Chase Winter Away with our 25% Off Groundhog Day Sale!

Groundhog Day 2014

We’re not sure what the weather is like where you live, but we are crossing our fingers (and toes!) that Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow this Sunday and that spring will come early! And we wanted to help usher that spring thaw in with a weekend sale…

Just enter the code GROUNDHOGDAY25 at checkout to save 25% on textbooks and online classes now through Sunday, February 2nd at 11:59pm PST.*

Our 4-week February classes start on Monday, so don’t wait — enroll now and save 25%!


*Sale ends on 2/2/14 at 11:59pm PST. Code cannot be combined with other offers, is not applicable on past orders and excludes gift certificates.

More Great Graphic Design Student Work

We have a special treat in store for you tomorrow, so we’re here with our student work a day early! We have some more great graphic design work for you this week from a variety of different design classes. We love how many of our classes touch on how to create better graphics. Read on to see their impressive work!

The first graphic is from Kimberly Bury who was in our Photoshop 101 class. She used Photoshop to cut out these images, place them on a white canvas and then added her own designed graphics to create this fun mood board. PS is so versatile and can be helpful for more than just editing photos — it’s really a bloggers best friend. Great job Kimberly!

baby mood board

This Toy Story inspired invitation is from Ryan Oliveira and is a great example of how that class can really elevate your work and help you refine ideas and designs. We think the finished product is great!

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The final piece is from Margaret Proffitt who designed this adorable raccoon and was able to quickly change the color of it from purple, to blue to yellow (we’ve shown the blue one here). How easy!


Great work students! Stay tuned for a special announcement tomorrow, that might just help you sign up for a class or two!

Watercolor 101: Experimenting with your Work


So you have learned how to be creative using the computer, your camera and paints at Nicole’s Classes… now what? Don’t hide your light under a bushel! Have some fun! There are so many print on demand websites out there that you can experiment quite inexpensively.

I recently played with a bit of experimenting myself! Santa brought me a new iPhone for Christmas and I needed a new case for it. I decided to create one with my own watercolors! How fun is that? So fun, that I got completely carried away and created quite a few of them. I went ahead and loaded up artwork according to the guidelines on Society6 and the next thing you know I was able to not only buy one, but sell them too!

Using a website like this is a terrific way to test and see if what you are producing would be commercial. I sized and resized, added backgrounds and took them off until I got a few that I liked. I even went ahead and ordered 2 of them. Viewing it on the screen and then having it in hand is a great way to see what I like and don’t like about my own work.

In Watercolor 101, I not only teach watercolor techniques but also some techniques for scanning and cleaning up artwork so it can work well online. Maybe for your own phone case, prints or pillows!

I have decided that a girl needs as many phone cases and she does shoes. (Although I sort of like the RING! RING! Telephone too!) You can see some of my cases below, and you can purchase one in my Society6 store. Happy experimenting!


Student Feature: Danielle DiPirro

Dani DiPirro

Happy Monday everyone! We are beyond thrilled to spotlight yet another amazing Nicole’s Classes student. Today, we’re sharing Dani DiPirro’s great journey from former writer to graphic design and illustrating superstar. Dani has been a repeat star of our Student Work posts (see her previous work here, here and here) and her work just continues to get better and better. Like we’ve said before, we are always delighted to see students really take off and fly with the foundation our classes give them, and Dani is doing just that. Let’s find out more about how she made the jump from non-designer to designer and how she’s putting her skills to use!
1. How did Nicole’s Classes help you get your business going?
When I started taking Nicole’s Classes, I was merely a writer who had recently left her full-time job in Marketing to focus on her website, I knew I wanted to learn more about design (particularly illustrating) to improve my website, but I had no idea how much Nicole’s Classes would transform my business. I started by learning the basics, which really helped me to create more effective images for my website. I knew my site needed an update so I took the branding class and rebranded my entire business. I then dove into the Illustrator classes (taking all of them!) and found that I was really passionate about illustrating. I was able to cultivate my illustrating skills, which inspired me to create Positively Dani, a new portion of my business that focuses on positive, inspiring design. Positively Dani offers digital products on Etsy and a variety of tangible goods on Society 6. Though I’d always loved drawing and graphic design, I had absolutely no experience prior to discovering Nicole’s Classes and would never have been able to transform my site (and create online shops!) without the help of the classes.
Positively Present Icon
2. Which classes were the most helpful to you on your personal journey?
While I’ve loved all of the classes I’ve taken (12 so far!), I’d have to say that Illustrator 101 and branding were the most influential classes for me, both personally and professionally. Illustrator 101 was my introduction to Illustrator and it introduced me to all of the amazing things that can be created in Illustrator. Since taking that class (and all of the other Illustrator classes!), I’ve opened my online shops, created personalized greeting cards for friends and family, designed my own Christmas card, and I even got my first job as a graphic designer creating the illustrations for a 2015 calendar! I learned how to create a cohesive identity for Positively Present which expands across my website, through various social media platforms, and into my Positively Dani products. The class taught me so much about how to create a design that worked well for my brand, an invaluable lesson that I know will serve me well for years to come.
Shine Cell Case
3. What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
The most rewarding part of my business has been discovering new creative outlets. I’m not just a writer now. I’m also a designer. I would have never thought I could learn graphic design without going back to school, but Nicole’s Classes has taught me so much and made it possible not only for me to improve my current business but to expand it as well. It’s so rewarding to discover new creative abilities and to be able to do what I love for a living.
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4. What would you tell students who are just starting out at Nicole’s Classes?
What I consider to be one of the best part of Nicole’s Classes is the assignments and the feedback from instructors and fellow students. To make the most of the classes, I’d highly recommend doing all of the homework (even the optional bits!) and checking back to view the instructor feedback. I’d also recommend checking out your fellow classmates’ work and offering feedback. It’s fun to see what others are doing and you’re more likely to get feedback from others if you offer your thoughts on their work. Also, I’d like to add that if anyone isn’t sure about whether or not to take a class, my advice is this: do it! The classes are so worth every single penny. You’ll learn so much and you’ll be surprised by what you can do if you keep learning!
Yay Pilow
Thank you for sharing Dani! Your story is so inspiring and might just be that nudge someone needs to finally take the plunge and enroll in a design class with Nicole’s Classes!

Floral Head Wreath Student Work

One of our favorite homework assignments from Chelsea’s Floral Arranging 101 class is the Week 3 task of creating a floral head wreath. Not only are they fun and whimsical, but we’ve seen many students put this particular skill to practical use, even for their weddings! So let’s take a look at 3 really great ones from the past few months!

Alison Mazurek from our November session is responsibly for our first lovely crown. It has a really nice shape, we love the choice of greens and seasonal flora, and these shots are also styled to rustic perfection. Great job!

week 3 - head wreath
week 3 - head wreath 2

Our next head wreath is from Tina Lau who was also in our November session. Tina’s creation is stunning as well, with a looser and a more wild feel than the one above. While no two crowns are alike, somehow they’re all uniquely beautiful. Nice work Tina!


And lastly, we have a very different crown from the two above from Roxanne Taghavian in our January class. Her wreath is so colorful and bold, and we love that she wasn’t afraid to use big bulbs to make a big statement. She truly looks like the floral arranging queen in her amazing piece!

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Want to learn to make a beautiful head wreath for yourself or floral clients? Let Chelsea teach you in her Floral Arranging 101 class!

Sewing 101: Easy Eyeshade

Sewing 101: Eyeshade

Before I became a Nicole’s Classes instructor, I coauthored the sewing book Dorm Decor: Remake Your Space with More Than 35 Projects (Chronicle Books, 2009). Today I’m sharing a video tutorial from the book on how to sew a quick and easy eyeshade that you can complete in under an hour!

Click here or on the image above to watch it!

UPDATE: We forgot to include the template in our initial post — oops! But you can now download the Easy Eyeshade template below and make one for yourself!


Sourcing Winter Flowers

Floral Arranging Sourcing Winter Florals

I am getting lots of questions from my Floral Arranging 101 students this month in the Northern Hemisphere about sourcing flowers this time of year! It can definitely be tricky and a little frustrating to find wispy, pretty, natural, garden-style materials in the depths of winter. It might be a little more challenging, but you can make inspiring garden-style arrangements this time of year. Here are my 5 tips for winter flower sourcing:

1. Embrace the season. Look around you! If you live in a mild climate like the Pacific Northwest you’ll see a lot of green around you. Consider evergreens like cedar, pine, and fir. Other ideas: bush ivy, boxwood, hebe, laurel, daphne, witch hazel, seeded eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme.

2. Spring flowers! A lot of spring flowers start becoming available in January, as they are grown in greenhouses. Watch for or ask your florist or market for: hyacinths, anemones, tulips, mini daffodils, paperwhites, muscari, poppies, tuberose, and forced fruit branches like quince, cherry, and apple.

3. Citrus! If you live in a cold climate where you can’t find them on the stems, stick two wires (around 16 gauge) through the fruit, cross wise, towards the bottom, and then add floral tape. You may need to tape wires together to make them longer. By wiring the fruit this way, you are creating a stem for it and can use it like you would any other stem. You may need to add supportive greenery around it or use it toward the rim of the vase, as they can be quite heavy. Add more wire if it needs more support (we cover wiring in the class if you’d like to learn more).

4. Grocery shop. Check out your veggie section for bundles of thyme, rosemary, basil, chives and other herbs. These offer a lovely green, soft style to any arrangement. Consider veggies like stems of kale or cabbages.

5. Cut from greenhouse or nursery plants. Take a look at your florist or grocery for hothouse plants you can cut from. I’ve noticed mini daffy, paperwhites, campanula, hyacinths, and more at my local Trader Joe’s this time of year. Check out your nursery too for winter plants you can cut from. Pansies and primroses make super sweet mini hand-tieds. They’ll also have winter blooming camellias and other shrubs like viburnum that could work really well for greens or secondary flowers.

Good luck! I’d love to hear about your winter flower foraging successes! Leave in comments.



Nicole’s Classes at Alt Summit SLC


Are you going to Alt SLC? Nicole’s Classes sure is! We’ll be out in full force, and some of our teachers will be leading amazing sessions that you won’t want to miss. Here’s a list of what sessions the Nicole’s Classes instructor’s will be leading:

Thursday, January 23rd
4:00 – 5:30 pm

Photo 101 instructor Nicole Gerulat
Design Camp: DSLR 101

Watercolor 101 instructor Monica Lee
Roundtable: Tools for Tapping into Your Originality: Why It’s Not Enough to Look Like the Person Standing Next to You

Friday, January 24th
9:00 – 10:30 am

Watercolor 101 instructor Monica Lee
Roundtable: Tools for Tapping into Your Originality: Why It’s Not Enough to Look Like the Person Standing Next to You

Make sure to find one (or all) of our teacher’s at Alt and get a Nicole’s Classes treat — which includes a special Nicole’s Classes discount code!

We hope to see you there!

Graphic Design Student Work

Two sets of amazing student work in one week?! That’s right! We have some stellar design work from our Illustrator based online classes, so without further ado, check it out!

Our first piece is from Katerina Hazell who took our Illustrator 101 class in January. She created this for her typographic poster assignment and we have to say, we couldn’t love it more. From the colorful geometric shapes peeking through to the choice of clean-lined font and the bold black overlay, she made a lot of really great choices. Great work!


Our next two amazing designs are from Katherine Roberts who took an advanced Illustrator class in November. She illustrated this cheeky card as well as a pattern swatch — the color choices are great and her gem shapes are so fun! Go check out her recently opened  Sugar+Ink etsy shop for more cool designs!

Student Work

Student Work

And our last piece of work is from Francielle de Mattos, one of our international students who took an advanced Illustrator class in November. Her pattern is so cute and creative and each piece of the pattern is perfectly executed. We love it!

Student Work

Great stuff right? If you want to design your own posters, greeting cards or patterns, then we have a new set of online classes starting in just a few weeks for February. You should definitely join us!

Visit the Thanksgiving Point Vendor Fair Jan. 17-18 and save 25%!

Thanksgiving Point Vendor Fair

We have some fun news for our Utah County fans — we’ll be at the Bikram Yoga at Brick Canvas Vendor Fair tomorrow and Saturday! Come visit us at their event, which will include delicious snacks from Waffle Luv and Art City Donuts, and lots of other great vendors!

We’ll be selling all online classes and our  Photo 101 and Photoshop 101 textbooks for 25% off! Plus, we’ll be doing a raffle so you could win one of 3 totally free classes!

Here’s all the info you need for the event:

Brick Canvas Building — Traverse Room
2455 W. Executive Parkway
Lehi, UT 84043

Friday, Jan. 17 noon to 7pm
Saturday, Jan. 18 9am to 7pm

So make some time tomorrow or Saturday, stop by, say hello and snag our classes for a steal or win a free class! See you soon!

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