11 best Skillshare classes for designers and artists


Digital Arts

We’ve noticed a bunch of talented designers and illustrators jumping onto Skillshare to share their wonderful knowledge with you – whether that be in typography, ink drawing, graphic design and even doodling. It's a perfect opportunity for you to learn from some of the best creatives without having to leave the comfort of your home or studio. 

Below we’ve pulled together a list of 11 of the best creatives in their respective disciplines offering tutorials on Skillshare that are well worth your time. Jessica Hische teaches the foundation of lettering, Aaron Draplin shares his logo design process, and illustrator Yuko Shimizu shows you how to create brilliant ink and pen drawings. 

Skillshare is a popular online video tutorial hub that offers classes on everything from design to cooking. You'll find hundreds of courses to help you achieve just about anything. See where Skillshare fits into our best round ups of online video tutorials for Adobe Photoshop, Cinema 4Dillustration and UX design

You can use Skillshare for free with selected classes that include videos and written tutorials, but if you sign up for Premium you'll get access to over 17,000 courses. Premium also gets you offline access and no ads. Subscriptions cost between US$7/around £5 and $10/around £7 per month depending on whether you pay monthly or for a year – so we think it's definitely worth it for the affordable price. Right now you can get 3 months for just $0.99, however, almost all of the classes mentioned below are only available through Premium.

Although we’ve only featured Skillshare so far – as it happens to be a popular platform among illustrators and designers – we will be adding other online tutorial hubs to the list.

Ink Drawing: Yuko Shimizu

Japanese illustrator who is now based in New York, Yuko Shimizu, has been creating brilliant ink drawings for years, gathering an online following of more than 325,000 as she does it. Alongside producing detailed ink and pen line work, she recently created the tiger illustration on the back of Conor McGregor’s vest for his August fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. She’s also worked for Nike, The New York Times and Pepsi as well as releasing her own children’s book and self-titled monograph.

Among her fine art, illustrations and special projects, she’s managed to find time to lead an entire class on essential inking and drawing techniques for Skillshare. From basic brush, nib, and ink techniques, Asian vs watercolour brushes, illustration textures, sketching and scanning essentials and inking fundamentals, you’ll learn everything you need to know to become an established inker in this 90-minute class.

“Almost everyday, more than one person will ask me, ‘What ink do you use? What brush do you use? How do you ink it?’,” says Yuko. If that’s one of your burning questions as well, then this is the class for you.

Yuko’s class has already been received positively, with almost 24,000 people signing up and plenty of positive reviews, saying Yuko is thorough, detailed and precise – perfect for people really wanting to get stuck in.

In Drawings Techniques: Brush, Nib, and Pen Style is made up of 14 videos, with a total length of 90 minutes.

Lettering and type design: Jessica Hische

 

Letterer, illustrator and type designer Jessica Hische will show you how to create letters and alphabets right from the first stages of making a single letter. This class will appeal to designers wanting to delve into lettering without much experience, or anyone looking to create a typeface without a lot of background knowledge.

In this class Jessica walks through her personal lettering process. You’ll learn to sketch ideas for a solid foundation, digitalise your work in Illustrator, identify what makes a letter look organic and how to apply those finishing touches.

And you’ll be learning from one of the best discipline practitioners – Jessica is known for her personal projects beyond work for big-name clients like Wes Anderson and Victoria’s Secret, Daily Drop Cap, her 2015 released book In Progress, and educational micro-sites such as Mom This is How Twitter Works and Don’t Fear the Internet

Lettering for Designers: One Drop Cap Letterform at a Time is made up of 13 videos, with a total length of one hour and 40 minutes. The course is only available through Premium. Sign up here.

Logo Design: Aaron Draplin

 

Aaron Draplin started his career with snowboard graphics, which quickly spread to logos for everything from café signs to local advertising campaigns. He’s now designer and founder of Draplindustries Design Co., where he’s worked with numerous editorials and snowboard brands as well as one-off logos, t-shirt graphics and Absinthe Films.

In this tutorial aimed at designers, Aaron will engage you in entertaining lessons on his logo design process with a personal project: the family crest. From background research to geometric structure and typography and colour, Aaron provides Illustrator demos, shortcuts and tips to create simplified logo designs.

Design a Logo with Aaron Draplin includes nine videos, with a overall total of 70 minutes learning time. The course is only available if you have Skillshare Premium. Sign up here.

Designing Circular Logos: Aaron Draplin

Because Aaron is so popular, we’ve got two of his classes featured here. This class covers the techniques and challenges of combining type and icons into a circle – a foundational shape of graphic design.

Learn the importance of hierarchy, line-weight and graphic balance, key commands and setting up and wrapping up your document. A working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator may be helpful but is not required – this class is for anyone from experts to beginners. 

Designing Circular Logos: Combining Type and Icons will take just more than hour with 10 individual videos. This course is only available if you have Skillshare Premium. Sign up here.

Data Visualisation: Nicholas Felton

 

As a data and design mastermind, and one of the lead designers of Facebook’s timeline, Nicholas Felton gives a great introduction to Processing and data visualisation, and provides a data set for you to get started with straight away. 

Nicholas, aka Feltron, released PhotoViz showcasing his eye for visualising data in a beautiful way. He’s also the founder of Daytum and designer of iPhone app Reporter. His work can be seen at the MoMA, and Fast Company profiled him as one of the 50 most influential designers in the US. Basically, if you’re interested in creating infographics, you’ll definitely want to learn from this guy.

In this course, Nicholas will walk you through the process of investigating a large amount of data, using Processing to project onto a map and polishing the appearance in Illustrator.

You’ll learn everything from the geometry of maps to importing data and drawing, connecting and labelling markers.

Data Visualization: Designing Maps with Processing and Illustrator is made up of 16 video tutorials making an overall total of one hour and 33 minutes. The course is only available if you have Skillshare Premium. Sign up here.

Doodle Design: Jon Burgerman

 

Doodle art genius Jon Burgerman has recently wowed us with his cheeky Instagram stories, giant murals and newly released children’s book It's Great to Create.

The New York City based English illustrator loves creating bold, colourful, simplistic and playful doodles which lead to anything from stickers to homeware design. 

In this class, learn how to create a doodle illustration yourself that can be used as an art print or screen print. You’ll begin by freely doodling, then tweak the work in digital form using Photoshop and Illustrator to create a digital graphic ready for a range of outputs.

Digital Illustration: Doodles to Designs is one hour and eight minutes, with 15 different video tutorials. This class is available for Skillshare Premium users only. Sign up here.

Poster Design: Ellen Lupton

If you want to design a compelling film poster of your own, then sit down and watch these video tutorials with Ellen Lupton. 

She’s a curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in NYC, and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at MICA. Alongside this, she’s won an AIGA Gold Medal and authored a book - Thinking with Type - among numerous articles on design. 

Ellen bases this Skillshare class on presenting work from the museum’s impressive collection of over 4,000 historic and contemporary posters. She was inspired by Cooper Hewitt’s 2015 book How Posters Work. Learn how to tell a story, simplify and focus the eye to create a compelling film poster of your own.

Demystifying Graphic Design: How Posters Work includes 11 video tutorials reaching just over an hour’s total length. Thankfully, this is a free Skillshare class, available for anyone to watch with a Skillshare account. Sign up here.

Hand-Lettering: Martina Flor

 

Letterer and designer Martina Flor believes everyone can learn the art of drawing letters, and we’re confident you can after watching her class on sketching and creating a lettering piece from scratch.

Based in Berlin, Martina runs her studio on lettering and custom typography, working in three languages for a range of international clients such as The Washington Post, Fontshop and Harrods. Personal projects include creating Letter Collections and Good Type, and she’s the co-founder of Lettering vs Calligraphy.

Her Skillshare class will train your 'typographic eye', refining sketches, vector drawing techniques, colour and texture and printing and correcting. 

The Golden Secrets of Hand-Lettering: Create the Perfect Postcard has 15 video tutorials that will take just under two hours to watch. This class is only available to Skillshare Premium users. Sign up here.

Side Projects: Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman

 

Although you might know Jessica Walsh from famed advertising agency Sagmeister & Walsh, and Timothy Goodman for his work for Airbnb and Google, the pair comes together to encourage creating your own side projects in this class.

Jessica and Timothy created the blog and book 40 Days of Dating and the blog 12 Kinds of Kindness. In this class, tailored for any passionate creative, they explore what projects have worked in their careers and why, ways to start your own project, and even give a demo of their popular lettering series Quotes on Shit

You’ll learn tips for sketching, designing and sharing your work – how to present, post about and pitch your work to get enough traction. 

The light-hearted 45 minute class – Just Make Stuff: Getting Creative with Side Projects - won’t take too much of your time, but should get the creative appetite growling for those who need a little freedom beyond the grind. Sign up here.

Art Posters: Chip Kidd

 

Chip Kidd’s book cover designs for Alfred A. Knopf helped to create a renewed appreciation in the art, and in this short class he uncovers his creative process of designing an art poster based on a real project he took on for the Brooklyn Book Festival in 2016.

Chip has worked as a designer and writer in New York City since 1986. He’s published two novels and an original graphic novel, as well as a guide to graphic design in 2013. He’s won the National Design Award for Communications among others, and lectured at Princeton, Yale and Harvard.

Chip explains his assignment, research strategy and graphic ideas so you can learn how to plan and research a new creative project, evaluate concepts and create original ideas independently.

Each lessons is filled with lesser-known examples of his poster work, as well as comparisons to his popular book cover designs.

Think Like a Designer: Making an Art Poster only takes 35 minutes over seven individual tutorial videos. It’s available to Skillshare Premium users only. Sign up here

Logo Design: Stefan G. Bucher

 

If you’re a designer or illustrator looking to push creative boundaries, then it’s definitely worth listening to Stefan Bucher aka the king of design guidebooks and title sequences. 

This class is a little different that other logo design tutorials. Posing the question What will the world be like in 2045?, Stefan brainstorms a fictional product then lets you follow his process from sketch, to Photoshop and Illustrator, even creating a custom typeface for his product name. 

Use this class to have a little fun with ideas, challenge your thinking and explore the territory of the future. 

Stefan is the author of 344 Questions – The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival and Artistic Fulfilment. He’s designed titles for films Immortals and Mirror, Mirror as well as time-lapse drawings, and designs for The New York Times. 

Creative Thinking with Constraints: Designing Logos of the Future is made up of nine videos with a total time of 43 minutes. This class is available for Skillshare Premium users only. Sign up here.

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