SkillShare vs. Subscription Boxes

Yesterday, I double-masked and set foot in my gym for the first time in a yea- uhh, in likely significantly more than a year to cancel my membership. I want to say it was because “fuck you, diet culture,” but really it was just because it was a money sink and I hadn’t been going regularly for a long time before COVID, and I certainly wasn’t going to be going back any time soon.

(But also, seriously, fuck diet culture; but also also, seriously, gyms do not necessarily equal “diet culture.” I always felt amazing after working out. But still — COVID. I’d rather spend the money elsewhere and try to develop a home workout).

But then the question was, where to direct the suddenly liberated $23/month that has been going towards my gym membership? I had considered art supply subscription boxes, because I figured it would eliminate the choice paralysis when it came to figuring out what art supplies to buy, but then came the choice paralysis over what goddamn art subscription box to subscribe to — and frankly, none of them seemed to suit both my needs and my budget (I really wanted to keep whatever I wound up subscribing to to the cost of the gym or less).

So, on a whim, I signed up for Skillshare.

I’m not sold on it yet, just to be clear. It fits the criteria in that it’s less than the cost of my gym membership ($18/month) and it, like the subscription boxes that I had considered, will hopefully help encourage me creatively, but so far I have mixed feelings about it. The classes I’ve seen so far are good quality videos, with some genuinely good advice, but because everything is asynchrounous and there is seemingly no guarantee of engagement (though there is the opportunity for engagement, both with the instructor and amongst the students) I feel like I might, once again, come up against my own lack of motivation and not engage as I should with the service. That’s on me, not them, but if it proves true, it still does not a good match make.

I have found a few classes that are promising; I just finished a short one on making clay earrings that actually spurred me to take a day and make some goddamn clay earrings, so that was worthwhile:

And I’ve been watching through another class about pencil portraits which, not going to lie, is hella interesting and helpful. It’s a matter of finding time and motivation to go back and watch while trying to also follow along, but I can already tell this class could be game-changing for me — if I make the effort.

There are also a number of poetry courses (I did say I wanted to get back into writing it), a ton of other art and drawing classes, singing and voice classes, and even an incredibly thorough ASL course (though, I really love LifePrint, and honestly can’t imagine going anywhere else if I decided to try to get back into sign language. Still, the point about the breadth of subjects covered still stands).

I guess my point it, it feels like there’s genuinely a lot to experience, but I don’t know how well I trust myself to go out and… experience it.

That being said, if anyone is a Skillshare member (and creative), what have been your favorite classes? Have you engaged meaningfully with the instructors or other students? And if anyone has a favorite subscription box (of any kind! I have a lot of other loves besides art), tell me that, too! I still haven’t come to a final decision about this, and want options.

I’ve spent the morning finishing and cleaning up my piece for The Fat Folks Tarot Project, and am hoping to get in some more drawing today. I finally, finally, finally, after days of saying I would, started my next two drawings, and I’d like to complete the pencil sketches and get them scanned by tonight.

I have some other exciting news — not art-related, just life-related — but I don’t want to share it yet just in the off-chance it doesn’t work out, but I am supremely hopeful.

Take care of yourselves, and stay safe.

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