“I’ve been making art my whole life,” artist and teacher Ria Sharon recalls, “but after college, I didn’t realize all the options that were available to me as an artist. When I took my first job at an ad agency, that really set the course of my career. “ As a full-time content strategist and a single mother of two, it was easy for Ria to push her first passion aside. “I had all of these excuses of why I couldn’t do art. I would tell myself that it was impractical and that I didn’t have the time or the right supplies.”

With her daughter’s encouragement, Ria recently decided to focus her energy back on art and illustration, and in the process stumbled upon Skillshare.  Ria enrolled in some amazing classes on the site, like Bonnie Christine’s Surface Design class and Mary Kate’s Vintage Hand Lettering class. “All the classes felt really manageable and accessible, all I needed was a 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper and a pencil for Mary Kate’s class,” Ria recalls. She enjoyed all her classes and was in awe of the teachers sharing their skills with the community, but never considered teaching a class herself. “I really admired Mary Kate and Bonnie for sharing their creative process with the community. I learned so much from them! Teaching was not on my radar.

paints with ria sharon

But when she heard about Skillshare’s monthly Teach Challenges- a thirty day program that guides new teachers through creating a class- she started thinking about teaching a class of her own.

 “I thought, there’s no good reason not to try this.”

Ria enrolled in the Teach Challenge and created her first class on her own in September. Ria’s Teach Challenge class, Sketchbook Magic, provides students with accessible and engaging techniques for creating art everyday.Just like the first class Ria took on Skillshare from Mary-Kate, her class only requires a sketchbook, making it very accessible to over 5K students who have enrolled in her class.  

lettering and watercolor

For Ria, “The connection has probably been the best. Feeling like I have a community of people that I have a shared interest with. I log into my email to see who has posted new things, and it is really nice to feel like these are my people.” As far as teacher payment, Ria says it is the icing on the cake: “I wasn’t expecting all that much, and when I got my first royalty, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s awesome.'”


With support, milestones, and prizes along the way, joining a Teach Challenges is the best way to get started with teaching an online class. There’s no good reason not to try it. Join the Teach Challenge

Written by:

Nicole Kamra