The confession is this: I'm not writing this blog in real time. This post, I'm actually writing in February 2015, looking back. So this is more of a re-creating of the last two weeks of December rather than a recording of it. It's what I remember and I find that I remember very little. I do recall an exquisitely vivid dream where I checked my bank account and saw $3 in there and tasted real fear. I know there was a lot of work with my college application clients and then holiday parties to attend, and then our New Year's Eve gathering and then suddenly it was 2015 and I had not touched Lynda or my website or any member of the Adobe Creative Suite for almost the entire month of December. So.... what was it all for? What it's all about?

From the midst of a deep funk

I spent all of November deeply immersed in learning Adobe Illustrator. I would wake up each morning filled with purpose, jump out of bed, make some coffee and start on the next series of Lynda tutorials. I would create and learn and feel satisfied - like I was building my own stepping-stone path one small paver at a time. And each step was solid and sure, but I could only see two feet ahead of me. But when I finished and it was time to move onto Photoshop, the zing just left me in one great whoosh. I just couldn't find the motivation and the drive. It all felt futile and so small. I was trying to teach myself the very basic, minimum technical requirements and enter the tightly-packed graphic design field against 22-yr-olds with degrees and years of experience. 

So I stopped and I've been sitting here for a couple weeks now. Before me there seems to be a great swamp, full of sucking mud and danger, and I have no idea which direction to place my next step in. 

This is pretty much how I feel right now... so I turned it into an art print:

Teaching Myself Graphic Design: Day Ten

On to the blob brush tutorial on!  I created this girl in a baseball cap. She turned out kind of creepy so I decided to run with it and just make her a vampire. So... making actual organic-y shapes is much harder than just drawing rectangles and triangles. But, endless possibilities! Yay BLOB BRUSH - Fun name, fun tool =)

Teaching Myself Graphic Design: Day Nine

Colors! I loves them! They make everything exciting and yummy and appealing and emotional. Doesn't this bold cyan color just make you HAPPY?

So I decided to throw Geometric Wally and some other stuff up on Society6. It's really easy to upload your designs and then they make them into art prints, phone cases, shower curtains and more. Tricky part is getting noticed amidst the expansive sea of uploaded designs... 

Teaching Myself Graphic Design: Day Eight

You know those people who are really inspired by their dogs 'cause their dogs are the best and they love them so? Yeah, that's me now. I took what I've learned so far about shapes and rectangular backgrounds and grouping and created an actual good-looking thing!

Then I wanted to put Geometric Wally in a box to make an art print:

But he looked weird, just floating there in the middle of this empty plane, so I shifted him a little and got this, which I think looks much more interesting:

And hey, what do you know? Turns out putting of things off-center creates visual tension and interest - there's even something called Arnheim's Structural Net which purports that the eye is naturally drawn to certain areas of the canvas, including right where Wally sits now. Another graphic design theory stumbled upon!

Teaching Myself Graphic Design: Day Seven

This is crazy! I just straight-up DREW all this tile and all the crazy little flowers and ornate borders using shapes and shapes cut out of other shapes and the blob brush. I have no idea why anyone would need a design like this, but go me!

Also the tiles obviously don't line up perfectly - there's a fair bit of math and careful calculation in Illustrator if you want things to come out perfectly straight. Good thing I found this out before completely letting go of the detail-oriented Shinah-person I created in my law firm job. 

Teaching Myself Graphic Design: Day Five

With this ugly heart tutorial, I'm getting the first glimpse of just how powerful Illustrator can be. And how frustrating it makes this program to a newbie. With great power comes great opportunities to f**k things up. I think I spent twenty minutes trying to figure out why a corner wouldn't miter correctly only to eventually find that I had duplicated a line on accident and it was messing things up. I guess this is the learning process, eh?

Teaching Myself Graphic Design: Day Two

I learned to draw basic shapes in Adobe Illustrator. So now my sad wonky circle looks like this. 

Peeved circle

Peeved circle

It's amazing how many different expressions you can get just by moving that bottom black bar around... HEY! I think I just had a graphic design theory learning moment.

Fat peeved circle

Fat peeved circle

Lugubrious circle

Lugubrious circle

Lecherous circle

Lecherous circle

Teaching Myself Graphic Design: Day One

Well, here I go embarking on this crazy journey to transform myself from a boring, boilerplate corporate lawyer to an awesome, arty graphic designer. And doing it as quickly as possible because girl's gotta eat. Thank goodness there are so many awesome resources online.

I started with these two articles, which each list a bunch of additional resources:

Karen X. Cheng's "How to Become a Designer Without Going to Design School"

DesignTut's "Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self Study Course Outline"

So, I acquired Adobe Creative Suite and bought this book on drawing and a book explaining how pictures work. While those are in transit, I signed up for (they give you a free 10-day trial!) and dove into the "Illustrator CC One-on-One: Fundamentals with Deke McClelland" series of web tutorials.

Here's the first circle I drew in Illustrator. It's sad and wonky, like a half-assed Shel Silverstein character.

Also, it just took me 30 minutes to figure out how to get the sad circle I drew in Illustrator into this blog without it looking fuzzy and way in the corner. Still don't think I did it right, but this will DO for now.