As a blogger, I have always been an avid learner, searching the web for how-to’s and digital designer DIY’s. Oh, the conveniences of the world-wide web. Though there is a plethora of (free) information available at your fingertips, it’s never a bad idea to invest in a class or workshop to sharpen your skills or refresh your knowledge of the basics. However, if heading to a cold classroom bathed in fluorescent light with an uneven student/teacher ratio that allows for little to no individualized instruction sounds nightmarish to you, then boy, do I have news for you.
Bria Lear is no stranger to making the everyday just a little more stylish and her latest business endeavor, Digital Darlings Creative, has been grasping the attention of aspiring designers, bloggers, and tech-style mavens everywhere. The #PsBootcamp workshop is a weekend long workshop where Bria shows you the ropes of Photoshop, how it can actually be fun, and most importantly how to apply your new-found skills. The workshop is set up to accommodate a variety of skill levels from amateur to experienced.
With a natural flair for details, both digitally and otherwise, Bria created a space that fueled inspiration at the inaugural workshop at thisopenspace in September. Purple confetti, backdrops, and tasselled garlands set the scene with little potted greenery sprinkled throughout the room on a blank white canvas. How can you not want to just get down to work when surrounded by such prettiness?
If you missed out, don’t worry there is another workshop set to happen this November and there is a sweet early bird deal if you buy your ticket before October 15th. In the mean time, we had a chance to catch up with Bria and ask her all about #PsBootcamp and what is next for her.
Lindsey (L): First of all, congratulations on launching Digital Darlings! How exciting! You mentioned that the idea came up over a long lunch meeting with Alicia of Alicia Fashionista but we are dying to know more details. How did it go from just an idea to what it is now?
Bria (B): Thank you! In March of 2013, Alicia and I had gone on an epic-long coffee date (5 hours!) just to catch up, and we had one of those “omg ME TOO” moments when we started chatting about gaps and growth in the local blogging community. We met up a couple more times about hosting a workshop that would touch on the many different elements of blogging and digital branding, but quickly realized our current companies were a little too all-consuming at that point. It was that idea – more specifically the design part – that stuck with me, and when I put Framework Magazine on hiatus last September, I came back to what is now Digital Darlings. A lot of research went into building the concept, the website, as well as the actual class materials, and though I took a few detours along the way, I’m pretty thrilled that Digital Darlings is finally a reality, and the response is a confirmation that I’m on the right path.
L: Have you always had an interest in teaching/instructing others?
B: My dad was a teacher, so I must come by it honestly. It’s not a profession I ever thought a lot about pursuing, but throughout university I was always the one helping my classmates with anything Adobe / computer-design related. That developed as I began taking on interns with Framework Magazine, and watching their skills develop and their confidence grow is SO rewarding.
L: I love the idea of having a unique “girls day/night in.” It’s so refreshing to have something to connect with other women with that focuses on something that isn’t necessarily seen as “girly”, something with a little more substance. Were you nervous at all about jumping from fashion to tech?
B: It’s fun isn’t it? I feel that in the fashion, design, and lifestyle industries especially, women love to LEARN with other women – our inspiration is tenfold when we start creatively collaborating and bouncing ideas off of each other, and frankly, we’re all so busy running our own businesses or pursuing passion projects that we don’t have a lot of time to have a good old fashioned girl date. Why not combine the two? I wasn’t at all nervous, and I don’t really feel that I’ve completely jumped from one industry to the other – more that I have a foot in the door of each. And I think it’s that unique combination that makes Digital Darlings so accessible and inviting. My university degree is actually in fashion design & technology, so Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are programs I’m extremely comfortable with, and use in fashion and design related ways. It seems like a natural progression for me.
B: It’s my first collaboration that resulted in something tangible, and to see your designs go from idea to reality, and then to inspire someone in their own home or office, THAT is amazing. Randa is such a rockstar – that girl knows how to get things done. I learned a lot from her about planning and timelines, but overall I think we both learned how to approach a collaborative project from beginning to completion. All those little details that get overlooked when you’re distracted by the inspiration and design phases.
L: Can we look forward to more collaborations like this?
B: I don’t have anything similar in the works right now, but I’d love to work on more collaborations – its kind of unreal how inspired you feel when you’re jiving with another designer. It’s the same when my web developer (Goatsocial) and I work on web design projects together. You just feel like together you can conquer the world.
L: There has been talk of a Framework Magazine relaunch. Is there any truth to it and can we look forward to a relaunch soon?
B: I may have had an overzealous moment on instagram and announced I wanted to relaunch Framework… Apologies to anyone who was really excited about that! For now, my focus is solely on Digital Darlings – Photoshop Bootcamp weekends, one-on-one tutoring, and client graphic design work. While I still love Framework (my first baby), I have grown and changed a lot in the past year and I am feeling a lot more at home in aesthetic and voice on Digitaldarlingscreative.com.
A note from Bria
After an amazing first Photoshop Bootcamp weekend workshop (#PsBootcamp), I can’t wait for the next one, happening in Vancouver over Saturday November 15th and Sunday November 16th. An early bird registration price of $495 is available until October 15th, after which tickets will be at the regular price of $600. If the first PsBootcamp was any indication, our second will kick some serious butt. You know you’re on the right track when your students declare it “the best class ever,” and that they’ve learned more in two days than they previously have in a 3-month class. I can’t wait to meet the next batch of Digital Darlings!