Meet Matej Jan, a computer scientist by education and illustrator by choice. Matej recently completed his pencil portrait project for Gabrielle DeCesaris Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portrails class and we couldn’t be more impressed! We had a chance to sit down with Matej to learn a bit more about himself and his project.

Tell us a bit more about yourself.

My job is usually focused towards logical problem solving so I find escape in doing art. I like to switch between different styles, from pencil portraits to digital paintings. I also post pixel art on my retro-gaming site Retronator.

.How has Gabrielle’s class helped with your pencil drawing techniques? Since I never went to art school I learn everything from the Internet and books. It was interesting to try Gabrielle’s technique because I used mechanical pencils and blending for the first time. Her tips on how to draw hair made the biggest impact on the quality of my work and it really showed in my Skillshare student project.

Are there other ways that Skillshare has been useful to you professionally or personally? I’m part of the self-improvement community on and I’ve shared Gabrielle’s class with others who are trying to learn to draw. In return I’ve got great recommendations and am now taking Skillshare classes on productivity, social media marketing and perspective in drawing. In the end I hope to come full circle by offering my own class on pixel art since that’s been the most requested thing on my YouTube channel.

Do you have any tips for other people on how to get the most out of Skillshare? Join early. Create your student project right away. Interact with other students. An encouraging comment is the best you can give to someone (leave critique for the teacher or times when people explicitly ask for it). In the end, learning anything is a battle against yourself and you can use all the support you can get.

Written by:

Dennissa Karnjanaprakorn