Classes

How to Sign Up for a Free Skillshare Account

I teach a lot of art and writing classes on Skillshare, an online learning platform with a Netflix-style subscription model. You can always sign up for a free trial of Skillshare–just use this link to check it out.

But there is also a completely free version of Skillshare–no credit card required! Granted, there are not as many classes on the free platform. I might only ever have one class at a time on the free platform, and that’s usually for a limited time period. But this does give you a way to really check it out before you go further.

To sign up for the free version, just go here to create an account.

Probably the next screen you see will look kind of like this. But you don’t have to enter payment information on that screen. You’re already done–you’ve created a free account and you can start using it. Just click that Skillshare link in the upper left, and you’re back to the website and ready to start browsing.

Skillshare screen shot

 

Then, to see which of my classes are available for free at the moment, just do a search for my name (or any term, such as “watercolor”) and then click the Free button, which I’ve circled in red below.

skillshare screen shot how to search for free classes

But of course, I do hope you’ll try the Premium version as well! It’s how instructors get paid for their work, and I find my Skillshare membership to be very useful in all kinds of unexpected ways, from cooking classes to help with little technology challenges.

Build Great Writing Habits

 

If you struggle to find the time, the patience, and the focus you need to get your writing project done, you’re not alone. Every writer deals with distractions, dead ends, and those days when nothing works.

In the twenty years that I’ve been working full-time as an author, I’ve never not had a book under contract. That means I have to get up every day and write, even when I don’t feel like it.

Over the years, I’ve developed all kinds of tricks and techniques to help me keep going. Now I’m going to teach you everything that’s worked for me.  I’m going to give you my twenty best ideas for building a successful writing practice. I’ve used all of these at one time or another, and it’s how I’ve kept writing—and supported myself as a full-time author—for two decades.

Whether you’re embarking on your first writing project, or trying to get your tenth book finished, you’ll find something here that helps you to maintain a more satisfying, productive writing practice.

You can take this class now on Skillshare, which is a Netflix-style platform for online classes. This link gives you a free trial.

You can also take it on Udemy, where you pay per class for only the classes you want to take. I’ve bundled this class with two other writing classes designed to get you on the road to writing your book. Go here to check that out.

Gouache Florals!

I’m teaching a new class on painting floral still lifes in gouache or watercolor–and you have two choices about how to take the class.

Here on Skillshare, which is a subscription-style platform like Netflix, you can get a free trial and take all the classes you like. 

Or if you’d rather just take one class at a time, and pay as you go, you can take this class on Udemy as well.

More about the class…

Would you like to learn to paint simple, whimsical floral arrangements, or do you want to explore new ideas about color mixing and design? How about both?

In this class, we’re going to use your choice of paint—gouache or watercolor—along with markers, paint pens, colored pencils, or any mixed media tool you like, to create inventive, inspired floral arrangements. We’ll also try out a color-mixing exercise to extend a simple palette of colors by mixing wonderful pastels and neutrals.

Then we’ll look at how to create color combinations from the new variety of colors we’ve mixed.

These techniques form the basis of all still life paintings. I hope you’ll start with flowers, and move on to fruit, bowls, mugs of tea, houseplants—whatever you’d like to arrange and paint.

I’m going to encourage you to be really free and imaginative with your floral arrangements. Concoct your own color scheme! Design your own vase! Invent new colors for flowers that you’ve never seen in nature!

Inspired by the creativity of masters like Matisse, you’ll be able to work from my example, or from your own still life setups, or from photographs you gather yourself. These still life floral paintings make beautiful framed pieces, they’re great as gifts, and they’re lovely on cards. Enjoy!

Are You Thinking of Writing a Book? I Can Help!

Hey, here’s something new! I’ve taken my three most popular writing classes and bundled them into one course. It’s available now on Udemy–go here to find out more.

You can always take an art or writing class from me at Skillshare, which is a membership-based site kind of like Netflix. Go here to see everything I’m teaching on Skillshare and get a free trial.

But I thought I would try out Udemy as well, for people who would rather just pay a la carte for classes. Let me know what you think!

Here’s a bit more about the class:

As the author of over a dozen books, I know how daunting the blank page can be. When I’m on book tour, the question I hear most often from aspiring writers is: “I have an idea for a book, but where do I begin?” I get it! Starting a new book is a huge challenge, no matter how many times you’ve done it.

In this class, I’m going to walk you through the steps I take to start a first draft. I promise it’ll be easy, fun, and low-pressure.

In the first section, we’ll gather our ideas. You’ll get to hang out at your favorite bookstore or library. You’ll get to tear open a fresh new package of index cards. Best of all, you’ll start filling a notebook (or a computer screen!) with pages.

In the second section, we’ll work on shaping those ideas into a story. How do you organize your ideas into a coherent book? I’ll teach you the storytelling methods that I rely on for every book I write, and I’ll use real-world examples from well-known books, as well as from students in my own workshops. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, or memoir—there are ideas here for all kinds of book projects.

Finally, I’ll share some approaches for building a successful writing practice. It’s one thing to start a book, but it’s another thing to keep going, day after day! If you struggle to find the time, the patience, and the focus you need to get your writing project done, this section is for you. And you’re not alone–every writer deals with distractions, dead ends, and those days when nothing works. I’m going to give you my twenty best ideas for building a successful writing practice. I’ve used all of these at one time or another, and it’s how I’ve kept writing—and supported myself as a full-time author—for two decades.

Are you ready? Whether you’re embarking on your first writing project, or trying to get your tenth book finished, this class is designed to get you on the road.

 

It’s Pumpkin Season!

 

This class is available on Skillshare! Get a free trial and check out all my classes with this link.

Pumpkins! Could anything be more fun to paint?

One of the best ways to learn to draw and paint is to do a still life. You get to work on shapes, proportion, composition, values (meaning light and dark), and color.

Best of all, it’ll help you develop your own style.

For this class, we’ll paint a beautiful arrangement of pumpkins on a porch. A project like this is so much fun to do in mixed media, where you build up layers with different materials. You get rich textures and interesting contrast by combining watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, pastel, paint pens, markers, and/or ink.

Use whatever art supplies you have to create a lively, interesting style that’ll be uniquely yours.

Travel Sketching in a Cafe: Food & Drink in Pencil & Watercolor

Check out this class on Skillshare, and get 2 months free to check out everything Skillshare has to offer, with this link.

One of the best parts of traveling is trying a different cuisine. And the fact is, when you’re traveling, you do end up spending a lot of time in restaurants.

That means that your travel sketchbook is the perfect place for drawing food and drink! It’s also a fun way to pass the time in a café.

And it’s not just for travel—drawing your drink, or drawing your dinner, is a great practice for everyday sketching.

In this class, I’m going to show you how to capture food and drink in real time, at the table.

That means we’ll be learning techniques to work quickly in pencil and watercolor.

We’ll practice basic geometrical shapes so you’ll already know how to draw a glass or a plate accurately before you even start.

We’ll learn about a few colors that are especially useful for drawing food and drink.

And we’ll learn a style of drawing in pencil that is whimsical and also personal to you.

This style is quick and informal, but it’s everything you need to know to capture memorable meals and those little everyday moments at the kitchen table.

Urban Sketching in New York City!

 

My new art class is live on Skillshare now. Use this link to check out the class and get 2 months free to explore everything they have to offer.

Do you love New York? So do I! It’s my favorite spot for urban sketching, travel sketching, and kind of exploring and art-making.

In this class, we’re going to focus on the one skill you really need to paint a city like New York: Perspective.

We’ll use Manhattan for our laboratory to look at the fundamentals of perspective.

We’ll work out how to identify your horizon line and your vanishing point.

We’ll see how all the lines in an image converge to that vanishing point.

We’ll start a drawing by putting down some perspective lines to help guide us.

And then, with those guidelines in place, I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can create an accurate drawing.

When you get this piece right, you can be really free and loose with your drawing and painting.

This is easy to learn and fun to practice. Join me!

Anybody dreaming of Italy?

 

Ah, Italy! I was there exactly one year ago, and I wish I was there right now! At least we can dream.

My new Skillshare class is all about simplifying a classic Italian village scene. Go here to preview the class and get 2 months free on Skillshare, which is more than enough time to travel the world (virtually, anyway) and improve your sketchbook skills!

First, we’ll focus on getting the major shapes in place by measuring how they fit into the frame and how they fit next to each other.

Second, we’re going to use wet-into-wet watercolor techniques to capture the feeling of stone and tile without actually drawing every single stone and every single tile.

Third, we’re going to use wet over dry techniques to add in shadows and a few bright colors and other details.

The idea is to get the major shapes and the light and shadows right, and then to simplify everything else.

Learn these simple tricks, and you can paint all of Italy with a pen, watercolor, and a sketchbook.  Just be sure to bring me along!

Come sketch with me in a French village!

 

OK, we’re not actually GOING to France. But you can practice being in France with your sketchbook!

Take this class on Skillshare now, and get 2 months free with this link: https://skl.sh/3hXKhyN

Join me on a travel sketching adventure in the beautiful village of Cambos-Les-Bains, France! We’re going to paint a scene that addresses one of the biggest challenges of travel sketching: how to give a scene depth, so that you feel that you’re stepping into the picture.

You’ll learn how to handle perspective in a scene like this, where the road is winding and sloping.

You’ll also try different types of lines to make these buildings feel real—even when we’re just doing a quick travel sketch.

Finally, you’ll see how to use strong light and strong shadows to give the scene depth and capture a particular moment in time.

I’ll share my photos for you to work with, or you’re welcome to try out these techniques on photos from your own travels!

Rewrite, Revise, Revisit: A Guide to Editing Your Book

 

Have you finished a first draft? Congratulations! Now the fun begins.

Every writer knows that editing is the most important part of the writing process. This is where all the really important, meaningful work happens.

It’s where you have the most control, and the ability to really carry out your intentions and make this into the kind of book you set out to write in the first place.

In this class I’m going to give you a toolbox for approaching every edit, and every revision, of your book, including:

  • What you can do in the early stages of editing
  • What’s better to leave for the final stages
  • How to handle the edits you get back from your editor
  • What happens in the copyediting and proofreading stages

This class is for anyone who has finished a first draft, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, memoir, an essay collection, a how-to guide—no matter what kind of book you’re writing, a top-notch edit will get it ready for publication.

You can take this class now on Skillshare, which is a Netflix-style platform for online classes. This link gives you a free trial.

You can also take it on Udemy, where you pay per class for only the classes you want to take. I’ve bundled this class with another course of mine, Write Your First Draft, and renamed the whole package Finish Your Book. You can take them both together for one affordable price. Go here to check that out.