Got a design question? or question about the design industry? Not saying I’m an expert, but if I can help I will.


  1. Hi Jud,
    I’ve been having one of those weeks where you question everything and you want everything to change, all at once, usually because one major thing has changed. Well, Monday I found out my cushy 9-5 job was terminiated because of budget cuts. I was in Marketing and Communications. Now, I’m scouring job boards looking for another position to pay my bills. Every few years or so I go into this deep cavern of whys where I realize I”m not doing what I love and I stopped doing what I love to play ‘adult’. While I love aspects of what I do, what I really want to get into is illustration and graphic design. I started my undergrad in visual art, 10 years ago you would find me without a sketch book, and actively using it. Now, I just have piles of creative projects I never get to and the whys come back.

    So! My question is, what advice do you have for someone who wants to get into graphic design and illustration? I’ve enjoyed reading parts of your blog to see your process, one ofthe many parts of it all that seem to be a mystery to me. In art school, I was so against the digitization of images, when it was still cool to be, and now I feel like I stopped myself from learning such an versatile skill. Not to mention it looks stunning.

    What tools are essential to learn to be able to complete such high quality images? I have the Adobe Creative Suite. I’ve been looking into online courses to teach me all the ins and outs of the programs. Illustrator being the most daunting. What equipment do you use? Did you go to graphic design school, or did your skills and interest in it stem from silk screeming? Print making is one of my favourite mediums.

    Any insight you could give me would be wonderful!

    • Hi Emily – first off, really sorry it has taken me so long to respond here. I see your message was from more than a month ago. I totally get what you’re saying about balancing being an ‘adult’ and pursuing what you love, knowing what you love might not necessarily pay the bills. I didn’t start drawing, or at least not as a job until a few years ago. I was hit with some projects where I was looking for a specific image, or a type of font, and couldn’t find it, so I’d have to make it… A friend showed me how to screen print, but that needed a certain type of artwork so I started learning how to make that type of art. I’m rambling, but what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter how old you are, or how long you feel you might have wasted. You haven’t wasted any time, dive in! What I do is block out one day a week for personal projects – no matter how busy my clients have me that week, on Sundays I drop everything and continue on with personal projects (otherwise I’d never ever get to them). You’ll be surprised what a year’s worth of 1 day a week personal days will add up to in a year or two. I started a full screen printing business by only doing the work on Sundays. I was a working graphic designer for more than a decade before I’d ever screen printed anything, its a new skill set to me, one I’ve been really loving.

      I think that if you want to get in to graphic design and illustration the key is to just start doing it. Look in to schools too of course if you think you could benefit from a classroom setting. But mainly, just open a program on your computer and go make something. If you don’t have any projects off hand make up a project. Create jobs, even if their fictitious, and start working through the steps to completing them. Look at what other designers are doing and you’ll start to see patterns of what works and what doesn’t. There is a great site called Skill Share ( which is an online tutorial site for creative people. Lots of graphic design related classes there that are all short and easy to take a shot on. is another great online resource to learn almost anything. You have all the tools I use already, the Adobe Creative Suite, namely Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign and AfterEffects are pretty much all I ever need to create illustrations, posters, publications, videos and websites.

      Glad to hear you’re getting excited by the opportunities that digitizing art can offer – just look at it as a different type of thing than traditional art and you’ll be cool with it. I see what I do as “illustration” rather than “traditional art”. I don’t create oil paintings that will be hung in galleries, but I have many friends who do. My work is usually mixed media, a computer being one of them, and its meant to be hung in the streets and record stores, or on a shirt a music fan bought last night at a concert.

      I’d love to see your work and let me know if you ever need a hand with anything or have any other questions. Thanks so much for checking out my little blog and even if your life is crazy busy and you feel buried in “real life”, give a day a week, or even just a couple hours every week, to your personal projects and I promise that in time you’ll see those personal projects come to life and become a bigger part of your every day you.


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