CreativeLive Mid-Year Sale: Save up to 50%!

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It’s no secret that I love CreativeLive. Since I first discovered them a few years ago I’ve watched hundreds of classes while they were streaming, purchased many, and even attended two as part of the studio audience. It has been such an amazing educational resource for me. Right now CreativeLive is having their mid-year sale where all classes are up to 50% off!! No coupon code needed, simply go to their catalog and choose the classes you want.

Shop Creative Live Classes

When CreativeLive first started they were really focused on photographers. No w they have five different channels; Photo & Video, Art & Design, Music & Audio, Craft & Maker, and Money & Life. They have classes on everything a creative entrepreneur needs. Whether you need help with business, marketing, or actual artistic techniques you are sure to find something useful. If you aren’t sure where to get started here are a few of my favorite classes:

Kickstarter for Photographers and Film Makers

This is one of the classes that I attended in the creativeLive studio. In this class Clay Hebert walked us through the steps to take before and during a Kickstarter campaign to ensure its success. He showed us some case studies on a few successful projects that he had worked with and showed us why they succeeded.

The Creative Newborn Photography Studio

This was the second class that I attended in studio and it was a life changer for me! Julia Kelleher is an amazing teacher and I absolutely loved her passion for teaching. Julia encouraged each of us to find a way to be creative and put our own hearts into our work. She encouraged us to try new things and find a personal project to work on. We got to watch her photograph a few different newborns as well as work on her own personal project exploring motherhood. She showed us the basics of creating a painting in Corel Painter as well as how she mounts her art prints. It was because of this class that I first tried digital painting which I LOVE and is now one of the staples of my business.

Photoshop Classes by Ben Willmore

There are TONS of classes a on Photoshop on CreativeLive and it can be hard to choose which one to purchase! I would highly recommend anything by Ben Willmore. I have watched several of his classes. He has an easy to follow teaching style. He explains things in a simple manner so that anyone can follow along. He doesn’t stop there though, he also goes into more advanced concepts and ideas. I have never failed to learn something new from every call of his that I have watched.

Brush Lettering Bundle

This bundle includes three excellent classes by Laura Worthington. Watching and participating in this class was probably the most fun I’ve had with a CreativeLive class outside of the studio. Laura started with the very basics of how to use the brush to create lines and shapes before moving on to letter forms. She then discussed how to think through and add flourishes and other ornamentation. From there the third class of this bundle discusses how to take a piece form idea through sketching to a finished piece.

These are just a few of my very favorite classes, but there are hundreds more that I have watched and enjoyed. Go check them out now while everything is on sale! You won’t regret it.

Have you watched any classes on CreativeLive? What were your favorites? What types of classes are you searching for? Please share and ask for recommendations in the comments. Let’s help everyone get their perfect class! 

Unslumping Myself- A Day of Art

I’ve been in a major creative slump lately. I think more than anything it’s just pure exhaustion! The uncomfortableness of the third trimester of pregnancy and now having a newborn means sleep is a rare commodity. Thankfully last night I slept like a rock in between baby wakings. I have decided to dedicate today to being artistic.

I have three things I’m hoping to work on today. First I want to get some practice in on my Calligraphy. I have a coloring page all ready to go except for the words at the top. I want to write them in my calligraphy, but I need to practice the phrase a few times first to get it right.

Learn for a Latte Worksheet |SmithSquad.com | I got this awesome practice worksheet from The Postman's Knock |Learning modern calligraphy
One of my Learn for a Latte worksheets from “The Postman’s Knock”

The second thing I want to work on is creating at least one new coloring page for my motherhood coloring book. I told myself I’d have the whole book done by March 31st. Clearly that did not happen. I completely overestimated my ability to work on it. I didn’t really factor in the third trimester exhaustion and hormones when making my plans. Time to get back on the horse and get some new pages created.

mother and child colored pencil
The drawing that inspired the idea for my coloring book

Third I want to watch more of my Watercolor 101 class from CreativeLive and play around with the techniques presented. I have Derwent watercolor pencils, Sakura Koi watercolor brush markers and Simply Art watercolor cakes. I’ve enjoyed playing around with each of them, but frankly don’t really know what I’m doing. Watercolor is a new medium for me that I’m excited to get to know better.

watercolor-ballerina-and-bear-web
My first attempt coloring with the Sakura Koi brush markers

I’m hoping that by dedicating a day to being artistic, doing some things I’m familiar with as well as working on new techniques, I can get back into the flow of things where I spend at least an hour or two a day working on my art. I’ve got to get out of this slump!

What do you do when you are in a creative slump? Do you have any awesome calligraphy, coloring pages, or watercolor works to inspire me with? Share links in the comments so I can check them out!

Learning Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering

I have often admired those who could do modern calligraphy and fancy hand lettering. I remember trying it out when I was a kid, probably around age 10 or so, with my mom’s scrapbook pens. I wasn’t instantly amazing at it, so I decided it wasn’t one of my talents and didn’t try again. I have a really bad habit of doing that which I am trying to break.

 

As I’ve been learning more about Zentangle, watercolors, and expanding my art talents I decided it was time to give Calligraphy another go. This time I put a lot more effort into researching and I haven’t given up on myself after a few half-hearted tries. I can definitely see the improvement in my work and I’m excited to try additional pens and inks.

Beginning Modern Calligraphy Study Resources

Beginnign Modern Calligraphy Supplies | SmithSquad.com | Speedball pen | Nikko G Nib | Kuretake Sumi ink | water and towel
Here are some of the supplies I use

The first thing I did when I decided it was time to learn again was search for Calligraphy groups on Facebook. I love Facebook groups. They can be such a wealth of knowledge and are a great way to get instant feedback on my work. I was extremely fortunate to stumble on Melissa Esplin’s group specifically for her website calligraphy.org. I am totally drooling over her classes, unfortunately they haven’t been in the budget yet. I will definitely be taking them as soon as I can. I have found her free videos, blog posts, and supplies lists to be extremely helpful.

Asking for recommendations in these groups led me to purchase the book “Modern Calligraphy” by Molly Thorpe. This is an EXCELLENT beginners book. She talks about how to choose pens, inks and papers as well as how to create letters and has several different examples of various letter forms. I love that she encourages students to find their own style rather than simply copying an exact alphabet from others.

Learn for a Latte Worksheet |SmithSquad.com | I got this awesome practice worksheet from The Postman's Knock |Learning modern calligraphy
One of my Learn for a Latte worksheets from “The Postman’s Knock”

The other awesome resource I have learned from is The Postman’s Knock. Lindsey is an amazing calligrapher and puts tons of helpful tutorials, product reviews, and tips and tricks on her blog. She also sells worksheets for learning different styles/alphabets called “Learn for a Latte“. You can download and print a set of worksheets for only $5! She also has a few video classes ranging from $10-25. If you follow her on Facebook or on her blog she also routinely does product giveaways.

Beginning Modern Calligraphy Supplies

using an artist board to get a stable slanted calligraphy workspace | SmithSquad.com | Learning Modern Calligraphy |
Using my artist board outside. I love how I can take it anywhere!

When I found Melissa Esplin’s group I was directed to her list of preferred supplies on Paper and Ink Arts. I compared different sites and since they had the best prices and great reviews I went ahead and ordered each of the nibs on her list as well as some ink. When I bought the Calligraphy book from Amazon I also ordered a Speedball Calligraphy Kit. So far I’ve used the straight holder from that along with a Nikko G nib, and Kuretake black Sumi ink. These are the starting supplies that were also recommended on The Postman’s Knock. It was suggested to stay with one nib and type of ink as you are learning so that you have consistency. I feel like I have really gotten the hang of the Nikko G nib, so I am planning to branch out to trying a few of the other nibs that I have purchased soon. I’m also looking forward to experimenting with brush Calligraphy with my Sakura Koi Watercolor Brush Pens. One other thing that I have found VERY useful is an artist sketch board. I don’t have a great desk space and my kitchen table is a bit wobbly. Using the sketch board allows me to get a comfortable angle on my paper and a stable surface to write on.

A Desire to Inspire

One big reason that I have committed so much time lately to my own artistic education is the desire to inspire my kids. How can I teach them to follow their passions and talents with dedication and hard work if I am not willing to do the same? Watching me learn and persevere is every bit as crucial to their education as me encouraging them to learn. It is so much easier to lead by example than to try to get them to do things that I am not willing to do myself.

What are you doing to lead by example? What new studies or talents are you learning right now?