I suspect that the “right” learning tool is specific to each person, but here are some learning resources I’ve found helpful.
- Photography: There’s a great series of courses on Coursera from Michigan State University. They’re intelligent, interesting, and complete enough to take you from beginner to intermediate. Highly recommended.
- Photoshop Elements: I had a hard time getting my mind around Photoshop (Elements) so I did a very basic step-by-step through the features offered on Lynda. I don’t recall the name of the course, but it was the only one for the specific version of Elements that I’m using (Elements 14). By the end of it, I felt confident enough to figure stuff out on my own. I’m probably ready now for an beginner to intermediate course, and I’ll update once I find one.
- Sewing: Instructables has added classes to their site (for $29 a year), and I’ve worked at least part way through both the hand and machine sewing classes. Both are well thought out and informative. I also took a 2-night sewing class at a local sewing shop, which was terrific.
- Woodworking: Too early to judge, but the class on Instructables looks good. I’d really like to take a local class, but I can’t find anything that’s not $400 and 10 sessions long, which is way more than I need. Also, unlike sewing, where you do roughly the same thing whether you’re sewing for yourself or for your dolls, everything is different when you’re working in miniatures in wood. If I could find a Dremel class, that would be perfect, but I can’t even find a good instruction manual on the thing.
- Writing/Script Writing/Comic Book Writing: I wasn’t happy at all with the available writing and script writing courses on Coursera. The writing class had a sparcity of details and an abundance of pretentiousness, while the script writing course just had no details at all. The comic book writing class, OTOH, was terrific, but it’s not quite where I am yet. If I decide to go the comic book route, though, I’ll go back and look at it in detail. A great piece of info I got out of the few classes I looked at was this advice about starting up in a creative field:Taste vs ability
There’s no specific course or printed material on playscale (1/6 scale) dollhouses and miniatures, but many books on miniatures are good. In my library, I have these: