So to give a little back story, I went straight into Uni from high school and I've been here for a year and I decided that college really isn't for me. I was in the graphic design program but I just really didn't enjoy it. However, I'm more motivated than ever to pursue a career in graphic design.

I know a fair amount of you are self-taught, which is the path I plan on taking, so my question is how did you guys do it? What resources are out there? Where did you seek out critiques for your work so you could get better? Is self learning even a viable option in the current market?

I'd really appreciate any opinions or advice that anybody could offer.
  • cmeyers

    100% self taught here

    inspiration and practice got me where i am today. i'm constantly critiquing everything i see from restaurant menus to billboards to shirts. i'm always asking myself why i like or dislike something.

    i've also learned to never be offended. someone can bash the hell out of my work and i will sit back, think about what they said, consider it, and if it has merit i will try to take it into consideration for future work.

    but mostly, always looking at great art/design.
  • atomicchild

  • fuggart

    you'll work it out. just keep making shit. doesn't matter how you do it just try everything
  • Obscure

    Surely there is only one realistic answer...

    Practice makes perfect.
  • tidyink

    Get a job part-time/full time/ intern in a design studio and lap up absolutely everything they teach you. You'll learn more there in 2 weeks than anywhere else. I was lucky enough that my dad was a graphic designer so I learned by working with him from 18 years old.
  • CoreyThomas

    tidyink said:Get a job part-time/full time/ intern in a design studio and lap up absolutely everything they teach you. You'll learn more there in 2 weeks than anywhere else. I was lucky enough that my dad was a graphic designer so I learned by working with him from 18 years old.

    I agree 100%. I went to college for Graphic Design. I had never heard touched or seen any of the adobe programs before I started my 1st day of college. I was a fine artist in high school and wanted to do something with art so everyone told me to try graphic design. So I learned a ton in college just in that respect. More so the basics I would say. Working in the real world however has taught me how to actually BE a designer, and make a career out of it which I think is the real goal. For inspiration, I try to look at as much GOOD design as possible. I have a huge list of artist's website I check up on to see what they are doing to push the level. And practice makes perfect.
  • dbdesign

    Work your ass off. Work harder than anyone and everyone around you. I went to a 4 year college that was all design and art 8 hours every day, no math or english bullshit. Everyone took it as a joke...I freelanced, and was constantly working on shit, doing tutorials, and soaking up as much as I could. Now most of those people I went to school with are working retail and I'm doing what I love and still working at progressing myself.

    It's hard work, very hard work...but if you love what you do nothing else matters, that hard work becomes enjoyable.
  • Matt Borchert

    Care about what you do, and dedicate your life to becoming one of the best at it.
  • Andrew Haines

    cmeyers said:i've also learned to never be offended. someone can bash the hell out of my work and i will sit back, think about what they said, consider it, and if it has merit i will try to take it into consideration for future work.

    One of the most important statements here. I know a lot of people that can't take critiques no matter how small. Thinking you're already as good as you can be is the easiest way to be left behind. I'm always looking at new things, being inspired and like Corey said, analyzing design in every way possible no matter where I am. I've been making a more conscience effort to get better at recognizing fonts, pointing them out wherever I am (which my gf totally loves.)

    I went to a 4 year school, taking a year off a few semesters before graduating because I was not satisfied with my work or what I was getting out of it. Design communities like Mintees, who's members were a HUGE help, got me to branch out in a different way of thinking, appreciating more elements of design beyond illustration and really falling in love with every aspect of it. That year off really woke me up to the design world. I personally needed to go to college, I didn't know the basics and it gave me a good foundation for where I am today. Not to mention the few quality professors that actually made an impact.

    Overall the thing that has helped most is just being obsessed with it. I stay home during the weeks to work on projects, up all hours of the night working and if I don't feel like I'm being productive I actually get a weird feeling that I'm wasting time haha. There's nothing keeping you from being good if you work hard and constantly want to get better.
  • DrewGliever

  • BluCanoe

    Thanks for all the advice guys! It's making me feel a bit better about my decision to be self-taught.
  • OkKimonos

    Never stop making. I absolutely suck at graphics and its rough because I have a lot of ideas but I doodle, draw, photoshop, illustrate and whatever else as much as I can and when I want to make something look a certain way, I get an example of what I want to know how to do and I ask friends how that's done ^_^ Hope that helps a bit!
  • Suff

    I'm not that good in illustrating but some of my friends say that i've grown a lot since last year. What happened was my girlfriend broke up with me more than a year ago and since then i focused myself in drawing, studying, practicing from 8 in the morning till 3am the next day hehe.
  • Matt Borchert

    BluCanoe said:Thanks for all the advice guys! It's making me feel a bit better about my decision to be self-taught.

    I wouldn't even let the thought of how you are learning enter your mind. It doesn't matter how you get to the end result, just that you ended up where you needed to be. I personally couldn't care less about how someone got to be good at what they do, because the best way to get there will be different for every person. Some people need the structure of a school, and some don't. Some people flourish in school, and it drives others away. Do whatever works best for you =)
  • chad manzo

    Matt Borchert said:
    BluCanoe said:Thanks for all the advice guys! It's making me feel a bit better about my decision to be self-taught.

    I wouldn't even let the thought of how you are learning enter your mind. It doesn't matter how you get to the end result, just that you ended up where you needed to be. I personally couldn't care less about how someone got to be good at what they do, because the best way to get there will be different for every person. Some people need the structure of a school, and some don't. Some people flourish in school, and it drives others away. Do whatever works best for you =)

    Also, sometimes, being self-taught doesn't necessarily mean that it's the only means available. (Although the best way of learning something is by doing), sometimes getting skill classes is as important as practicing. You get to understand techniques that you can apply to your workflow. And yeah, work that ass off. Draw/design till your eyes and hands bleed.
  • kyleidoscope

    Practice and being open to critique is the key to sucess at almost anything. Also be willing to trial your ideas and experiment.

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