Interview with Artist Hayden Aube
Top Skillshare course creator Hayden Aube offers some insights into his art career in this interview.
Hayden Aube Bio
Living in Toronto, Hayden helps artists improve their skills and create careers that they love. This spans technical courses, motivational videos, 1-on-1 mentoring and an online community of hundreds of creatives. Hayden is one of the top-performing teachers on Skillshare.com.
Please tell us your work.
The majority of my work is created to help other artists; this is most present in the courses I create for Skillshare which have been taken by over 50,000 students. In addition to this, I have a weekly series of quick inspirational videos called Creative Nibbles, run a Slack channel called the Happy Learners Club and provide serious learners with both short-term and long-term mentorship.
To keep my skills sharp, I also work as a freelancer for illustration and animation projects that have an uplifting, friendly vibe.
What is your graphic design background?
After taking a 3 year Graphic Design program here in Toronto I have spent the following 5 years developing my skills through in-person and online courses. This includes studying concept art in Montreal, many drawing courses in Toronto and online courses that span animation, character design and business.
Is Toronto a good city for artists and designers?
Toronto is great for creatives. We have several fantastic schools in and around the city, an ever-growing tech scene that’s always looking for creative partnerships and countless events, workshops and groups specifically for artists and designers. Every month I am discovering a new drawing class, meet-up or tight-knit group of artists that really keep me connected to my fellow creatives.
How does Toronto compare to London?
Culturally, Toronto is quite young and still feels like it’s creating itself. London is undeniably London—you never get the feeling that you’re anywhere else. Both have fantastic creative scenes, an endless amount of things to do and a certain feeling of momentum.
As a working professional, London is faster paced but a bit more relaxed. People work a lot in both cities but Londoners really seemed to have an appreciation for ending the day when you’re supposed to and taking time off to travel. London also seemed to bit further ahead in terms of contract and freelance work where it seems Toronto is just recently starting to get there.
Please tell us about your Creative Career
I first coached in 2014 when I participated in a program where I helped 5 participants over 3 months create community based projects in the city. I had my own coach the entire time and learned a whole lot about how to help others achieve their goals. It was something I enjoyed and was told that I was very good at. Since then I always knew I’d return to this sort of work.
Starting in 2016, I have been providing both short-term (1 hour) and long-term (3+ months) coaching for creatives. These conversations almost always take place as a video call. Most people seek me out when they are trying to decide which direction they should pursue in their career but sometimes it’s technical skills such as how to draw a human that artists want help with. I’ve also been hired to consult with businesses that work with creative people.
Do you think there are good opportunities for
artists to do creative coaching?
I think there’s a lack of appreciation for how powerful a conversation about one’s career can be. It’s only after speaking with mentors and coaches myself that I realize that a single hour can often save me months of work in the wrong direction. Because of this I would love to see more artists both coaching and reaching out to be coached. It is important to note however that being a great artist doesn’t equal being a great coach—it’s a craft of it’s own that must be developed.
Please tell us about the Happy Learners Club?
Happy Learners Club is a 3-year-old Slack channel where artists can connect, collaborate and seek feedback on their work. Happy Learners Club is actually the result of one of my earliest coaching calls. It was discovered over the call that the designer I was coaching didn’t actually know any other people in her field. She taught herself, lived in a small town and was the only creative at her company. Knowing the importance of community I created Happy Learners Club for her and the ever-growing amount of artists who were missing this sort of peer to peer connection. She is one of the most active in the group and has completely transformed her career because of how connected she now is.
Why did you choose Skillshare to offer your
I was a student on Skillshare way before I became a teacher. During a big transition in my life, they reached out to me to consider creating a class and since I was looking for new things to try, I gave it a shot. My first class wasn’t very successful but I had a few students who told me that it really motivated them to pursue work that they like. This was enough inspiration for me to create a second, third and so on.
Skillshare provides me with a way to help others and get paid for it. And since most of the marketing is taken care of, I can focus on creating content—which is what I feel I should be doing—and less on promotion. That’s why I’m still with them.
Do you have any advice for aspiring graphic
Don’t worry about getting things perfect. There are a lot of messages out there about taking the right path, learning the correct things and really optimizing your career but that leaves no room for what creative people are really great at—being creative. There’s no reason you should have your entire career mapped out at the beginning, so just take your best guess at a direction and go for it. I’m so grateful to have jumped around as much as I have—it’s lead to a career that’s been interesting, fun, full of discovery and undeniably my own.