We publish weekly illustrations by Mari Andrew, who has such a perceptive way of drawing life’s experiences — from making playlists to breaking up. I’ve always wondered: How does she turn her ideas into art? So, I was psyched to learn that Mari teaches a drawing class on Skillshare, the online learning community with over 13,000 classes in design, cooking, business and more. Here’s a peek at Mari’s new class, plus three others we’re streaming this month (and a special offer from Skillshare)…
Drawing as Self Discovery (40 Minutes)
Joanna: When Mari Andrew went through a tough stretch last year (a heath scare, loss, heartbreak), she channeled her experiences into an illustration project. “I put happiness on my calendar every day,” she says, of her decision to start posting a drawing once a day on Instagram. Her heartwarming personal story is the jumping-off point for her Skillshare class, which offers really fun challenges and self-reflection exercises, like drawing your own brain or portrait of your future self. “You don’t need to be an artist to express yourself with art,” she explains. Her advice is to think of drawing as a form of self care, as she did, and set out to make yourself a collection that helps you grow.
Writing the Real You (33 Minutes)
Stella: I recognized my teacher, Ashley Ford, before I started her class, since I’d read her moving pieces in ELLE, The Guardian, BuzzFeed and Lenny Letter. Watching her creative writing class was like having a wordsmith fairy on my shoulder, whispering the kindest encouragement. Ashley shares tricks for pulling memories to the present (make a playlist of songs you listened to at that time), tips for focusing on your work (physical space and uninterrupted time) and advice for staying on track (have everything at your desk before you start). She also created a space for “constructive compassionate critique,” so submitting assignments feels empowering, rather than terrifying. I highly recommend this class if you’d like to take your writing up a notch (or get started from scratch); you’ll be one step closer to unlocking your inner novelist.
Email Productivity (44 Minutes)
Megan: I once had a coworker with the unnerving habit of peering over my shoulder and balking at the unread emails in my inbox. I tried not to let her comments get to me (the amount of daily emails I was getting could swallow anyone whole), but they still felt like tiny daggers in my blushing skin. The shame of an overflowing inbox is real. Things are under better control today, but when I came across this class, I pressed play. Tech writer Alexandra Samuel — who dons her gold @-sign necklace like a badge of honor — has a bone to pick with email. “Every email in your inbox is a demand,” she says. “The cumulative impact of all those tiny micro decisions is sapping your life force.” So true! Samuel lays out a plan to put your inbox back in its place. It includes tips as simple (yet life-changing) as not feeling pressure to reply to everything, sending less email, and setting up folders, rules and filters. Did you know that all your newsletters or scheduling requests can be sent to their own special place? Me neither! After watching her class, I feel like I can conquer my inbox (and wear a fierce monochromatic maroon outfit) once and for all.
Easy & Versatile Baking (28 Minutes)
Lexi: Confession — I’ve spent a majority of my Internet surfing hours this month trying to track down the best possible sourdough starter. My top personal goal right now is to become a baking hobbyist, but for some reason the whole category of yeast has always freaked me out. Now, having watched cookbook author and all-around cool lady Julia Turshen work with yeast, knead dough and pull the most mouth-watering raspberry jam buns out of the oven, I feel more confident I’ll be able to meet my mark. From her beautiful country kitchen, Julia provides all the tips you need to make baking forays successful. Plus, she admits that “yeast is so intimidating” and suggests you “roll out your dough like a yoga mat.” By the end of her class, you feel inspired to line a baking pan with parchment (always do this, she says, to make clean-up a breeze) and bust out a batch of jam buns. “Learning how to make this one thing opens up so many possibilities,” notes Julia. Yes! I’m ready.
Would you like to try a few classes? Great news: Skillshare is offering new students three months of Premium membership for free! (Ordinarily, a yearly Premium membership costs $12 per month for unlimited classes, community discussions, and more.) Go here through February 28th to redeem the offer. Thousands of great classes on different topics — led by awesome experts — are waiting for you. Please note: A credit card is required to sign up, but it won’t be charged until the free three-month period is up, and you can cancel at any time. Thank you so much, Skillshare!
Which classes pique your interest? Now we’re curious to try Helen Levi’s ceramics class!
(Mari Andrew and Joanna photos by Ana Gambuto for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Skillshare, a vibrant online learning community we’re happy to be part of. Thank you for supporting the start-ups that support Cup of Jo.)