Last week I had Skillshare teacher Jenn Coyle talking about how she came to teach online and also her illustration business. Today I have Jenn Coyles student, Denise Palmer, talking with us about how she learned watercolor with Jenn Coyle online through Skillshare.
Skillshare is an online global community for creators. The classes are presented in a way that you can learn at your own pace with bite size, high quality videos.
Here’s Denise 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, I am Denise, a watercolor artist, illustrator, and surface pattern designer. I live in the United States in sunny Lakeland, Florida. Our house was built with a studio in mind, so it is a great space, and I love the flexibility of working from home.
Have you always been creative? Are you from a creative family?
When I was a little girl, I was always doodling or drawing something, and have always loved to paint. Painting my house is something I love to do, and have used acrylic paints to do fun murals on my children’s bedroom walls. I love seeing a new color and design brighten a room. Growing up there were writers and furniture makers in my family, but no drawing or paint artists. I learned to paint and draw on my own.
When did you first start creating? What formal education do you have related to art & design?
I first started in high school journalism class. Getting to use the page layout program in that class was my favorite part of the school day. I have a 2 year general degree in arts, but most of what I do now has been self taught, or learned from online classes.
When did you recognize that you would pursue design?
In 2004 I started learning to design, but I did not fully pursue a career in design until 2011 when we moved and I had the time and opportunity to change careers.
Which class on Skillshare did you take and how has it helped you in your current business?
My most recent Skillshare class is Jenn Coyle’s Watercolor Meets Surface Pattern Design. I have been working on expanding my portfolio, and knew I wanted to create my next pattern collection with watercolors. Jenn’s class showed up in my Skillshare feed just as I was planning to do my first watercolor pattern. It was perfect timing for me, and her class is excellent!
How did you enjoy this way of learning online as opposed to the traditional way?
As a mom of 3 children, I need to be able to learn at my own pace and not during typical hours of the day.
Being able to take classes online fits right into my life. I love Skillshare! It has definitely helped me grow as a designer.
What did you enjoy most about the class?
I thoroughly enjoyed the lessons, but what I have enjoyed most is getting Jenn’s feedback on my work. It is so nice to get another designer’s honest thoughts on the direction you are going with a design.
Can you share a project from your class with us and walk us through your workflow from start to finish? Perhaps you have produced a product at the end you can also share with us?
I first sketched out my artwork on regular white paper, then transferred my sketches to watercolor paper. Next I painted my motifs with watercolors and outlined them with my colored micron pens. The next step was scanning in each of the finished pieces at 300 dpi.
After scanning the artwork in, I removed the white of the watercolor paper and cleaned up the artwork in Photoshop. Once the artwork has no white background, they are then saved as transparent PNGs. I then open up the PNGs in Adobe Illustrator and vectorize all watercolor motifs.
When vectorized, they are scaleable, and able to be put into a repeating pattern. I am still working on finishing the whole collection, which will consist of 10 coordinating patterns.
In the next several months, I plan to have an online store on my web site selling different products, and I will be selling art prints of my watercolor work. This is a mock-up of one of the art prints I plan to sell on my site from the Good Boy Doggie collection.
Do you have a project, outside of Skillshare, that you’re particularly proud of?
The latest project I am working on is a creative library for creatives who want to stay in touch with me, and it will launch the beginning of March this year. The creative library will house exclusive content, like seasonal iphone and desktop wallpapers, downloadable art prints, worksheets, and workbooks. I will also be adding other types of content in the future.
Your readers can download one of the iPhone wallpapers right here before it is released in the library.
With your new class skills, where do you see yourself in the future. Are you looking to build a business around it or will it be a part of something bigger?
I took the class to build on my skills as a designer, and I am always going to push myself to learn new things. My future will be continuing to build my portfolio as a watercolor artist & surface pattern designer. Pattern design will be a part of growing my design studio business.
Which tools can you simply not live without?
- Adobe CC, computer, scanner,
- Windsor Newton watercolors, my favorite brushes, watercolor paper,
- micron pens,
- & Google docs
Thanks so much to Denise for sharing her beautiful work and please follow her on all her social media. If you enjoyed this, I would love you to just click and share.