Online Learning Tools (Part 3)

I’ve discussed some sites already, but I have to get in just a few more that have helped me and may help you.
This was the first online learning site I ever chose to throw my hard-earned cash at. It has a fantastic variety of tutorials, the majority of which are overviews of various software packages. It’s a great site, but you won’t get nearly as much out of it if you don’t own the software you are studying. With Lynda you get “all you care to learn” tutorials for one monthly fee. I am of the opinion that I learn better on the Udacity/Udemy sites where you have actual quizzes/projects, not just watching someone else tell you what each button does. I haven’t tried every Lynda course, though. Some may be set up in a more hands-on system, but there is no way to interact with the instructor.

A couple more I haven’t used, but want to mention:

On to the “art-oriented” tutorials.

Much like Udemy, Craftsy is primarily a “Pay to learn” site, and offers the same one-on-one interaction in the comments. But, frankly I have found more interaction on this site; people want feedback and critique on their art. I found this to be a friendly learning space, and it has many free classes. It also has coupon codes in your e-mail box almost every day, so think about which e-mail you want those to go to when you make your account.

Pencil Kings
I found this site by accident when searching the web for art resources, and I’m glad I did! It offers a great set of free “delivered to your e-mail inbox” tutorials. For a monthly fee you get access to many more. I haven’t taken the time to go through all of my free tutorials. It seems to focus on solid sketching fundamentals. They are always of a very encouraging tone! I believe you get to interact with the instructors as well.

Chris Oatley
This brilliant artist quit his job at Disney in order to start an online teaching school. He is passionate about teaching, passionate about art, and his classes are real “classes”; you have a lot of one-on-one interaction with the teacher, and get out of it what you put in. I haven’t taken one of his classes, but a close friend did.

Here are some other places to find good art tutorials:

Basically anywhere you can search for a tutorial, you will find some. But to improve, you just have to spend time doing the thing no matter what it is!


Meanwhile at Udacity

I wrote in my last post about how I couldn’t wait to try Udacity, and today the online open enrollment began.
Here’s how it works: You give them your credit card number*, you get seven days to try the class before it’s charged. Enrollment begins today and lasts a week, but study begins today too, if you want to jump right in.

When I saw the course was “6 to 9 months” I wasn’t sure what that means. But here is the explanation: Since it’s your own pace, you may finish it all sooner or later, it depends on how quickly you understand the material and finish the projects. And if you finish quickly you don’t pay for any more than you need.

Well, here begins the next adventure!
My next post will jump back on topic and be part 3 of the Online Learning Tools.


*Argh, I couldn’t believe it when I noticed my card expires in 2020. It’s the FUTURE.

Online Learning Tools (Part 2)

After I wrote that blog post on Online Learning Tools, I realized that I knew there was a site called Udacity that I had never tried. So, in the interest of being thorough, I went there to check it out. Let me tell you, I’m glad I did!

Now I hesitated to try Udacity since I was already enjoying Udemy and I thought it would just be “more of the same.” They aren’t the same. Udacity has aspects of Udemy, sure; it has online classes at your own pace. But it has them arranged to form “Nanodegrees“: comprehensive sets of courses, developed by a key set of teachers working together. They aren’t random “this class looks interesting” buffets (which is how I am/was treating Udemy).

In Udemy there are sub-sets of classes within the classes, by “teaching group”. Say, you can group classes by “Infinite Skills” brand, and often they will go on sale that way “all Infinite Skills classes are 20% off with coupon AWESOMECOUPON“. But you could also find Infinite Skills classes at proper. Udacity, on the other hand, is very focused in what it offers, and who teaches it. I would say “which gives an overall more consistent learning style” but I haven’t actually enrolled in any courses yet. But I’m so convinced that Udacity is quality stuff, I’m about to enroll in the Front End Web Developer Nanodegree when enrollment begins. Wish me luck!

And Many More
Now there are so many more education options out there that I didn’t mention, like Skilledup and Coursera, edX, who knows how many others. I’m just going to add a link to LifeHack’s list of 25 Killer Sites for Free Online Education.

Online Learning Tools (Part 1)

I’ve been learning some new skills, because I need to stay relevant in this job market. I have been a technical editor/writer for years, but suddenly that isn’t “enough” to keep a job. So, looking into other things that interest me and mesh with those skills, I picked web development.

Right now is a fantastic time to be teaching yourself new skills; there are loads of resources online, and here are a few:

This site has been around since 1999 and is constantly being updated with tutorials about, well, just about everything! I use this resource all the time, it’s like a Wikipedia of computer information. W3Schools is full of interactive tutorials that give you immediate feedback about whether you are putting in a line of code right or wrong.

This site is much newer that W3Schools, though it also has interactive tutorials. Codecademy takes learning to the “Gamified” level, by giving you badges for completing tutorials, logging in on consecutive days, and other things that help give you the push you may need to really complete a course. They even have a space to post and show off your projects. (Something like a tiny version of Github.)

Now this is more of a “Pay to learn” site. I really like this one too. I have invested quite a bit of money — but don’t let the “$199” price tag scare you; these courses are on sale very frequently. And once you sign up they will often give you coupons for items you have wishlisted. This site gives you close to one-on-one dialogue with your instructor, through comments. I can’t say it’s exactly like being in a classroom, but it really has made me work my way through classes and feel like I have accomplished something by looking on the projects. This site offers more than programming courses, everything from “Logo Designing for your Business in an Hour” to “Everyday Mind Mastery” (whatever that is) . Check it out, some classes are free!

A final note: READ THE REVIEWS.
Each of these sites offers classes taught by pretty much anyone who wants to teach you. You can sign up to teach at the same time you sign up to learn. Check to see which class has more star reviews. Read the “This course is using Bootstrap 2 instead of 3 and should be updated” type comments before you invest money. You’ll be glad you did.

2014: A year of changes.

I haven’t made a post for a long time, and I apologize. This year has been really tumultuous. I mean, at the beginning of the year I was so excited to get to participate in OddMall. It’s hard to believe this is still the same year. God is good, but I sure can’t predict what He will allow into my life next! My father was diagnosed with two different cancers this year. Both are under control now (and the thyroid is gone), and now I know a lot of good low-iodine recipes!  I am the only one left in my immediate family with a thyroid, weird. This is a great site for recipes:

I have been pretty frustrated with the contradictory lists of foods that are allowed/disallowed when you are on a low iodine diet (LID). Some say “nothing in cans” (canning machinery is washed with iodine to disinfect it) some say “no beans” some say “no dairy including butter” some say “butter is ok, just not salted butter” some say “all beans are ok except these specific beans..” As a family we just did the best we could and mostly conformed to “no milk/dairy, no seaweed (carrageenan, algin, agar, nori, etc.), no seafood, no sea-salt, no salt-added-by-companies-when-you-don’t-know-what-kind-it-is (so basically “no prepared foods”), no skin on your potatoes (that one is weird, but it was very consistent, so I had to believe them), no soy (but soy oil is sort of ok.. sometimes).” We found hemp milk was allowed, if not a fantastic flavor. Most of the other ones were either soy based or had seaweed in them. It wasn’t really that bad a diet, which is good, since we were on it for about a month. Lots of fresh/cooked/roasted vegetables and meat, and even pasta was ok – you can find salt-free ketchup, salt-free tomato paste, salt-free potato chips, salt-free peanut-butter. It’s not a perfect diet, but it’s not “two weeks of oatmeal”.

I’m never sure whether this should be a “my personal stuff” blog or a “only come here for art updates” blog. Either way 1) I don’t update it enough and 2) I thought some of this information could genuinely be useful.

My day job has been strange too. It hasn’t gone the direction I wanted, so now I am actively teaching myself web development skills. I think I will make that its own post, listing all the fantastic resources I have found to help me learn. I mean, I don’t want to search for it and hit this article every time.

God is faithful, and life is unexpected.


I have an online portfolio that shows all the best of my best in sculpture, jewelry, photography and art. I wanted to make sure it was linked here for you to find. It is this: Glimmerville Portfolio, and I would be tickled if you would check it out. I also placed it in the permanent side-bar links on this page.

I do think of myself as an artist. Though I don’t currently create art for a day job, I can’t ever expect to do more art if I don’t show others my work, can I? So please, check it out, and feel free to ask about commissions and sales!


OddMall 2014

I had a table at OddMall!  I was next to SikRik Masks.  OddMall was held in the John S Knight center in downtown Akron Ohio, because it outgrew its old venue. I had never been there before, though I am acquainted with the guy who runs the whole show, Andy Hopp, from attending his other conventions. It was exciting to be in a big juried show like this!

Unfortunately I didn’t sell very much. But it was a good experience! If you are interested in buying any of my jewelry or dragons, some of the jewelry is up on Etsy, but it is better to just ask me about my dragons via glimmer [at]

Here be Dragons

Glimmerville at Odd Mall