Skillshare Classes to Engage Your Creativity through Watercolor Flora, Striking Posters, and Houseplant Care
Considering many of you found our previous Skillshare picks useful, we thought we’d share another selection of courses from the popular online platform that we’re loving here at Colossal. This next round encompasses art, design, and even the basics of home gardening in simple, multi-lesson units. If you need some completely offline entertainment, check out these modern puzzles and DIY kits, too.
Designed for novices, this watercolor course by illustrator Rosalie Haizlett teaches the basics of rendering natural features. She’ll walk through taking reference photos, sketching, layering paint, and adding texture to create vibrant mushrooms and ferns.
Based in East Sussex, artist Seb Lester (previously) guides students through essential calligraphy techniques in his 15-lesson course. You’ll learn to write your name with elegant flourishes and even get a printable workbook for an extra dose of instruction.
Designers Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips offer a basic graphic design course that explains the principles of scale, framing, grids, and hierarchy. Previous students have designed a variety of spreads like the one above, and the instructors say the main takeaway is this: “Graphic design is all about relationships — the relationships between one design element and another, that element and the page, and that element and yourself.”
Learn to adorn hand-drawn letters with beautiful florals in Gemma O’Brien’s 12 lessons. The Australian artist utilizes drawing techniques with digital collage, creating a dramatic combination of the two.
Based on his own poster-a-day project, digital artist and photographer Temi Coker is offering a course focused on merging type and images into striking posters. He leads students through capturing the right images and Photoshop basics and even provides a guide for sharing work on social media.
While this pick has a slightly different focus, it’ll still get your hands just as dirty as learning to use watercolor or hand-lettering with ink. Botanist Chris Satch from The Sill teaches potting techniques, basic care, troubleshooting, and ways to ensure that your houseplants thrive.
Alanna Cartier knows that capturing high-quality and effective photographs of artwork can be difficult. In her 11-lesson course for all skill levels, the Toronto-based artist and illustrator teaches how to take effective images for social media and online shops without spending an entire day.
Share this story
As many of us are stuck at home the next few weeks due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus, Colossal aims to help fill the hours both productively—and unproductively—with some fun lists of activities: think art podcasts, animated shorts, online classes, our favorite art documentaries streaming now, and a few great new books. So log off Twitter, block the news for a few hours, and distract yourself from the ebb and flow of global anxiety. Today we start with Skillshare, an innovative online platform offering creative courses ranging from illustration and design to creative writing and marketing. Here are some of our favorite courses available now, many taught by artists and designers previously mentioned here on Colossal.
Take a drawing class with New York-based artist Shantell Martin (previously). She offers two courses designed for all levels using what she terms “low-maintenance” materials, like simple pens and drawing apps.
Learn to letter with Jessia Hische. The San Francisco-based illustrator, who has an impressive client list, has released three classes, including one designing book covers and two others focusing on text-based projects.
Detroit-born designer Aaron Draplin offers a course designed to “celebrate your grandma and all the weird sh*t your dad says by designing your family crest.” In other words, he teaches attendees the basics of logo design.
Sara Boccaccini Meadows combines watercolor and gouache in a class that teaches students to create a lush, botanical garden. The Brooklyn-based illustrator talks through sketching, mixing colors, layering paints, and adding detail.
For those hoping to build a brand, photographer and creative consultant Gareth Pon (previously) provides a staggering statistic: there are more than 300 million Instagram accounts. Pon’s course teaches best practices for getting noticed, from perfecting your profile to consistency to cross-posting.
Eviston offers a similar class focused on anatomical forms and bodies, although The Art & Science of Figure Drawing is geared toward those who already have a solid understanding of drawing basics.
Create a short clip with American director and stop-motion animator PES (previously), who shares insights behind developing concepts, determining narratives, getting the film, and editing a stop-motion project in his course.
Share this story
Cross-Sections of Geological Formations and Views of the Cosmos Bring the World to Life in 19th Century Educational Charts
In 1887 Levi Walter Yaggy published the Geographical Portfolio – Comprising Physical, Political, Geological, and Astronomical Geography with his publishing company, Western Publishing House of Chicago. The popular set of maps and charts (an expanded second edition was released six years later) was intended for teachers to use in classroom settings. The two by three-foot sheets used clever composite images to convey the range of topography and animals around the world, resulting in dense caves and steep mountain peaks that could be straight out of a fantasy novel.
In addition to their imaginative designs and eye-catching color palettes, Yaggy made strides in the teaching aid field by incorporating interactive elements. Each set included a 3-dimensional relief map of the United States and latches revealed hidden diagrams on individual charts. Unfortunately, despite his forward-thinking designs, Yaggy did include the era’s all-too-common racist depictions of non-white populations on some of his cultural maps.
You can explore the full range of Yaggy’s Geographical Portfolio via digital scans on David Rumsey’s map website (where they are available as on-demand prints and as high-resolution downloads), and learn more about the charts on National Geographic. (via this isn’t happiness)
Share this story
Whether you’re an established professional working with a top gallery, a weekend tinkerer, or a student tackling personal projects, here at Colossal we believe that your creativity enriches our world. The incredible range of art created by artists of all ages, from all backgrounds, all over the planet, is the lifeblood of our publication. That’s why, in this season of giving and receiving, Colossal is excited to partner with DonorsChoose.org to help support young artists.
DonorsChoose.org is a New York-based nonprofit that makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.
We’ve selected a range of art-focused projects from around the U.S., including requests for basic art supplies as well as specific needs for exploring particular techniques and materials. Each project page lets you know about the teacher and students who benefit from our collective support; how and why the supplies will be used; and includes a specific breakdown of every item and expense on the classroom’s wish list. Or, simply make a donation at the top of the page and your donation will be automatically distributed.
Why do today’s students need our support? While many students in the US are fortunate to receive arts education, 17% of elementary school students receive no instruction in visual arts, and 96% of students receive no instruction in theater. And schools with higher rates of students in poverty are less likely to provide arts education (source). Youth of color in the United States are also half as likely as their white peers to be given access to arts education, a gap that has worsened over the last three decades (source).
So, is this also a question of policy? Absolutely, and we encourage you to drop a postcard in the mail or make a phone call to your elected representatives. DonorsChoose.org is helping public school teachers close the gap for their students by connecting educators and communities. We’ll be adding new projects and keeping a running tally of the total amount we’re raising as a community on our Colossal x DonorsChoose.org Page. Together, we can help tomorrow’s artists today.
Share this story
The folks over at Que Interesante created this clever sticker pack for crayons, effectively turning color names into the chemical compounds that correlate with each hue. The sets seem like a fun way to learn for a science-minded family and are available in number of different packs or in bulk for schools. (via Laughing Squid)
Share this story
Samuel Jaffe is getting close and personal with subject matter found right in our backyards— the furry, florescent, grubby little creatures we often find inching along our trees and sidewalks. Jaffe is fascinated by local environments, and aims to share the information he has collected about these backyard ecosystems so we can become more in tune with what’s right below our feet or hiding in the grass.
Jaffe has cataloged dozens of caterpillars in different settings, each with a blackened background to highlight their unique textures, colors, and patterns. Caterpillars dangle off branches, clutch onto leaves, and even play on grapevines within his photographs. Catching his subjects at specific moments, Jaffe gives each a little pop of personality, showcasing their playfulness when left alone in nature.
Jaffe grew up in Eastern Massachusetts, inserting himself within his surroundings, wading through ponds, and exploring the wildlife around him. Over the last five years he began to raise and photograph many of the more interesting native caterpillars. The project has grown to include exhibits, shows, talks, and finally in 2013 the Caterpillar Lab, a passionate program showcasing the diversity of northeastern caterpillars through educational programs, the arts, and sciences. Jaffe’s work is currently on display at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio in the exhibit “Life on the Leaf Edge.” Prints are available in his online shop. (via The Life Neurotic with Steve’s Issues)
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Design
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.