A Friday for Photography

Today we thought we’d shine the spotlight on our talented photography students and showcase a few shots from recent homework assignments.  We love how all of these turned out.  What do you think?

Photo 101 is a good place for the photography novice to begin, and it also serves as the perfect refresher course for those with a little more experience. All of these students were able to capture simple, yet interesting, moments.

This work is by Noga Amiri. We love it because of its simple shapes and sharp perspective.  Nice work, Noga!

Student work by Noga Amiri

Lisa Piane took to the garden to get this shot. The blue sky against the white daisies is beautiful, and we loved the choices she made with her focus. Good job to Lisa!

Student work by Lisa Piane.

The fun and unexpected colors in this photo by Dawn Schaefer instantly grab the viewer’s attention. She did an excellent job at turning a child’s everyday toys into something interesting.
Student work by Dawn Schaefer.
Lastly, we wanted to end with an image from Cristin More in our Tabletop Photography class. This shot really showcases the subject and captures some really great textures.
Student work by Cristin More.

Find us on Pinterest!

We recently shared that we were on  Instagram, but we’re also now on Pinterest, too! We’re loving this online pinboard and were excited to begin gathering our favorite design, type, and photography examples from all over the internet.  Check us out and send any suggestions our way!


Nicole's Classes Pinterest

Work from Our Students!

We have some new great work to share with you this week, including work from our Illustrator students.

Our first set of projects were created by Daria Penta. Her use of color is beautiful, and her layouts were creative and thoughtful. In the second illustration, Daria used mainly shape and line tools to create her scene. Excellent practice of how we can use shapes and lines to illustrate. We loved this clean, original work, Daria!

labor day bbq invitationpark scene with picnic table, cat, and balloons

Andrea Istwan created these invitations. The composition is stellar, and we love her spin on these classic color schemes. halloween invitationshark week party invitation

Amanda Sinclair designed this creative card. We love her typeface choice and concept. Good job, Amanda!

business card "Give into temptation"Here’s another business card by Katie Ives. The simplistic design and pop of color make for an attention-grabbing piece of work. Good job, Katie! Business card for Katie Ives, science education & curriculum

Annie of the Hairy Shoe Fairy designed this fun hippo for her homework. She also made a great bicycle pattern. Good work, Annie!

hippo illustrationbicycle pattern

And last, but never least, Gemma Haylett created these two cute images. How could we not love these sweet and whimsical creations?  If you want to see more from Gemma, you can visit her etsy shop here.

straws with flags that say "Happy birthday to you"
illustration of macaroons

Back to School Sale

August is on its way out, September is coming, and it’s time to get back to school! We want to help you get back to school by offering you a discount on textbooks and classes. So enjoy 25% off all classes and textbooks this week! Use the code BTS2012 to get your discount.

And did you know that newsletter subscribers have the opportunity for deeper discounts and exclusive offers? If you haven’t signed up to our newsletter, sign up today. We won’t flood your inbox; we send newsletters once or twice a month with news and deals!

(Offer ends Friday, August 24 at midnight PST. Not valid on gift certificates. Does not apply to previous purchases.)

Coming Soon: Back to School Contest

illustration of number 2 pencils

Lots of people are headed back to school now and within the next few weeks, so we wanted to let you know that we will be running a “back to school” contest mid-September. We’ll be looking for photos, designs, or illustrations of what “back to school” means to you, whether you’re sending your kiddos off to kindergarten or college, or you’re starting courses yourself, or you’re just learning from the “university of life.”

So keep this in mind, and we’ll be announcing the official contest in a few weeks!

Illustrator Student Work

Our Illustrator students have been very busy applying what they’re learning in class. Here are some great projects that we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks and couldn’t wait to share with you!

As we’ve mentioned before, the first week’s assignment for Illustrator 101 students is to create a poster using all (or mostly) type. It’s always a pleasure to see the variety of homework submissions we receive.

Andrea Istwan created this poster with birth details. We love how her chevron inside the letters adds dimension, and her color choices are spot on.

Birth Announcement: Emily Carolynn Popwood

Continuing with the birth theme, Eva Shrock displayed baby info in her poster as well! The stars separating the birth date are a fun detail.

Birth Announcement: Noelle Rose Lewis

Now on to a nautical theme, Emily Bloom-Carlin created this poster featuring a quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Fantastic use of type, color, and the rope element!

Quote Poster: To reach a port we must set sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not dift. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Julie Doan created this poster featuring lyrics from Mates of State. Again, great use of color, space, and type, along with the anchor illustration!

Quote Poster: And I could be an ANCHOR. Drop me in the bay and watch me hold you steady.

Jen Smith created this poster for her baby girl’s room. She will have it printed and framed. We love that knowing how to use Illustrator gives Jen the ability to create artwork for her home that has personal meaning. Great job, Jen!

Quote Poster: I am like a star shining brightly, shining for the whole world to see.

Kimberly Bury, finished up a card that she had started as part of her July coursework and we’re glad to see the finished product! Here Kimberly created artwork by hand, scanned it and made it vector, then colored her artwork in Illustrator. Fantastic!

Card cover, featuring illustrated flowers.

Here, Helga Varadi illustrates an Eames rocker and a fan, and also shows that she can make a simple pattern with a paper boat shape. Absolutely perfect work, Helga!

Illustration of Eames Rocker, fan, and paper boat pattern.

To make this set of fairy tale icons, Rose O’Donnel says that she combined what she was learning about the pen tool, alignment tools, and making symmetrical objects. She couldn’t have chosen a more perfect application of everything she was learning in the lesson!

set of fairy tale icons

And finally, here’s a car illustration from Moira Hill! Great lines and great detail!

Car illustration.

We are so pleased with our students. With work like this, you can understand why homework review is such a rewarding part of what we do!

Tiny Tips Giveaway

Recently our team at Nicole’s Classes put together a set of little cards that we call “Tiny Tips” as a promo item that we can give to people we meet at events, to give them a little idea of what they might learn in our classes. Each card has a very short photo tip, design tip, or techie tip on one side, and a demo of that tip or principle on the other side. Each set consists of 18 cards. Here’s an idea of what they look like:

A sample of some of the cards included in the "Tiny Tips" pack.

Some of you have seen these come through on our instagram account (@nicolesclasses), and we’ve had a few questions about how you can get some. Today we’d love to give away 5 packs of these. If you’d like a pack of Tiny Tips, leave a comment on this post telling us something that you have learned from our classes, our blog, our free tutorials, OR something that you NEED to learn! At midnight PST today (August 16) we will choose 5 commenters at random to receive a lovely pack of cards!

(You don’t need to leave your mailing addresses in the comments. If you win, we’ll email you for your address!)


Thanks everyone for your comments! We are so excited that you’re learning from our classes, our blog, and our tutorials! We selected 5 random numbers from the submissions that we received before midnight PST, and the numbers are 16, 47, 46, 5, and 53. We will be contacting you today so that we can get these tips sent off to you!

Student Work

It’s time for student work again!  Look what everyone has been up to lately!

Silvia from La Gata con Botas has taken a number of our classes, and here are two posters that she created, using principles she learned in all of these classes. We love her use of color, typography, and negative space! In case your German is a little rusty, here is what she says about her posters: “The translation of these posters is ‘a loooot of weeks ago (*) I dared and kissed you – * 261 weeks.’ I always say this to my boyfriend because 5 years ago, I was the one who dared and kissed him for the first time :) I always tease him telling that had I not dared, I would still be waiting, because he was too shy. ;)”

Silvia Casas, Student WorkSilvia Casa, Student Work

In week 3 of Illustrator 101, students learn to use the rotate tool to make spirograph artwork from a shape of their choosing. We love to see the different results students come up with every month, but this month we especially loved that Stephanie Lonas combined hers with a quote, using the spirograph as a great design element to frame her quote.

Stephanie Lonas, Student Work
And last, but not least, this snapshot was taken by Courtney Sharp in our Photo 101 class. Good job, Courtney!
Courtney Sharp, Student Work

Featured Class: Babies, Toddlers, & Kids + Discount!

Happy August, readers! Today we have decided to share one of our favorite photography classes with you: Babies, Toddlers & Kids. Even better, we are offering a 35% discount for signing up this week!  Enter the code SAYCHEESE  before midnight (PST) on Friday, August 10th when you sign up for classes taking place August 13-27 and October 8-22.

This photography class is designed to help parents and photographers feel more comfortable photographing children, and most importantly, teaches how to capture natural smiles.  The two-week course is full of great tips and allows students to submit homework for feedback from professional photographer, Nicole Gerulat.  It’s the perfect opportunity to learn how to record memories and moments to enjoy in years to come! Check out below what our former students have created in this class!

Left: Amy Bethune ; Right: Debra TarrantLeft: Jill Dorsey-Hall ; Right: Remi LundeenKate West

Kate West

Students have loved this class – here’s what a couple of them had to say:

“Thank you so much for all of your advice. And I totally used the sticker trick with my daughter-it worked!” —Bethany, Babies student

“I appreciate you sharing your talent with us. I feel like my family history keeping is going to benefit so much from learning how to get better pictures of my children!” —Jennifer, Babies student

Take advantage of this great discount and take this class with us!

Student Spotlight: Abigail Bradshaw

Today we wanted to introduce to one of our students, Abigail Bradshaw.  We’ve loved Abigail’s work time and time again, so we wanted to learn a little more about her.  Keep reading to see what we found out in the interview!

How did you hear about Nicole’s Classes?

I heard about Nicole’s Classes in my online searches to learn more about the Adobe Creative Suite – Illustration           especially seemed like a huge mystery and the books an online tutorials I had been watching just weren’t cutting it!

Which classes have you taken from Nicole’s Classes?

I have taken all of the Illustrator classes. Nicole’s Class has such great teachers, and having experienced feedback was so key to my growth as a designer.  They also really teach you to use problem solving skills to create designs in the most effective way.

What got you interested in design?

I’d always had an interest in design – I actually had a job working at a church making their print materials, but I was limited to using Apple’s Pages program and a free image manipulator program called GIMP – because that’s all I knew how to use!  Then, I had another job where I was at a desk for long hours of the day (sometimes with a little time to kill) and I got really into the blogger/designer community that is so strong online.  After a while I simply HAD to learn how to use Illustrator & the other Adove programs.

Have you done anything further with skills learned in Nicole’s Classes?

It’s been really rewarding for me to be able to help my family with their businesses – creating good designs for their websites and marketing materials.  I was able to design my own invitations and website for my wedding, and that was really fun as well!  I have also started my own business which will be launching after my wedding, specializing in logo and website design.  I have a few friends that are going to college to be graphic designers- which is totally cool – but for me, I knew that college wasn’t really an option, and so it’s been really incredible to work slowly from not knowing the first thing about Illustrator to using it as a tool to help others and carve my own path. I have always believed that if you have to choose, you should pay for a specific teacher rather than a degree – and Nicole’s Classes was totally that teacher for me. They inspired me, and the encouragement and feedback gave me a really honest evaluation of my strengths and weaknesses as a designer – and ultimately spurred me on to continue learning more about the design tools I work with.

Where do you get inspiration for your work?

I gather a lot of inspiration on Pinterest &  Dribble when I want to see what other people have done and be challenged by the incredible design that is already out there.  When I’m working on a project, I like to use a sketchbook to flesh out designs and take walks or go to antique stores – I have found if my mind needs to wander about a project, then it’s best to let my body do the same!

Do you have a website we can see more of your work on?

I do! It’s called The Notion Creative Labs and it’s been a purely experimental site for me – it’s been a great place to try out all kinds of design projects and even have a few people hire me for design work so I could see what it would be like if I decided to go into design full time.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of Abigail’s work.  Stop by her site to see more!

This is one of the first things Abigail ever made in Illustrator! She said she remembers staying up until the early hours of the morning, excited to realize how much Illustrator could do.

This is a screenshot of the design work Abigail did for her wedding website.

This is one of the many amazing things Abigail designed in class.

And Abigail’s own wedding invitations – designed by herself!


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