I started this year doing a lot of new things I had no clue how to do.

Starting and running a business.

Marketing and promoting myself and my work.

Creating an artistic portfolio without the guidance of an instructor.

Working from home without coworkers or classmates to keep me on track.

Some things, I'm proud to say, I've figured out.

How to cram all of our belongings into less than 200 square feet (okay, we cheated and stored stored some stuff in the trunk of the car). >>

How to get myself to eat a healthy lunch each day. >>

How to keep my calendar and ideas organized. >>

Because I'm working on learning so many new skills this year, but for the first time without the benefit of a structured school or training program, I've been turning to online courses a lot more. I've been especially enjoying some Skillshare courses, and thought I'd share some of my favorites with you guys!

Skillshare is a website where teachers create online courses in their area of expertise, post video lessons, give step-by-step assignments, and provide feedback. Probably the nicest thing about Skillshare is that each class has a built-in community of classmates who share their own projects and also give great feedback and encouragement.

I've taken five classes, but these are the ones I learned the most from and really enjoyed:

Meg Lewis // introduction to photoshop

This is perfect for people who literally don't know how to open photoshop, as Meg walks you through everything from setting up a document to using some of the more advanced tools. 

I thought her videos were some of the best I'd seen, and her pacing and explanations were extremely clear. Plus, the end-result projects are super helpful -- I used it to create a mood board (above) for my redesign of my personal website!

Joe Fairless // launch a no-fail business model

This class walks you through a process of goal-defining and market research in a really accessible way. It gave me a structure to think about business decisions and left me with a lot to think about in the way of big picture ideas for my business. 

I also found that Joe was by far the most engaged instructor of any of the classes I'd taken, and he actually chatted with me on the phone for thirty minutes to answer my questions!

Molly Jacques // introduction to calligraphy

This was my just-for-fun class, and I thought it was fantastic! Molly spends a lot of time going over some really important fundamentals: which materials to use, how to hold the pen, and what the basic strokes are. 

You can go as far as you want with this class -- ultimately, the goal is to design your own alphabet/lettering style. I'm still working on the basics of this class, and really enjoying the process.

If any of you want to try out Skillshare for the first time, let me know -- I can send you a link to get a discount on your first class!

Have a great weekend everyone!

xo Diana

P.S. The top image is of my Turquoise Water painting -- you can see more pictures of it on my Etsy shop!
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