When I stopped working and began this blog, I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to learn to use Adobe software. The office where I worked had an Adobe Creative Suite, which included Photoshop and Illustrator. But each time I thought I would bite the bullet and learn how to use it, I was overwhelmed. It was a completely foreign interface, and I couldn’t figure out how to maneuver around the seemingly millions of options. It was only by luck that I created business cards and letterhead using templates made by others before me.
I was aware that Adobe products are the “industry standard” for anything media. But I continued to use Microsoft Publisher and Expression Web for anything I had to reliably create in a hurry. I don’t mention that anymore, because of the looks I’d get – clearly over my head.
I got my hands on an old copy of Adobe Creative Suite 2. I know it’s old enough that Adobe doesn’t support it anymore, and while I’m not able to upgrade to the newest version, CS2 has much of the software and many of the features of newer versions. It wasn’t expensive and was a good starting point for me.
I’m a visual learner. I can pour through manuals and books, and usually end up taking a nap. The best way for me to learn to do almost anything anymore is on the Internet, specifically through YouTube. And there are plenty of instructional tutorials for CS2. Many vector graphics you can download or purchase online can be edited in CS2, like the vintage kitchen graphics I use for the Grannie Geek blog. There are so many graphics to choose from, most of which are for sale, and I’ll probably buy some more, but I thought I should learn something new to do my own designs and save myself a little money.
I’m still feeling a little overwhelmed, but simply amazed by what graphic artists and plain folk like me can learn to do. I’m amazed, too, that Adobe is starting to make sense to me. As intimidated as I was at the beginning, I’m wondering now what took me so long to try it out. Before I would look at graphics and wonder how on earth it was done. Now, while design is still not a casual undertaking, I believe I can do it! This is a new badge I made today. Yes, less is probably more and it’s not perfect, but once I started, I just couldn’t help myself. (Now I’m wishing I had filled the ribbon ends with turquoise.) It’s very easy to turn your graphic design into a png image for your blog or website, so you end up with a transparent background.
Right now, I’m concentrating on Illustrator. I’m learning the difference between the selection tool and the direct selection tool – duh – brushes, swatches, pen tool and a whole bunch of fun stuff that make designing fun and your projects unique. Many of the things I’m learning spill over into Photoshop. I’m learning, too, there are many ways to do the same task. I’ve found it is very helpful to learn the keyboard shortcuts for different toolbar tasks. Your project will go much quicker once you learn them.
If you’re interested, here’s a link to lists to get you started. You might find the shortcut lists from Nicole’s Classes will come in handy. Nicole’s Classes is a website that offers online classes in photography, crafts, water color, floral arranging, Photoshop, Illustrator, to name just a very few. I browse the site often for ideas and inspiration. Take a look and see if anything catches your fancy, Nicole’s Classes
My next challenge is to redo my blog banner with swooshes. Wish me luck!