Ode to self-learning

by Kaija on Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Posted in: inspiration, Runfreakrun
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Ode copyWhat can I say about self-learning? Well, I owe my job and my skills as a concept artist to being self taught.

I have no official qualifications to pursue any of my side projects or hobbies either. But who has? Picking it up out of interest and working at it as long as it makes you happy. Isn’t that the definition of a hobby anyways?

And with the hours you put into it and the research and learning you do, you get good at it. There’s no final exam before you can start working or gathering revenue from whatever it is that you’ve taught yourself.

I think the thing I most love about self-learning is that you can move at exactly the pace you need to move. You can either let the skill develop organically or (if you’re as goal oriented as I am) you can set deadlines and manage your progress through completing projects or breaking them down into tasks.

Self directed learning forces you to become a better problem solver, because information is rarely handed to you in a neat package. You either have to come to your own solutions or learn to find the answers you are seeking.

Whether it’s a hobby or a career path that you want to pursue, being self taught speaks of a passion deep enough that you’re willing to dedicate your time to it, whether it’s mornings, days, evenings or nights.

And finally it speaks of self improvement and a will to change.


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Skillshare is one of my new finds in the self-learning category. It’s an online learning community with short classes on design, business and many other topics. You pay a monthly fee of $9.95 to get access to most videos on the site. With this link you can get one month free trial.

These are a couple of classes that I found and that I particularly liked. So much so, that they made me want to share this site with you guys:


Yuko Shimizu – Mastering Inking: Basic and Pro Techniques

This class is taught by a great Japanese illustrator, Yuko Shimizu. She goes through the basic setup for inking and reveals some nice tips and techniques along the way. More for beginners but still nice to watch, and I too leaned a couple of new things.



Seth Godin – The Modern Marketing Workshop

Seth Godin will give you a look into the mindset for thinking about marketing today and provide a framework of rules to get you started. I liked this class a lot, especially the two case studies he talks to towards the end and I found it easy to apply what I heard to my way of thinking.


Anya Ayoung Chee – Garment Construction: Introduction to Draping

I love fashion design and I like sewing my own clothes whenever I have the time. Anya Ayoung Chee, who won the 9th season of Project Runway (both me and Silver are crazy about that show) shows the basics of draping and then transferring that to a pattern and a finished garment. Again, this is more for beginners, but even knowing this much you can already apply that knowledge to a vast amount of designs. I would recommend it if you have any interest in sewing!


James Victore – Radical Typography: What Do You Have to Say?

James Victore is an art director, author, designer and filmmaker. In this class he teaches to think of typography not as a typeface composition, but as a strong way of expressing those powerful thoughts that deserve to have an impact. Letting go of perfection and thinking of creative solutions to every problem.

Suffice it to say, it got me pumped up!

Skillshare_James Victore

Tell me if you checked out any of the classes or if you have any thoughts on self-learning. You can do that through twitter or here in the commets below :)