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Skillshare Review for Designers and Artists

20 February 2020 (updated) - By August van de Ven
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What is Skillshare?

One of the most popular of these platforms for learning and teaching via video courses is Skillshare. Skillshare is a platform that lets you learn more about various topics such as creative topics like design and illustration and topics that have to do with business and entrepreneurship. Skillshare was launched in 2012 with just 15 classes and they have currently grown their catalog to over 28,000 classes of which they offer a few hundred for free and they currently state to have over seven million users. The other, premium classes, require you to sign up for a subscription or use the trial to try it out for two months, before being able to follow those classes.

Skillshare’s Classes

Skillshare’s collection of classes is quite impressive and that is also due to the fact that everyone can apply to become a teacher on Skillshare. This means that you have many more options to choose from but it can also lead to bad information that is being taught. Skillshare tries to solve this by letting the community comment and review each class. Besides those user-created classes, they have also begun offering a lot of ‘Skillshare Originals’ in which they cover a topic, taught by an industry professional. These classes are often of high production quality and feature people like designer Paula Scher. Overall, most classes are of good quality. One downside I found is that the classes, especially the more popular ones, are often quite short. Many people teaching on Skillshare seem to create individual classes for specific topics and then create a bunch of classes to cover all those topics. I like it better if a class covers an entire subject where the class itself is divided into more individual topics.

Mobile app and website

You can use their website to watch the classes but they also have an app for iPhone and Android so you can learn on the go just by logging into your account. When you are using the app, you can also download the classes to watch them later when you don’t have access to an internet connection. The mobile website also works fine if you prefer that but the app works a lot better if you want to use skillshare on mobile.

Skillshare Community

A recent addition to Skillshare is the community section. This is a way for users of Skillshare to give feedback on a class or ask further questions on parts of the classes they didn’t understand. Online classes can often feel outdated or one-sided. This is a good way of trying to solve this. It also helps out to know if a class is worth it by checking the community reviews first, before investing your time into following it. A feature like this is necessary, really, to also know whether the person teaching the class is right and knows what they’re talking about.

Skillshare Groups and Student Projects

The Skillshare Groups and Student Projects sections are also a way for Skillshare to create more of a community on the website. Skillshare Groups function a little bit like Reddit in the way that you can join specific groups that fit your interest or topics that you are looking to learn more about. You can join these groups and post your work for example. Other users can then give you feedback or ask their questions about your work. The Student Projects section works in a similar way in that you can post your work there that you created using a Skillshare class and then people can like your posts or also give you some feedback. It’s a great way of creating more of a community but many of the groups seem quite inactive and a lot of student projects aren’t given any feedback. It seems that this is caused by the fact that these sections are pretty hidden on the website. It would be cool if they promoted these sections a bit more so that they would become a bit more active.

Skillshare Pricing

Skillshare offers quite affordable pricing plans. First of all, you don’t have to pay to watch the free classes so that’s also a great way to try it out without having to pay for it. For the paid subscription plans, they also offer some quite generous free trials. You can try it out for 2 months, for example, using our link: skillshare.com/signup. That should be long enough for anyone looking to try it out for a bit.

When you do want to commit to a paid subscription, prices are $15 per month for the monthly plan and around $8 per month for the annual plan. The annual plan is paid in one payment of $99. Skillshare’s prices are quite competitive compared to their rivals like Linkedin Learning ($20/mo) or pay-per-course platforms like Udemy that charge similar prices for a single course.

Recommended Classes

The class library of skillshare, with over 28,000 classes can be a bit overwhelming at first. Here, I compiled a list of some of the best and most interesting classes per category. These are the classes you should try out if you’re an aspiring designer or artist.

Dynamic Brand Identity: Designing Logos That Evolve

This is quite a special class because it is taught by legendary designer Paula Scher. She is widely known in the design world for her graphic designs and her work at Pentagram. Her clients include brands like Bloomberg, Microsoft, Bausch + Lomb, Coca-Cola, Shake Shack and many more. She also has won various design awards and appeared in the Netflix series about design called ‘Abstract’. The class is mainly focussed on logo design and is rated ‘intermediate’ by the Skillshare community so maybe try some other courses before this one if you’re just starting out as a designer.

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Customizing Type with Draplin: Creating Wordmarks That Work

Aaron Draplin is a designer and the founder of Draplin Design Co. He has quite a large following, with over 200,000 followers on Instagram and 50,000 on Twitter. Draplin is an expert at creating wordmarks and customizing type and that’s what this class is all about. It’s one of the most popular Skillshare classes on design and definitely worth checking out. Reviews for this class are mostly positive and this class is also rated ‘intermediate’. Each lesson is no longer than 10 minutes long and it will take you about 1 hour and 30 minutes to watch the whole class. Aaron Draplin also has a lot of other interesting design classes on Skillshare which are worth watching.

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Illustrator Secrets: 5 Techniques to Add Realism to Your Work

If you want to get into illustration or just want to learn more about illustration, digital illustration to be specific, I would recommend trying out some classes made by DKNG Studios. They’re a design and illustration studio that create amazing works. Both design and illustration. They currently have seven Skillshare Originals which are 40 minutes to about 2.5 hours in length. Take a look at their course library and pick a class that fits you if you want to get better with Adobe Illustrator or just want to refresh your illustration skills.

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Lettering for Designers: One Drop Cap Letterform at a Time

If you want to get more into lettering, this is a great class to follow. It is a Skillshare Orginal by Jessica Hische, a best-selling author and well-known letterer and illustrator. She has worked with some very big clients like Wes Anderson, Tiffany & Co., The New York Times, Penguin Books, Target, Leo Burnett, and Wired Magazine. In this class, she covers the whole process of lettering including topics like sketching and digitizing in Adobe Illustrator.

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Skillshare Reviews on Reddit

Reddit is a great place to find out the quality and public opinion about a product you’re interested in. That means that there are of course plenty of discussions on Reddit about skillshare and if Skillshare is worth it. Overall, most people on Reddit are positive about Skillshare. The people that are somewhat critical about Skillshare, mention that they didn’t get a notification whenever their trial period is ending. Others believe that they can learn an equal amount of material via free platforms like YouTube for example or find that going to school to get classes on the subjects you are interested in are more valuable.

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