On its website Skillshare offers series of project-based video classes about design, business, technology and more, presented by experts in their field. You may buy some courses outright for $19 or buy a monthly subscription for $9.95, and take as many classes as you want. Skillshare provides some classes focusing on creativity and innovation for free, and often offers a free trial month.
Skillshare knows that we learn best by doing. This year I’ve been working through classes in InDesign and Photoshop. I made the little booklet I posted last week for The Workroom as my project in Anne Ditmeyer’s InDesign class. Each time I look at her videos I learn something, and in the last month Ditmeyer has been offering helpful critiques of class projects.
Some classes lend themselves to just watching, like Jack Zerby’s “Fundamentals of Design: How to Think Like a Designer.” Zerby whips through a cogent, concise overview of design principles in videos that total less than two hours, lighting on concepts like visual hierarchy, type, and color. By revealing a touch of designer fairy dust, he makes one look anew at the designed world around us.
But best of all, a few weeks ago, a Skillshare email offered “Creative Non-fiction: Write Truth With Style” by Susan Orlean. Wow. If you are interested in writing, any kind of writing, this is a gem.
In 14 short video lessons, each so well-crafted and organized, Orlean traces her process, using as example a piece she wrote some 20 years ago: “The American Male at Age 10.” She’s funny and engaging – and so generous with the details of how she works. (More here about Orlean and the class from the Skillshare blog: http://blog.skillshare.com/eight-things-we-learned-about-susan-orlean/)
For the class project, Orlean suggested a 750-word piece about “the most mysterious person you know.” I thought about it all the time I watched the videos (I rationed myself to one a day while I worked on Frances’s adventures, though I often relistened while painting).
I’m a long-time fan of Orlean, from her New Yorker articles to “The Orchid Thief” – and I was thrilled to discover this class. And her prompt does make you consider your cohort.
Who is the most mysterious person you know?