for the past week, i’ve just been letting the whole creativelive experience sink in for a bit. without doubt, it has been the most phenomenal event in my professional career to date. so much so, that i’m not sure where to start. so i’ll just start from the beginning.
about 8 months ago, i got an email from creativelive asking me if i would be interested in teaching for them, and if so, what might be a good time to chat about it. to my total embarrassment, i had no idea who they were (what?!). after some quick research, i knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime. we made a time to chat and as soon as i heard elizabeth’s voice on the other end of the phone i felt at ease. and excited. we discussed course topics and potential dates. i knew i wanted to set the date pretty far in advance so I would have plenty of time to prepare and so that bear would be a little older, since we had to travel to san francisco. we decided on august, 2014.
the time flew by. first we nailed down a topic, then i signed a contract (whoa, official!). one of the first things i did was briefly write a schedule for the entire 3 day course in 15 minute increments. several months were taken to discuss content, marketing ideas, info for the course page and research for the topics i wanted to talk about. with about 8 weeks to go, i was introduced to bryan, my content producer. he’s the person who really pulled all this together- and he’s amazing! we had weekly phone meetings to discuss content, bit by bit. he helped me turn my content into something a little more engaging. he reassured me when i was nervous and taught me so much about how to present my material. most importantly, he continually reminded me that i was going to help people follow their dreams, which always seemed to help calm my nerves.
fast forward to 4 weeks before the show began and i was working more than i ever have. i stayed up until 1 or 2am at night and woke back up at 6am to hit it again. it was invigorating. i was so excited to teach this course sleep didn’t matter. this is when i developed three slideshow presentations i used during the course, worked on my sketches for the pattern collection i would be designing, organized a journal to use on camera and went over every last detail of what i would cover during the course.
i felt like i needed every moment of those 8 months. maybe even more!
Your course was amazing and honestly I think you’re one of the best instructors I’ve ever seen (and I’ve watched a ton of Creative Live and Lynda.com courses). You are organized, methodical and have a quiet confidence that is really endearing. I was amazed how well you handled questions, no matter how strange or convoluted they were. I know your passion is designing but you may want to rethink your overall place in the world – as a teacher you could help and inspire so many others. You’re my new hero. – Jamey Ekins
now we can fast forward to actually arriving in san francisco. my mom, sister and bear started out for the trip a few days early so we could visit our old home town, santa ynez, for a few days. we started the travel day by missing our first flight and waiting around for 7 hours on 3 hours of sleep. so, we grabbed breakfast and went to ikea. the rest of the day could only get better, right?! despite our late start, bear was an angel baby on the plane and we arrived in santa barbara with no problem. i was incredibly nervous but pretty prepared at this point, so i took a few days to catch up with dear friends, eat at some old favorite restaurants and do a little shopping. on tuesday, we woke up and hit the road by 7am to drive to san francisco for the pre-show meeting. i studied the entire trip.
we arrived with 20 minutes to spare so i quickly ran to the san francisco flower mart. oh my goodness, what a dream place! i grabbed a few flowers i needed for day two of the course and then headed on over to creativelive. the picture above is the first thing you see when you walk in the door. i finally got to meet elizabeth and bryan in person and got a tour of their amazing offices- complete with a state of the art kitchen, green room and rooftop patio. it is incredible!
i quickly got whisked into the pre-production meeting where i met everyone who would be working on the show (all pictured above!). we discussed the show and some technical logistics, then i met with bryan and chris (my course moderator) to go over the materials again in detail. finally, they set up the room and computer for me and let me have as long as i wanted to get acquainted with the set up. let’s just say, it took a while.
lucky for me, whole foods was right across the street so i grabbed dinner for 3 and headed to our hotel to meet up with my mom, sister and bear. i could hardly sleep that night i was so nervous. wednesday morning i woke up bright and early, got dressed in an outfit i thought i loved (upon reflection, never again!) and headed out the door. i arrived 90 minutes early which gave us plenty of time to eat breakfast, meet the students and get my hair and makeup done by the makeup artist (a makeup artist!!). it was so fun!
I loved the course that you taught at CreativeLive. It is the first course that I have previewed on CL that I just HAD to purchase. I learned so much. You have taken me from hating Adobe Illustrator to incredible excitement to get my own collections going! (And I am not new to technology). – Kate
10 minutes before the show, chris began a ‘pre-show’ segment to talk to the audience and introduce the students. i had to stand quietly in the corner and wait for the segment to end before i went on – talk about nervous! finally, chris called my name and after putting one step in front of the other i was on camera.
i’m pretty sure my voice shook for the first 15 minutes. the most nerve racking part to me was hoping that each of my segments would indeed take up the allotted 90 minutes. since i had never taught this material before, i really was only hoping that my timing was correct. plus, i tend to forget things and talk faster when i’m nervous- ah! sure enough, i ended about 15 minutes early on the first segment, so we went to break early. i was pretty upset, but bryan instantly convinced me that everything was ok and that we would make it up later in the day. sure enough, he was right. i ran over on a few other segments, but overall, the timing turned out really well for the entire course.
As you were speaking i just felt courage surging through my spirit like something deep within myself had been asleep/ silenced for a long time and finally it was getting the strength and courage to rouse itself and wake up. Something in my heart opened and suddenly my cheeks were wet with tears when you shared those words “There’s room for you”. Who would have thought four little words could be so powerful! Thank you for having the courage and generosity of spirit to share those words with us. You could have kept them to yourself, nestled and protected deep in your heart treasuring them just for yourself but you chose to be generous, it was truly stunning. I just wanted to encourage you, and thank you for having such a generous spirit and for all the wonderful things you shared on Creativelive. -Anna Pearce
everyone there treated me like a queen the entire duration of my stay. our hotel was glorious, vegan meals were catered in for breakfast and lunch and if there was anything i ever needed it was there for me. it was amazing!
every single person at creativelive is an absolute master in their skill. you can tell that they love what they do and they are experts at doing it! their energy was contagious and just made the course that much better.
most notable of all, was how excited the crew was for the show. as soon as we went on break at the end of every segment, bryan would nearly knock down the door to run in and give me a high five, discuss the segment and help me prepare for the next one. i really can’t even explain how much positive energy was buzzing around this place, but it was intoxicating and so exciting!
Bonnie, thank you so much for sharing your self, your experiences and knowledge with us. I’ve been using Illustrator for about 2 years now but you showed me a faster, easier way of doing so many things (<3 the shortcuts you use)! It was so nice to see your sketches and made me feel more comfortable and accepting of my own sketches. Too many great takeaways! Yours was the first CL class that I’ve purchased!!! – Chris Henry
as you can probably tell, i’m still on a high from the entire experience. i was sad to leave and i hope that my path will lead me back there one day.
finally, i am simply speechless from the feedback i’ve received since teaching this course. you all are so kind and i am so thankful for the opportunity to meet with each of you. thank you for all of your tweets, instagram messages, emails and reviews. many of them have brought tears to my eyes and your support and encouragement means the world to me!
in case you missed the course and want to join in, don’t worry! design surface patterns from scratch is now available for purchase for $79 in the creativelive catalog (where it will live from now on). there’s also still plenty of time to enter the design challenge (it ends 9/15/14). i can’t wait to see your designs!
finally, if you’d like to join the CL Design Surface Patterns from Scratch facebook group we would love to have you. i’ll meet you there!