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Learning A New Skill (Or Two!): Watercolouring & Embroidery

Creativity Dec 11, 2017

I’ve always wanted to get a deeper understanding of embroidery and watercolour painting, and over the past month or so I was finally able to do that with the help of a great online learning resource called Skillshare.

It’s funny, even though this blog is all about creativity and every week we tackle so many different projects, in the last few years I’ve found myself staying within my comfort zone in terms of the projects that I’ve be doing. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been challenging my creative skills that much, and let’s be honest – I kind of got in a rut! I realised recently that it was high time I tried something new, because I’ve learnt from experience that creativity needs to be constantly challenged and built upon. And whilst I’ve tried my hand informally at watercolours and embroidery before, I decided it was time that I got a deeper understanding of the principles and techniques involved so I could make these skills my own. I’m so glad I did because there was so much I didn’t know!

Which is why I was super excited to discover Skillshare, an online learning platform with over 17,000 different creativity based courses. It’s incredible! As you’ll know from previous posts, I’ve had a long term fascination with embroidery and watercolour painting, and so I decided to try out Skillshare classes covering those topics (pssst.. they’re even extending a special two-month free offer to you guys!).

The format of the courses is great, with key steps and techniques broken down into short segments, making them easy to follow and digest, and so much more targeted and detailed than my previous trial error and approach to learning about these skills.  In under an hour I learnt the techniques involved with painting watercolour flowers, and it took only half an hour to work my way through the embroidery course… I went back to different sections of the videos over the course of a month to study and practice key techniques in detail, and over time I could see how much I was improving with each new technique! You can also speed up or slow down the speed of their videos to your preference, which is a super helpful feature.

I thought it would be fun to share a few introductory things I learnt with you from each course, so you can see just how easy it was to get started.

3 Tips for Getting Started With Watercolours

Gather the Materials I was so happy to learn that you don’t have to break the bank to get the tools you need – you can start with a single brush, a small palette of 10 colours (in tubes or a set of watercolour pans) and a watercolour paper pad. The right paper is key!

Understand the role of water In the past I thought that watercolour just referred to adding water to paint and away you go, but the course taught me all about the varying roles that water plays, both in diluting the paint  to different strengths and in creating different textures and surfaces of paper on which to work. It truly was game changing to learn about this.

You Don’t Have to Be An Illustrator By teaching us about different techniques for creating shapes and  textures and then layering them to create images, I was very happy to learn that you don’t have to be an illustrator to master watercolour painting. So literally anyone can try it!

 

3 Tips for Getting Started With Embroidery

Stock Up Again, I loved that you don’t have to spend too much to get what you need for this skill. You will need a crewel needle and a tapestry needle, fabric and embroidery thread. Along with some small scissors and an embroidery hoop. That’s all!

Use A Pattern Having seen so many master embroiderers sketch out their designs, initially I was daunted by the idea of having to perfectly sketch out my drawing, but we learnt in the course that you can transfer  a pattern as the base, and even modify it to make it unique. This is an amazing hack that I’ll definitely be using!

Get Stitching Embroidering is all about the different stitches, but to start you can focus on developing a few because the most simple embroidery only needs a couple – for my cacti I simply used running straight stitches! 

Interestingly I feel like I absorbed the principles of embroidery more quickly than watercolours, I guess I’ve had a lot of experience with hand sewing so the techniques I learnt built on that… you should have seen how many balled up pieces of paper were littered around on my first attempt at painting! But over time, and using the steps and precesses outlined in the video, I was able to create something to be proud of. Although I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at either of these skills just yet, it was so amazing to learn in such an innovative and flexible way.  I totally recommend it!

Whether you’re into embroidery, watercolours or something different entirely, chances are you’ll find a great course on Skillshare. They really do cover everything, from hand-lettering to website design to sewing. Even better, they’re gifting you two free months of unlimited access to stream their courses online. Register here to start your free two months. Enjoy!

This post is in collaboration with Skillshare.

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What skill would you like to learn?

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