Intro to Learning Creative Skills | Skillshare Projects

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Intro to Learning Creative Skills

Picasso once said that “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."

He was right.

Creativity lies within all of us. It’s that innate sense of wonder and curiosity that resides in every individual. It sparks our minds to conceive the unbelievable and see what’s beyond our visual comprehension.

As children, all we want to do is to express our creative outbursts. For some, it’s drawing and painting. Others love to dance and revel in the movement of the art. As we grow a bit, we may take classes to learn more about particular styles of art. We take photography classes, learn watercolor painting techniques, and strive to understand the importance of composition in art. Artistic expression is a daily benefit in all our lives.

Unfortunately, like Picasso said, staying an artist as you grow up is a problem. And yet, that very issue is what halts the solution from taking effect in us all.

That’s why learning and pursuing your artistic endeavors should be a lifelong journey. From your earliest days to expressing your creativity in the workplace, an opportunity awaits you. As you age, you might choose art as an outlet to blow off life’s steam. Others make art their career. It gives each of these people a purpose, regardless how much it takes up their day. Whatever the case may be for you, embrace it. Make art part of your day.

Maybe you already are a career actress. Or, perhaps you’re a corporate attorney that likes to dabble in creative photography. Art piques all our interests. With such a wide variety of mediums to choose from, it's virtually impossible not to find yourself drawn to some form of art. When you find yourself working in these, your inner expression begins to come out. But that can only come through exploring art’s vast landscape.

It is that creative exploration that will lead you to your most significant expressions. Each person finds their form at different times. It's all about enjoying the journey you take as you learn about the art. In turn, you will learn about yourself and what piques your interests. You may find yourself telling your stories through vivid portraits. Meanwhile, your friend may become enamored with designing logos. For others, they may see the world of branding as an expansive landscape to tell the narrative of the world's next great innovators and disruptors.

Fortunately, the digital era provides endless possibilities for learning about art. Now, you can be anywhere in the world and learn about complementary colors or how to use a camera. Online art classes, exhibits, and discussions are all just a few clicks away. Today, almost any artform you're interested in can be taught to you by experts for little to no investment other than your time.  

Best of all, when you learn the basics of one art form, you can choose to further your experience in that area or learn something else. The accessibility provides you the chance to learn any of the art you want to explore. Just remember to be consistent and finish your courses before moving on to the next endeavor. This may not seem like such a standout feature in our education today, but it hasn’t always the case. Now, you can study different forms from photography to logo design, painting with watercolors, illustration, and digital art all in no time without having to break your bank account.

 The Internet shaped how we learn but also how we express ourselves. Not only does it provide us with the platforms to learn, but it also gives us the tools. Some tools which were once beyond our affordability or out of our geographical reach now come to you via apps and Amazon Prime. Social media platforms from Instagram, Behance and the defunct Vine all helped shape countless artists of varying styles. It created communities that, in turn, influenced thousands of followers. As a result, they created more content and learned from the immediate criticism that they couldn't get mere decades before. Thanks to the Internet, artistic expression became more accessible to the public than it has in recent generations.

And now, more than ever, the world has become your showcase.

Even if that one perfect-for-you artform doesn't come to mind right away, that's alright. Creativity is a subjective label and bends to almost any definition. If it's beyond binary, then it's almost assuredly creative. And even within those binary places, art often allows the room for a creative seed to grow.

Art is what you make of it. And your expression is what you put out into the world. When combined, your true artistic voice can only be stopped by your limitations. Indulge in it. Enhance your skills through consistent practice. Motivate yourself by surrounding yourself with the ideas and enjoy the works of others in your space. Don't be afraid to be inspired by either. Sometimes you'll draw inspiration from an unlikely person or artform. You might be into photography, but you never know what an incredible drawing or painting can spark within you. From there, you may find yourself combining mediums, like camera lens work with a pen and paper.

Even if you don't find yourself working in creative mediums, this information pertains to you as well. Art helps our productivity in and out of work. You might not believe it yet, but art can heal. Expressing yourself is known to boost mental performance and help you remember critical details throughout the day. Take notice of how your mind changes when you start taking a design course. Start to notice patterns in everyday objects? Yup, that's creativity's effect on your brain.

The road to discovering who we are as creative individuals is meant to be long and winding. Even if you think you know your calling, it can change in a moment. Our interests are always expanding and evolving. Thankfully, with art you can continue to explore for as long as you desire. By making it a lifelong pursuit, you can help keep your brain active and engaged with the world.

We may not realize it, but the power of art is one of the world's most influential entities.

 

Learning Different Creative Endeavors Develops Your Craft

Expressing the images and ideas in your head boils down to knowing your fundamentals. Sure, you can create quality work without them, but that achievement will likely be one-off. It takes those fundamentals to reach a level of sustained success and happiness in your work.

Don't let that get you down. Instead, you should be excited that this is part of your journey as a creative. Immersing yourself in your craft helps build you into an expressive artist that can genuinely take ownership of their preferred medium. 

As mentioned, the different mediums you can pursue are virtually endless. Within each of those mediums lies a multitude of styles and specialties to delve into. As you go along, you are sure to find yourself gravitating to particular niches and styles that inspire your creations. You never know where this approach could take you. For some, this will open doors to a genre that becomes a lifelong passion, as many writers tend to do. You may not have sought out writing historical drama, but something spoke to you along the way. In other cases, exploring your medium may lead to additional revelations that steer you to new platforms. With tech advancing at a rapid pace, it's no surprise to see artists of varying genres joining graphic design, web development and other creative avenues they hadn't explored until recently.

 Regardless of your route, it's all about finding your own personal style. Even if it isn't apparent from the beginning, finding your form is essential to becoming a creative. If you end up stuck, emulate your favorites in the field. Study certain aspects of their work that intrigue you and go from there. You may be surprised to see how quickly your mind leads you towards the visual style that conveys your art.

 To find your style, continue plugging away at your craft. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to education and inspiration. Take classes, speak to your peers, read books. It's all about learning and getting your brain moving. Learn about complementary colors and the composition in art. Take online art classes on how to draw flowers. You never know. You may find yourself loving nature sketches. Or, you could develop a newfound love of digital photography. You never know where a class in drawing cute animals or a video editing course could take you.

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Photo Credit: Yasmina Creates, Skillshare Teacher

Picking the right skill to practice might be easy for you. But for others it could be the toughest choice they make for art. If you have experience with some styles, consider exploring more in a field you're familiar with. If you've always liked sketching, or enjoyed art museum trips as a kid, that is probably a good place to begin studying. If this is your first plunge into expressing yourself creatively, have no fear. You can choose anything to learn. However, that means you have some thinking to do.

Say you're choosing between taking some art courses and a specific class on photographing jewelry. Both pique your interest, but you only have time for one. How do you decide? This is where art becomes a bit more practical. Consider key factors like:

  • How practice and classes fit into your daily schedule
  • The price of classes and materials
  • What benefits you will get from these classes (personal and professional)
  • Does it involve any setting up?

After considering factors like these, you might find it more practical to invest your time in art courses for now over photography, or vice-versa. It really comes down to what suits your needs the best.

In other cases, you may find yourself on two opposite ends of the visual medium spectrum. Both options appeal to you as you want to broaden your horizons. Think about what appeals to you and the benefits of studying each medium. For example:

  • You may love surrealist painting but also see the benefit in learning how to use a camera for headshots and product photography as a side hustle. Painting abstract and otherworldly images are excellent, but the professional benefits in showcasing people and images in their best light is appealing as well.

Both present gains you’d like to have. Figure out which makes the most sense for you and prioritize your learning. You can do both. It just takes some time.

  • Or, you may love making movies and the artistic, cynical nature of noir films. But you also love shooting for television and a more rigid set of rules. You appreciate the creative flexibility of the genre, but you are a fan of Survivor and Modern Family as well. Don’t be afraid to dive into the world of dark films in noir. But also explore the more familiar style of cinema and storytelling. 

In this case, each project you work on can vary, so time becomes less of a concern. Instead, focus on the project at hand and what you’re learning. In the case of television filming, you could find yourself preferring the shorter days of filming that come with multi-camera productions but love the visual storytelling of single cameras, despite longer days on set.

Getting older and exploring your creative urges might appear difficult but you’re a creative. You know how to think outside the box to make the best possible outcome. Whether it is through your artistic expression or your own schedule, consider all options. You have the idea of what you want the end result to be. Sometimes, getting there means having to decide on what works best for you at the right moment. However, if you explore all that’s appealing to you, and commit to the medium, you will have developed multiple avenues for you to delve into and create.

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Photo Credit: Mari Andrew, Skillshare Teacher

Expressing Yourself Through Different Creative Avenues 

Telling a story is the primary goal of all art, regardless which visual medium you choose. Today, it's become increasingly apparent that art goes well beyond paper and canvas. And it's not just digital art that's becoming mediums of choices. Artists like Banksy have used public sites and even war-torn regions to display images meant to inspire social change. Similarly so, Shepard Fairey used his artistic expression and optimism to create one of the most iconic political posters in recent memory. That image became one of the primary drivers of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign push.

 When it comes to social change, artists across the board involved in the mix. From viral videos to logos, iconic imagery is being used across social media to cultivate ideas and even occasionally spark change.

 But none of that is possible without building your abilities. When your creative muscles are large, you are much more capable of telling the story you've aspired to tell. Developing these capabilities in yourself opens up new worlds for you. Art teaches us to study and analyze the world around us. From minute specks of dust to the way a person's eye moves when angry to even the underlying sentiment of the country, each becomes easier to understand with art. By studying, you open your eyes, ears and, most importantly, your mind to what is out there in the world. You'd be surprised how much art changes you; you often don’t notice it until it's already in full effect.

 Your studies will also bring about a change in your daily life, whether you notice it right away or not. By taking classes and practicing your craft, you begin to analyze the world around you. From words to video to the patterns around us every day, creatives take notice of their medium even when not working. Furthermore, learning about each medium can open doors to other styles. Consider these scenarios:

 

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Photo Credit: Jon Burgerman, Skillshare Teacher

Illustration and Watercolor

It has often been said that in art, the expression of a character, tells the story for the artist. Creating characters within the space may appear easy, but it takes skill to articulate correctly. Technical prowess is what defines illustration and watercolor. It’s the sort of medium where you learn all the rules so you can creatively break them. The worlds of drawing and watercolor are immense.

 Illustrating children’s storybooks is an excellent example how stories come alive with the right imagery. Depending on the story and the artist, the images may be traditional like a pen and ink Sunday newspaper comic panels, or they may be on the cutting edge of digitally rendered cartoons. Once you understand the rules and techniques you can begin to modify them to your liking. One classic example is Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson’s who helped change the traditional Sunday newspaper format with innovative illustrations and layouts.

 Beyond comics, watercolor is a beautiful and challenging style to master. Today, everything from children’s books to tattoos features vivid watercolor images. By learning the basics of any art form, you begin to appreciate and understand the techniques of all art. Learning to paint watercolors sometimes involves illustrations and you get to combine styles. You’ll find that watercolor often works best when supported by the structure of drawings. Taking classes and tutorials about watercolors, illustrations and other techniques not only advance you. They also improve your stories and characters. By studying, learning, and putting your skills into application, you create the characters with the expression needed for an incredible tale.

 

Photography

Like painting and illustration, photography is an expansive landscape of styles and opportunities in which to immerse yourself. Creative photographers come in all shapes and sizes. Whether working with portraits, commercial clients, the abstract or so much more, your photography skills rely on training. It takes classes and training to understand photography. From there, it is about practical application while continuing to learn. Learn from teachers, peers, anywhere you can gain helpful information. It’s there that the heart of photography’s community comes out.

 On the surface, photography can appear like many art forms, singular and insular. In actuality, photography is incredibly collaborative depending on the work you create. That is particularly the case with portrait photography.

 As one of the most common forms of the medium, photographers learn the art of capturing subjects early and often in their careers. Capturing subjects in just the right light, pose and emotion is key to telling the story. To convey that story, it's best that a photographer works with the person so that they are comfortable with you. You can't just rush into the scene and expect good photos with an uneasy subject. Well, you can, but it's not advised. Keep that to inanimate objects. With humans, it takes collaboration through friendly assurance.

 If you have a team for your shoots, the fundamentals of teamwork should come into play:

  • Use clear, friendly communication
  • Be reliable
  • Finish work on time
  • Thank people for their work

The list goes on, but you get the point.

As you begin your photo lessons, you may find yourself timid and overwhelmed. Sure, you heard of white balance and ISO settings, but how do you put them into application? The answer is simple: Put yourself out there.

Putting yourself out there comes in a variety of ways, but all are equally important as you begin. If you’re feeling timid learning how to create works of art, photography or otherwise, learning the basics and sharing your work through social media is often the best tactic to grow your confidence. Practicing with still-life is a great place to start. There, you won’t have to rush and can experiment with your camera to get the best photo possible. And by sharing your work online, you’ll find many have been down the same path as you. Photography is a classic hobby loved by millions. You’d be surprised at how many helpful and supportive voices you might come across when posting your latest work.

 In time, your personal brand and portfolio will develop. It’s interesting to note the changes and developments of your individual styles and interests as time moves on. You begin to establish trends and methods that may stick over time, or be a creative burst over a few short years. With a still-life as an early study, you can learn many other surrounding techniques that helps distinguish your portfolio.

Today, access to photography has never been easier. Your iPhones, Droids, and Pixels all take high-quality photographs. In fact, many photographers now recommend that beginners start out on their phone’s pro settings before buying a camera. This way, a beginner doesn’t haven’t to spend so much money to learn photography basics. This path allows for the photographer to learn the fundamentals and develop their eye for the medium. Whichever way you choose, you’ve made an excellent choice. Photography is a wonderful and creative endeavor. Enjoy it.

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Photo Credit: George Bokhua, Skillshare Teacher

Logo and Branding Design

Working for brands and businesses is an enticing field that often pays lucratively. In addition to a healthy income, you may often find yourself in a position to shape the world as we know it.

 Picture the ads you see on TV, the highway, and on the city streets, just to name a few prominent places. What are some of the iconic companies you know? What’s on the visuals? Now, think of some of the ads from your childhood. You still remember some of those decades-old spots vividly, right? That’s the power of creative branding and logo creation.

 It’s your responsibility to make the lasting image, so you can create that connection with the audience. You have to walk the fine lines of creativity and expression while shaping an idea into mass consumption. It’s no wonder that businesses are willing to shell out large sums for the right creative minds.

 Designing logos is an interesting lesson. Often times you'll find that a logo is put together with simple shapes that came about after studying the right combination. However, the complexity of that solution is a challenge for creatives the world over. It takes recognition of shapes, colors and other elements in creative elements. You have to develop a keen eye and open mind to conceive some ideas that end up becoming iconic logos. Furthermore, learning this skill becomes beneficial in non-creative settings as well where it can improve your ability to work through math problems.

 Design is an integral part of our everyday lives, from branding to city planning. It relies on many of the analytical skills we use during the workday with a creative twist. The end results often appear simple. However, it takes immense prowess to arrive at the precise solution and make the work seem so easy.

 

Choosing the Right Materials 

Knowing the right materials to use on a project is just as important as understanding your medium. Try to paint with a soft, round brush when you need a fine point. Bring a fisheye lens to a portrait shoot and the scene begins to look very different. If you're studying illustration, you need the right papers, pencils, erasers and blending sticks to bring your work to life.  

 Experts of the medium often say that choosing the right drawing tools regularly comes from trial and error. However, like every field, immersing yourself in the material will help you understand it best. In this case, grab as many pencils, papers and blending sticks you can. Try your hand, literally, at every pencil from 9H to 9B. Discover the properties each tool brings to the paper and how they interact. The hard and soft qualities of each will come through as you experiment with each combination.

 Once you have a grasp on your pencils, explore blending sticks and erasers. You’ll see that an untrained artist can make a mess with both of these items. But soon enough, you'll find yourself dabbling in charcoal, inks and the standard graphite. This will help round out your tools as well as style preferences.

 Now it's time to understand your paper. Your surface is equally essential to the tools you use on it. Depending on the look you want your art to represent, varying paper will help achieve this result. For example, traditional pen and ink will always be on white paper. Meanwhile, watercolors are best created on paper specifically for the medium.

 All this trial and error not only helps you learn, but it also builds your tools. Over time, as you learn the ins and outs of the illustration, you assemble the tools you need and prefer. You become the equivalent of a handyperson’s toolbox. Except instead of hammers and nails, your's consists of:

  • Mechanical pencils
  • Graphite pencils H through B
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Flat eraser
  • Kneaded eraser
  • A variety of blending sticks
  • Various types of paper textures
  • Colors
  • Weights

 

Watercolor

When pursuing watercolor, you'll need to know the different brushes, papers, paints and more that go into a well-executed piece. That also includes techniques you won’t come across in other art forms. Did you know you’ll need a multi-chamber pot to clean your brushes? To make sure your brush stays clean and your canvas’ colors don’t get muddied, you’ll need to separate your cleaning process. By doing so, you’ll have clean brushes that won’t cause errors on the paper.

 When choosing your watercolor tools, you'll need to consider an array of brushes, fluids and papers. The shapes and sizes of brushes alone give you options. Then, add the way hair changes a brush, and you'll find yourself exploring even more intricacies of watercolor. In fact, some brushes can cost over $1000, so choose wisely.

 The hair that makes up your brush should be scrutinized for its resilience and performance. Your brush should always retain the right amount of paint without going limp during use. Then, you need to determine what type of hair you want to use. You can go for the elite, expensive brushes (sable) or go for less expensive hair alternatives. These include other animals, synthetic fibers, and combined sable and synthetic fibers.

 You'll eventually develop your own personal taste, and likely a default brush of your choosing. Before doing so, sample the variety of the medium. With your brush shapes, you can use round or flats. While most choose round for its versatility, you'll find the flat especially useful when creating a straight edge. But that’s not where the options end. Flat brushes come in three different types and each one serves their own purpose.

 Each tool helps bring out a different aspect of watercolor. Choosing one tool over the other creates a different effect that makes your work of art change. To understand the essentials of watercolor it takes practice and an understanding of how each tool reacts. Without it, your brush could hold too much paint and sag when all you need is a fine, straight edge. To ensure that you never run into a lack of needed supplies, make sure your kit includes:

  • Multiple paints
  • Multiple containers of water for washing brushes
  • A paint palette
  • Masking fluids
  • Papers of varying weights

Each style and technique call for you to use a different tool in your kit. It’s always best to be prepared. You never know when you could begin learning your next exciting watercolor endeavor.

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Photo Credit: Dan Rubin, Skillshare Teacher

Photography

Photographers need to stay informed about their craft as well. As technology rapidly advances in the area of photography, it's crucial that they read up on what they need for each shoot. Each project is different. Depending on the work, you could find yourself in need of various lenses, lights and reflectors. To know what to choose, you first must practice the art. Then, once you get the work, need to understand the scope of each shoot.

 Will you be using natural light? Or, is the scene pitch black? How about distance? Will anything be moving? The answer to each of these questions represents a factor that determines what goes in your pack. This is another reason to be constantly reading. With technology continually updating, your go-to piece of equipment for shooting in the dark could now be antiquated while another component is revolutionizing your field. It's key to stay up to date as best as you can afford, timewise and financially.  

It’s best to keep these items in your pack for virtually any shoot:

  • Camera body
  • Several macro and distance lenses
  • Folding reflectors
  • Travel lights
  • A tripod that fits the camera body
  • A camera case
  • Photo editing software
  • Spare charged batteries and SD card 

Knowing the basics and the materials you need helps put you on the path to becoming a photo master. There are loads of beginner materials and suppliers out there to help you gradually scale your kit to ideal levels. But you're just starting out. No need to rush out and buy everything. For now, get started on your phone and master the basics. Then, focus on getting a new camera. You don't need the best materials to start out. That will come in time.

 In the beginning, work on your basics and start to think outside the box. Get innovative with your shots. There's no harm in experimenting. It can be as simple as changing your camera’s angle or using a different type of pencil. Try various tools and elements to find your voice and some incredible creations.

 

How to Find Your Muse

Pretend your brain is a dry log resting in a fireplace. Each time to see or speak about art, you’re striking the flint, and soon, a spark will arrive that will ignite your passion.

You'd think that finding inspiration in the world would be easy, but it's actually quite tricky. That is the case from beginners all the way to experts. While no one solution exists for finding your muse, it is suggested that you go out there and actively seek it out. Now, where do you go?

 For most, the answer is to surround yourself in what you want to create. Go to art shows and galleries, speak to creatives in the field, talk to others online. In short, see and speak about the art as much as you possibly can. Compare two or more wildly different artists within the same medium. Ask yourself how one portrait photographer got their work to look the opposite of another person’s. Analyze their work, ask yourself questions and ask them if possible.

 Go beyond the medium and look at different styles like realism and cartoons. What stands out? What would you do differently? What would you like to see? Now, go beyond your art form. Explore logos and designs, go watch a dance routine, watch a performer bare their soul on stage. Any of these could be your next great inspiration.

 Art is an integral tool in creative expression. To tell your story, it's essential to discover the story you want to say. Sometimes it may come easy. Other times will send you searching in places you may never have been before. To find that inspiration that sparks your art’s most profound meaning, you'll have to discover your muse.

 

Final Thoughts

Creative expression is vital to us all. Our everyday lives benefit immensely from the effect the arts has on us. It brings happiness to us and allows everyone to express even their most robust emotions. As you progress as a creative, the ways to tell that story only grows.

There's no better day to begin your endeavors than today. Not sure what to choose? Don't worry! Choose something that interests you and dive in. Study it and decide if it's right for you. If it isn’t, try something else. Remember that your art can span so many styles, including: 

  • Logo design
  • Photography
  • Filmmaking
  • Dancing
  • Painting
  • Sculpting

 The art world has few limits and many possibilities. Discover what works with your art and become part of that medium. Learn it and embrace it into your work. You never know how your passion can turn into a well-paying profession.

 Working professional creatives understand the importance of an artistic endeavor. When your mind is continuously chasing a creative idea, it becomes more productive as it's always on the lookout for the next great concept or creation. In turn, their ability to arrive at conclusions and solutions are some of the best in the office. Art helps provide positive aspects to both our personal and professional lives. It can drive our happiness as well as our success.

 The opportunity to turn your passion into an income stream is stronger than it ever has been. There's no better time to start learning than today.

 

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