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5 Creative Skills We Are Learning This Fall

September 11, 2018 6 min read

Fall means time for back-to-school, and, even though I’ve been out of school for years now, something about fall just makes me want to reorganize my planner and buy a new backpack (and a Blair Waldorf-inspired plaid skirt, just for old time’s sake). Here at The Everygirl, as soon as the leaves start falling, we feel inspired to pick back up our pencils and notebooks and learn something new that could help our careers or just be a super fun hobby we always wanted to try. So we turned to Skillshare, the easiest resource for affordable, interesting, and super useful online courses. We turned off Netflix and instead streamed some shows that would actually help us learn.

These classes are not just your typical biology and algebra (I could not even will myself to go back to Calculus). Instead, they’re courses on a wide range of creative topics (like writing, graphic design, and animation), business (finance, leadership, accounting, etc.), technology (such as product and web development), and even lifestyle (yes, even cooking classes!).

Even better, they’re giving Everygirl readers their first two months of Skillshare for free. That’s two months of unlimited access to more than 20,000 classes in design, illustration, photography, writing, and much more, all completely for free, risk-free. Just click here to redeem your two months.

Read on to find out the creative skills that we learned with Skillshare, and pick out a new skill that you always wanted to learn too (Blair Waldorf skirt optional).

Abigail’s Class: Food Photography: Shooting at Restaurants

There are few things in the world I love as much as I love a great meal — especially when it’s in a beautiful restaurant with people I love. The one single problem with this is that it’s really hard to capture the moment perfectly — no matter how much I want to remember a particular meal at a particular place, I’ve never before been able to get my iPhone camera to cooperate, perfectly capturing the beauty and taste of a meal. While I’m an amateur foodie AND amateur photographer, I want to make it clear that my passion for great food shines through in a picture (and, therefore, in my Insta feed). This class, taught by professional food photographer Daniel Krieger, was insanely helpful in guiding me toward capturing food the way I experienced it – full of depth, color, and light. Use a high-quality camera or just the camera on your phone — Daniel teaches how to use whatever tool you have to create the most beautiful food photos you’ve ever taken. As if I needed another excuse to go out to eat…

Abigail, Social Media Coordinator + Assistant Editor

Beth’s Class: Hand Lettering Essentials for Beginners

I’m low-key obsessed with my mom, so once my amazingly creative mother started hand lettering, I knew it was something I’d have to learn too. I recently got very into graphic design, and I’ve been wanting to add my own handwriting to my designs just to make them a little more my own. However, in fear of letting my mom know just how much I actually admire her work and not having one bit of an idea where to start, I had to find a way to learn where to start but also how to transfer these same designs to digital. I mean, who isn’t obsessed with perfectly script lettered words on their Insta story? (Only me? Okay, this is awkward.) This was also a tool I knew I’d find a way to use in my career, coming from a digital and visual journalism background.

So, when I found the (might I add — GIANT) log of creative classes available on Skillshare, I knew hand lettering was my first choice. This class, taught by illustrator and lettering artist Mary Kate McDevitt, was exactly the push I needed to finally dive into the intimidating (but I later found, easy and welcoming!) lettering community. Mary Kate focused a lot on the pre-design aspect of lettering, from making multiple “thumbnail” options for how your design would be laid out, practicing different styles before deciding on just one and going through your sketch multiple times before setting it all down with ink. She also goes through all the tools you could ever need for any lettered illustration, AKA an excuse to go to my favorite art supply stores and buy ALL THE PENS.

Josie’s Class: Analytics & Authenticity on Instagram: Crafting Your Digital Presence

People might know me to be a little Instagram-obsessed. Every friend I have knows exactly how I like my angles (exactly chest-level, please) when I’m wearing a killer #OOTD, and to not touch their food until I take an aesthetically pleasing photograph of the entire table first (sunglasses included). Sure, it’s a “passion” of mine (if you could call it that), but it’s not a bad thing, I swear! I love sharing my personality and #aesthetic through my Insta flow, and, nowadays, at least in the industry I’m in, Instagram works as sort of a professional resume for connecting with other people in the industry. So it’s important for my job, okay, I’m just being a responsible adult!

I wanted to take a class on Skillshare that would help me learn more about my own digital presence, and was so excited to see Sophia Chang’s class that was specifically for Instagram. I’ll just say this — she KNOWS what she’s talking about. I really loved how the first thing that was addressed was how to figure out your personal goal for your Instagram. Setting a goal is basically half the battle, and not as easy as you’d think. This class was really helpful for Instagrammers trying to achieve any goal (growing following, bettering aesthetics and posts, or connecting with other accounts). My goal was mostly to connect with other accounts (like brands that I love or women whose career I aspire to emulate) and I learned so many useful tips.

But I also learned how much really goes into curating a powerful online presence, and have multiple new apps downloaded on my phone (recommended by Chang) that will help me reach my Instagram dreams. Never underestimate the power of Instagram!

Victoria’s Class: The Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit

Fiction writing has always been a passion of mine; I’m currently writing a collection of short stories that I’ve been working on for years. It seems like as much as I’m excited about creating characters and uncovering storylines, every time I sit down to write, it feels just so damn hard. And then I get frustrated and give up after about 15 minutes of staring at my blank screen.

I wanted to really commit myself to make time for working on my writing (fall is like getting to make New Year’s Resolutions all over again but with pumpkin spice lattes), so I went to Skillshare and found an awesome course on how to create a compelling writing habit. Award-winning author Simon Van Booy walked us through his six steps to success for whatever creative writing project you’re working on, and there’s way more to a habit than just showing up. By the end of the course, I learned what my ideal writing conditions are (7 am, sun-soaked office, black coffee), received lots of encouragement to stick to my newly-made plans, and learned what to expect as I committed to the ~process~.

There’s a stigma, our guru tells us, that the most successful writers are the ones who only write spontaneously and the words just flow beautifully and easily. These are lies — writing is work (like real, hard word) and forming a habit is the best way to train your creativity. If you need me, I’ll be sitting at my desk with a candle burning tomorrow, bright and early!

Maddie’s Class: Fundamentals of DSLR Photography

Being a journalist, having some level of photography skills is definitely a necessity, so at the end of last year, I got a Sony A6000 DSLR camera. I had learned some really basic photography skills in college, but felt like I still wasn’t using my camera to its full potential, and it felt useless to have a camera and not be using it every chance I got. Skillshare’s Fundamentals of DSLR Photography class solved this for me.

In a little over an hour, this course completely refreshed my knowledge of DSLR shooting (and taught me a ton of new things too!). The course is taught by Justin Bridges, who is a fashion and portrait photographer in New York City. He broke it into short segments based on different aspects of photography: Understanding your DSLR, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and more. He even explained how to edit your photos in under five minutes. I learned how to set up my camera for different depths of field, different lighting, and for shooting a variety of subjects. I feel more prepared to go out and use my DSLR now, and will definitely be stepping up my Instagram game with the tips I learned