When I chose to go, I didn't have specific goals for being there. I knew that business launches were on the horizon and it sounded like a great place to find inspiration and resources. What and how? No idea.
But the inspiration and resources found me. At one of the lunches I sat down with roommate Natasha and some other new friends. There were two open seats to my right, and the ballroom was filled with people milling around finding seats. It appeared that the two seats had been saved by someone, but I hadn't seen the "saver". We'd been sitting for a while when a couple appeared asking if the seats were available. I wasn't sure whether the "saver" would come back and figured that if they did, it wasn't like they were trying to sit next to me or anything, so I said "eh, go for it. Probably not a big deal."
BEST THING EVER. Alma was my new lunch neighbor. She and Mike live in Utah and in addition to doing their own amazing design work they teach classes via Nicole's Classes.
I knew that the work I'd be doing in the coming months would involve more Illustrator and Photoshop, and this was one of those sent-from-heaven moments. I had only briefly thought about the need to brush up on Illustrator-- there'd been five versions introduced since I'd first used it in college and it wasn't like what I'd learned in school was exactly fresh in my mind-- and while I love the wealth of available youtube tutorial videos I hadn't found many that were useful to me. None in a voice that felt soothing, supportive and helpful. Frankly, listening to nerdy teenage boys broadcasting from their bedrooms felt kind of creepy to me. (No offense, nerdy teenage boys!)
Let me get straight to the point, then. Alma Loveland as my seatmate was a direct gift from God. Exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. Nobody is compensating me to say so. I weaseled my way into a class that she and Mike taught at Alt, and knew immediately that it was exactly what I needed. Here're 11 reasons why I love Nicole's Classes:
All of the classes are online on your own time. I'm a work at home mom-- I need that flexibility. No major scheduling headaches -- I can use my crafterhours as they're available. I've taken four classes so far.
The classes are divided into weeks and those weeks into lesson modules. Watch and re-watch whatever you like in digestible bits. I don't remember many modules lasting more than half an hour, and most are shorter. While the classes are online and follow a schedule that help keep you accountable, if you wanted to front or back load your work, no problem.
Demonstration files are included. So while Alma or Mike are talking about how they're doing what they're doing, you're able to do the exact same thing with the exact same files.
There are scheduled online chat times so that you can talk to your instructors. If you have questions, you've got their ear and their feedback. Read what others are asking. If you don't need help, you can skip it. And not go to detention.
There's homework! First time in a long time for this, and I LOOOOOVED it. It forced me to put what I'd learned into practice. You know, exactly why teachers always told you they assigned homework. But in this case, I soaked it up. Completed the homework, uploaded it within the class platform and wait for feedback. Ask specific questions - get specific answers.
Don't want to do the homework? Or just can't? Puking kids can cause problems like that. Nobody's going to guilt trip you for it. You're a grownup, you can skip it if you like.
Related to #6-- something come up that keeps you from finishing before the designated time period is over? Once you've taken a class you can pay $15 for an additional week of access any time you like.
This one's subjective, but worth saying: I love the style. Clean, bright and colorful in a light and sophisticated way. The quality of the presentation is fantastic. As one who appreciates products that are carefully and lovingly crafted, it's clear that this is a team of professionals doing what they love, doing it well and sharing their artistic gospel with others.
My own interests for now are Illustrator and Photoshop, but Nicole's Classes offers a lot more, including Photography 101, Tabletop Photography, Typography and Photoshop Elements classes.
You don't have to take my word for it. There are a whole bunch of fantastic free tutorials on the Nicole's Classes site. Creating side by side images in Photoshop, for example.
I could keep going. And going. And going. But I think I've gushed enough for now. But one last note of importance: Don't have any of the programs? All of them are available for free for 30 days from Adobe. It's the best kind of try-before-you-buy.
I wrote to Nicole's Classes recently and told them that I was planning to write about my experience and asked whether they'd be willing to give a class away, and they said yes! If you or someone you know wants a professional to walk them through the ins and outs of getting started in Photography, Photoshop, Illustrator or one of the other many options, with a $125 value, it's a no brainer. Enter!
AND- all of us can use the code CRAFTER20 to get 20% off of any class. What I've spent on classes so far has been worth eeeevery penny. I've had so many forehead-slapping AHA! moments because of tips, tricks and features that I might never have noticed if it weren't for the classes. If you're starting from the beginning, even better!
Here's how to enter. Comment here telling us which class looks most interesting to you. For another entry, like Nicole's Classes and crafterhours and then leave a comment here to tell me you did. Easy peasy, but void where prohibited by law. I'll draw a winner on Friday morning and post it on the crafterhours Facebook page. Now that you've reached the end of my gush-a-thon, get busy entering! Have a friend who might be interested? They'll thank you for sharing!