in into an illustration series. That will allow you to work on stile and cohesion elements but most importantly, it will be an exercise of self reflection and self storytelling. No prior knowledge is required in this class, and you can choose the median you're most comfortable working with; Procreate, watercolor, pencils, I will be using markers. In the end, you'll have two pieces of illustration that are very personal, that relate to each other aesthetically and that you can cherish always. With this framework, you can continue the series you started or come up with new ones. I hope you enjoy it and have fun. 2. Class Project: For the class project, I will walk you through four steps that will result in two pieces of illustration, and those pieces will be the star of your series. Step one, brainstorm. First, we'll gather some inspirations of what we can draw. To help you get started, I created a list. But, feel free to list anything that comes to mind. Step two, gather inspiration. We will gather some visual inspiration to help you translate the theme you chose to a drawing composition. Step three, sketching and coloring. This is the hands-on part. We're going to draw our first illustration together. Don't forget to upload the result in the Projects Gallery. Step four, drawing for cohesion. During this course, you're going to learn some elements that can bring cohesion to your artwork. Use these elements to draw your second piece and then in the end your two pieces are going to look like they belong together. Don't forget to upload the results in the Projects Gallery. My pro tip hear is that sketching will be your best friend. Do not get stuck, just put things on paper and see how it goes. It might surprise you. In our next lesson, we'll brainstorm together. I'll seen you there. 3. Brainstorming: The stories we tell about ourselves can help define our identity. That's why it's so important to look back and found those life events and everyday things that define us and bring us joy. When I started drawing I found out a lot about myself. Through the universe I created and the characters that represented me and my family, I processed feelings and emotions, I could better understand myself. Sometimes interpretive things in images can be easier and more spontaneous than just words. The first step to start your series is to decide what to draw, so let's explore some ideas that you might like. It could be mundane and simple like going to the grocery store, or big and powerful like your high school graduation day. It could feature just you or your family, friends and pets, anything you feel like it's worth being turned to an image. Just to help you I listed sum themes and that will help me get ideas for my next illustrations too. Trips, trips make great subjects for illustrations. A couple years ago I went with my husband to Costa Rica and we did zip lining. I was so scared but I loved it, so that might be a good moment to portray. Hobbies, hobbies are a great subjects because they already fill you with joy. Me, I love taking care of my house plants and baking too, cupcakes and rolls, there's something about the warmth of the oven and the smell that fills the house that I just love. Simple everyday things that bring you joy. It could be sipping coffee on your living room or reading a good book. Everyday I go for a jog in a trail near my house and when I come back I'm super recharged, I adore it. Accomplishments, you can portray moments that make you feel proud, like winning a prize or finally getting that promotion at work. When I think of that I remember that I went through a tough selection process and I got to go to Disney College Program. I was so proud, it was one of my first work experiences. I got two see all the parks and met a lot of friends. I would love to portray that. Big life events, I tend to draw more everyday occurrences but big life events might be more inspired in you like your wedding day or the birth of a new family member. For that category, I remember my graduation day. I got to hold my diploma and wear a gown and a cap. I think that would make a great piece. I tend to gravitate towards more positive things but you can draw negative things that you want to process. Maybe something difficult that you overcame, things that annoy you, pet pees, an embarrass moment that you now think it's funny. At this point, let your imagination lose. Your illustration series is yours to create. You get to decide everything about it. In our next lesson I will teach you how to gather visual inspiration to translate the idea into composition. I'll seen you next lesson. 4. Gathering Inspiration: After you decide on what to draw, you can gather sum visual inspiration that will help you compose your first illustration. You can use Google or Pinterest or any other tools you're already used to, using your own picture is a great idea too. But your level of confidence to drawing will dictate a little bit what types of images that you can use. In the beginning, I had a hard time translating real-life photography to images. My advice for people who are not used to draw is to search the term you want, plus simple drawing. For instance, if it is a boat, you search boat simple drawing, or if it is a motorcycle, motorcycle simple drawing. That will give you an already simplified version of the object or landscape that you're trying to draw. A less-known resource but very helpful is project now. It's a website that has a collection of icons that can relate to search terms. If you have an abstract idea, you might want to search there to see what comes up to help you put some images into words. We can start saving all your visual inspirations into a folder in your computer or a Pinterest board. The important thing is for you to have enough visual inspiration to start your sketching. For instance, of all the ideas I brainstormed earlier, I'm going to go to go with the zip lining in Costa Rica. Another tip is to look for illustration after, that will give you an interpretation someone already had. Zip lining illustration. At this point, you can just save anything that you feel like it's going to be relevant. I'll show you a little bit how the final boarded looks like. This is just an example of how you board can look like, and you'll see when I show my sketching process how that can translate into my own composition. By the end of this step, you already have enough visual inspiration to start composing your first illustration, but I still want to talk to you about cohesion elements and that's the theme for our next lesson. seen you there. 5. Creative Decisions: Not everything that I dropped, belongs together in a series. I have produced artwork that I love, but they'll necessarily have the same style. I think exploring new styles is very important. What does make illustrations belong together? In order to bring [inaudible] to pieces. You need to make some creative decisions. Think of it, as if you're creating an entire world, and the creative decisions you make are going to be the roles for characters and objects to exist in this world. For instance, characters can exist in white space or have a colorful background, maybe there's a certain color palette you want to stick to. Whatever it is, think about the rules that you're creating for your universe. To illustrate the elements that I'll explain, I will use my series as an example. One, background. My characters exist in white space as opposed to other styles where the background is fully developed. Two, color palette. A lot of artists love to limit the color palette they use and that becomes part of their signature. I use bright bold colors and I do not limit the colors that I use. What I did establish was using bluish colors for my husband's clothes, and red pinkish colors for my clothes just so that we are always creating this beautiful contrast. Three, shapes and outline. Some people use more geometric shapes, others more round and organic. I tend to use rounder shapes with little outline, which means my colors exist organically and are not contained by a line like in this example. I do occasionally use outline to separate blocks of color. Four, composition and scale. It is a matter of experimenting. I like to portray my characters in full body and inserted in detailed environments. One time, I tried to fit my characters inside the car, inside of big landscape, but it didn't feel right. I decided to redo it in order to keep the usual proportions and then made it look a lot more cohesive. Remember, this is your universe. You can draw whatever feels right for you. Five, repetition of elements. Finally, I like to insert similar objects like lands and plants to give the impression that this all exists in the same universe. Think about what are your creative decisions. In our next class, we are going to start sketching and drawing together. I'll seen you there. 6. Sketching and Coloring: [MUSIC] For your first piece, you don't have to worry so much about cohesion, but you can have in mind the staples that you want for your series. With your decisions in mind and the inspiration, let's start drawing. Remember to not be afraid and just put things on paper. When I first started, I wasn't sure how objects overlap, so my drawings end up looking very flat. If that's your style, there's no problem with it. But I wanted more built up scenarios, and the way to achieve that was to build layers of objects and furniture. So my tip is just put your objects, and then you figure out proportions and where they fit on the scenario that will help you get more detailed environments. Use your visual inspirations to understand pulls reference, and how an object look like. What will make your piece unique is the mix and match of different visual inspirations that you piece together into your own composition. My first step with sketching is that you can try which compositions you prefer first. So do a couple of tests on how you want the objects and characters to be positioned. Lets tests some compositions. You can see that the drawings are very simple. I am not worried about any details at this point. I just want to see how I want characters to be positioned and the general layout. I actually don't like this, and I'm gravitating more towards this. Some people can get away going straight with the pen and the paper, but I definitely need to sketch with a pencil first. [MUSIC] Before I start coloring, I erase the sketching lines almost to the point I cannot seen it. So I will still have it as guidelines, but it will not show up in the final artwork. [MUSIC] I just finished my drawing and I'll upload the result in the projects gallery. Don't forget to upload your artwork too, because I will love to look at what you made. I'll see you in my next lesson. [MUSIC] 7. Drawing for Cohesion: After you've done your first illustration, it should be easy to repeat the process to make your second one. Remember the elements we saw and think about the creative decisions you made in your first illustration and apply them to the second to bring cohesion to your pieces. I will upload the elements lists in the resources section. I already chose the theme for my second illustration. I will work on it and upload on the projects gallery. Don't forget to upload your artwork. I can't wait to seen it. In our next class, we will review everything that we saw. I'll see you there. 8. Recap: Congratulations. You made it. I hope you enjoyed and had fun. I know I did. My intention with this course was to provide you with a framework to find a story you wanted to tell, find visual reference to help you tell it, and find the elements that make your work, well, yours. As with any form of art, practice will make it better. I've evolved a lot since the start of my series. I learned what I liked, and what I did not like, and got to reflect in what some moments meant to me. I would love to see how the world you create looks like and what moments you decided to portray. Also, tell me what you think about this course, leave a review. Thank you so much for hanging out with me and I'll see you in my next course.