As a surface pattern designer, design teacher, and lifelong learner…Skillshare is one of my favorite places to learn new design and business skills from industry experts. I’ve taken a lot of classes over the years!
Skillshare is by far my favorite platform. You pay a small monthly or annual membership fee and you get access to thousands of classes. There are always new ones being launched, so you’ll never run out of options.
I have a few favorite surface pattern design classes that I have gone back to again and again to boost my skills and try new projects. There are some great beginner classes out there, but these are specifically for building skills and creating products with your beautiful designs!
(Some of these link may be affiliate links, which means I make a small commission on recommendations at no cost to you. Thanks!)
Here are my top 8 favorite surface pattern design classes on Skillshare:
Watercolor for Surface Pattern Design: Working with Adobe Illustrator – with Bonnie Christine
It’s no secret that Bonnie is my favorite teacher for surface pattern design. She is sweet and generous with everything she teaches. I’ve taken every class that Bonnie has ever offered. Full disclosure, I learned so much from her and loved her community so much that Bonnie hired me to work as an Illustrator Expert in her signature course (Surface Pattern Design Immersion) in 2021!
This class is unique. Bonnie’s method for vectorizing watercolors teaches you to make patterns out of simple watercolor elements. Traditionally, watercolors are manipulated in Photoshop. But with tools for working with watercolors in Illustrator, you can make beautiful patterns in any size without losing quality!
Getting to Know Your Paint: Watercolor, Gouache, and Acryla Gouache – with Dylan Mierzwinski
For designers that wish they could get a more painterly look onto their artboard, Dylan goes through the basics of experimenting with 3 different types of paint. I love the amount of explorations and the clear actionable practice exercises.
This is longer class that you can experiment with over the course of a few weeks. She says this class is not about rules, it’s about JOY. Isn’t that everything you want in an art class right there?Dylan is encouraging and filled with calming reassurance throughout the process.
Your Roadmap to Surface Design: A Step by Step Framework to Crafting Your Career – with Bonnie Christine
My other favorite class from Bonnie…this is the content that showed me exactly where I was in my career journey in surface pattern design. And it gave me clear direction on my next steps. This is a must-watch class for any creative business person because it provides a step-by-step plan for moving forward toward your biggest dreams.
With hard work and a plan, I went from being an aspiring surface pattern designer to landing a fabric contract, seeing my designs in Target and other large retailers, and teaching alongside my mentors and friends in the sewing & design industries.
Mastering Colors in Pattern Design: Discover Your Color Style – with Maja Faber
Maja covers everything you need to know about color palettes, creating colorways for pattern collections, and choosing colors for a signature style.
She also clears up the confusion about when you should use CMYK, RGB, and Pantones in your design work. Maja is organized and friendly, so I know you’ll love learning from her.
Stronger Patterns Made Easy – with Shannon McNab
This class underrated, I think. Shannon explains how to create stronger and more dynamic patterns by updating old work. She covers common mistakes designers make like not using enough contrast, not allowing enough space between motifs, and forgetting that the small details can make a big impact.
You’ll leave the class with actionable steps to make your surface patterns stronger!
Textures in Adobe Illustrator: Surface Pattern Design for Beginners – with Lissie Teehee
Lissie is sweet friend of mine and an excellent teacher. She has experience in a variety of art media, but has a special love of botanical illustrations. In this class, Lissie will show you how to add textures to your Illustrator patterns. Texture can be tricky in vector programs, but you’ll learn some easy ways to make your designs feel organic and textural using these methods.
From Sketch to Wrapping Paper…and so much more! – with Anne LaFollette
Anne takes you through the basics of designing a pattern…and then creating gift wrap with your design! Any class that ends with a product in hand is great. This would be a fun and easy product to add to your shop this holiday season. Anne is an experienced teacher and always covers the small steps that other teachers might assume you know. Go design some wrapping paper!
Botanical Illustration: Draw a Flower Flat Lay – with Esther Nariyoshi
Esther dives deep into floral illustrations in Procreate. If you use an iPad and Procreate in your design workflow, you’ll love the detail in this class. You’ll learn to create texture and a variety of botanical elements and incorporate them into your surface design projects!
Get 40% OFF on a new Skillshare membership with this link! ⬇
P.S. I’m gearing up to teach some of my own classes. If you are already on Skillshare, you can follow me to get updates when I publish my classes!
Kate Frances says
You did so well narrowing it down to just 8! I tried to write a list of 10 and ended up with over 20!!
I, for sure, had more! But I was specifically looking for classes that made a great addition to basic knowledge of surface pattern design. I’ll be making some more specific Skillshare class lists!
Nice list Sara….I wrote down 6 to follow up on !