Jenn Coyle – talking about life and teaching with Skillshare.
In between teaching, creating and preparing for the arrival of her first baby, Jenn is sharing an interesting insight into her busy life.
Here’s Jenn Coyle in her own words…
Can you introduce yourself to our readers? Where are you from, where are you based now? Do you work from home or have a studio?
Hello there! I’m Jenn Coyle, a Philadelphia-based designer and illustrator. I recently made the jump to work for myself in October of 2015, thanks to the support and encouragement of my boyfriend Adams. All of the work I create is now from my home office, which is currently prepped to double as a nursery when our first son comes this spring!
Have you always been creative? Are you from a creative family?
As a child, I was as creative as any other child. Children have such a wonderful way of not letting their egos or creative fears get in the way of what they’re making. So, I fit right in with that mindset! I definitely had a lot of creative influence growing up: I watched my parents decorate and re-decorate their houses and rental properties, my mom made gemstone jewelry and sold her work at craft shows, and my parents encouraged me to explore creative avenues like stamping and sculpture. In my high school years, I began to focus more on academics and I felt like I was missing out on my artistic side.
When did you first get into design?
I first got into design in middle school and high school when I would re-arrange and re-decorate my bedroom obsessively. I even had little space plans on graph paper with moveable furniture so I could see if my ideas would work before I put in any elbow grease! Little did I know I was space planning and paving the way for an interest in interior architecture and design.
When did you recognize that you would pursue this path?
I struggled with academics versus design throughout high school and into college, where I originally chose psychology as my major. A year and a half into my psychology degree, I decided my true calling was interior design, as indicated by my space planning tendencies growing up, combined with my growing appreciation for architecture. I transferred out of my psychology degree and into an interior design program. A few years later, I held my degree for a surprisingly technical field that married art and critical thinking. It was perfect for me.
Where did you learn your skills and how have they helped you in your current business?
If you’re familiar with my work, it may surprise you that I have a degree in interior design. Most of my current path stems from web design, web development, graphic design, and fine art. My interior design degree only cut a small path for me for my current endeavors because it introduced me to the Adobe suite when we learned how to digitally render our interior design drawings for presentations. Besides the intro to Photoshop and InDesign at my college, the rest of what I know today is because I taught myself!
How did you get into teaching with Skillshare? Did you use Skillshare yourself before teaching and do you take classes yourself? Which classes other than yours would you recommend?
Several years went by after I graduated with my interior design degree. I graduated during the economic downturn and ended up working in fundraising data analysis for quite a few years. Because the field was so dry, I started blogging on the side. I blogged about typography, then health, then beauty products, and then it finally melded into a design blog. I realized after several more months that I love learning and teaching new things in the digital art realm, and soon my blog Hello Brio took off as a hand lettering blog. During this time, I learned how to make my own hand-drawn font, and I published a tutorial on Hello Brio.
Soon after that, Skillshare reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in teaching a class. I hadn’t used Skillshare before, but was excited at the opportunity to join a growing community of teachers and self-propelled learners.
I’ve taken only a few classes myself, and I recommend Bonnie Christine and Elizabeth Olwen’s surface pattern design classes, as well as Teela Cunningham’s water brush lettering class.
How did you come up with the ideas for your classes?
I come up with ideas for classes by talking with a Skillshare community manager. We talk about what I’ve been blogging about lately, or what I’m most passionate about at the time, and then we go back and forth and brainstorm potentially successful class ideas. Working with Skillshare on course development is an awesomely collaborative experience!
How long did it take you to prepare one class? Did you enjoy the experience and will you continue to create classes in the future?
My first class took me quite a while to create, record, edit, and market. I think my first class, Paper to Digital: Create Your Own Hand Drawn Font , took about a month overall to really get my ducks in a row. Recording and editing took a long weekend. My subsequent classes were easier and much quicker to outline, record, and edit, simply because I was more familiar with the tools I was using (ScreenFlow for screencast recording and allover video editing), and I knew I’d be able to record and complete all the modules within a couple of days.
What’s the most satisfy thing about being a teacher?
The most satisfying thing about being a Skillshare teacher is the feedback you get. Nothing makes me happier than when a student leaves a comment or a review saying “I learned so much” or “Your class is exactly what I needed to get out of a creative rut” or something similar.”
Tell us a little bit about your business outside of Skillshare and the services you offer. How has your teaching helped your own business?
I can’t say how much teaching on Skillshare has affected my business, but teaching in general will help you be successful. Successful blogs exist for one of four reasons: educate, entertain, inspire, and inform. I truly believe that the most successful blogs and creative entrepreneurs are the way they are because their main goal is to help others, and teaching/educating is a great way to share your knowledge and establish your expertise in a field, making you a known resource.
Outside of Skillshare I offer:
- a self-hosted course called Better Blog Graphics
- a monthly membership called Briolettes offering graphic design assets and exclusive tutorials.
- a shop on Creative Market (affiliate)
I also offer an e-book called Getting Started with Brush Lettering. You can get the first chapter FREE by clicking the image below.
Do you have any special projects you’re working on at the moment? For example; new classes coming up, or something outside of Skillshare that you’d like to share with us?
My newest exciting project is the Briolettes, which I launched just this month. I’m really excited to offer this new membership because I’ll be publishing all future in-depth tutorials through the Briolette membership. The focus of the exclusive tutorials will be on digitizing hand-drawn lettering and art, which I believe is a valuable skill. The Briolette membership also offers exclusive graphic design resources and inspirational high-res art in order to inspire creativity.
What are your future plans, do you have a bigger picture or are you taking it one project at a time?
Which tools can you simply not live without?
Tools! I can’t live without:
- my MacBook Pro and my external monitor.
- Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and InDesign is a new friend of mine as well.
- I use Glyphs for font creation,
- and I frequently use ScreenFlow to help with video editing and course recording.
As for art supplies:
- I love having watercolor at my disposal,
- a set of high quality inking pens, whether they’re Micron, Copic Multiliners, or Faber-Castell PITT artist pens.
- I brainstorm best with colored pencils.
- I’m also a very dedicated Moleskine user for sketchbooks.
- Oh, and I definitely couldn’t do most of the work I do without my cheap-o scanner, a Canon LIDE 110!
- I have all of my must-have resources here www.hellobrio.com/resources
Where can we find you?
Many thanks to Jenn for sharing her life as a designer and teacher with us. Be sure to check out her classes if you haven’t already and if you’re interested in joining Skillshare, use my affiliate link and get your first month free.
Please support Jenn Coyle by following her social media above and share this post if you enjoyed it. You can keep up-to-date with new posts and also get access to the FREE library by joining our newsletter for Surface Pattern Designers + Artists!
I’ll be back soon with one of Jenn’s students, see you then!