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13

I'm going to disagree with everyone else and say that, if you're serious about graphic design or digital illustration, you should get a tablet ASAP. If you're the creative type, then it's unlikely that your first experience drawing is going to be in a digital media, as you were probably exposed to analog media in art classes likely as early as kindergarten ...


13

A good portfolio of work that shows creativity and commercial sensibilities will be of more benefit than a qualification. Having said that, any course that leads to a graphic design qualification will include practical work which can be used to form the basis of a portfolio. You can’t beat real-world experience though.


13

Sketching and drawing are often used as the basis to flesh out designs; it's often useful to have some preliminary designs so you know how text will flow, your proportions, etc. That being said, it's by no means necessary to be able to create those beautiful photorealistic drawings that make us all jealous when we see them. I'll also start with "bubble ...


12

To substitute a design education you have to be aware of what you are missing out on. In my experience, learning at design school was mostly about two things; building robust theory and concepts, and the push-pull of designing in a social environment, eg crits, inspiration, encouragement etc. In which case you need to find substitutes for these benefits of ...


9

You will always take something from education (networking, friends that can later become work partners, field experience, inspiration, and so on...) if you select a good university but the amount of knowledge online makes it easy to learn enough to become a successful graphic designer if you have the required philosophy and self-control. My advice: if you ...


8

Absolutely, unequivocally, definitely start with pen and paper first. Art programs are great tools that can enhance skills by exponential orders, but nothing—nothing—beats the immediate results and response of working with pencil and paper. I have yet to meet a designer that didn't start with rough pencil sketches first. Being able to draw by hand is a skill ...


8

While experience is important, sometimes you don't even know what you don't know, so with something as complex as Illustrator I don't recommend "sink or swim" learning. I like the "Classroom in a Book" series; I found a Kindle edition on Amazon (U.S.) for about $29. I LOVE the "Teach Yourself X in 24 Hours" books, and the "Missing Manual" books are usually ...


7

There is no substitute for experience. In my opinion the best way to learn a new program is to just start using it and use google if you get stuck. If you want some tutorials on the basics, there are a number here: http://www.adobeillustratortutorials.com/free/index.php?cat=1


6

My list would be ranked less on the form factor or the intended outcome and more on the number of elements you need to create from scratch. for example: photo from flickr with fancy text put on it. [...] n. design your own body-text font Website designs will be in the '[...]' part multiple times depending on how much you borrow and how much you create. ...


6

Here's what I recommend, in the order I think you should do: The Adobe Illustrator CS5 Wow! Book This isn't free, but I highly recommend it if you're serious about getting good at Illustrator. It's one of the best books out there. The early chapters guide you through the basics, this is something you don't find often on the web. Once you're a few chapters ...


6

You don't need to be a virtuoso with a pencil, especially if you're going into computer graphics. There are maybe a few basic things that you need to be able to do: 1) Draw (sketch) well enough to be able to convey your ideas to someone else, likely your client or boss. I mean, if you really think about it, there are popular cartoons on TV and comics that ...


6

Back in the day, I had to interview graphic artists to work at my agency. I had a lot of "illustrators" come in (i.e., fine arts background) and most of them had portfolios that emphasized illustration. Very few understood what was needed for graphic design. Now that we have computer-based tools, I think the ability to draw is not as important as a good ...


6

You could also try Behance. It is a free board you can post your portfolio and search for inspiration. Ask for input when you post your images. Another option is DeviantArt. Post up some work there and you can get an all around type review structure. A good idea would be to also go to a forum. There are some links below: estetica-design-forum ...


6

Sounds entirely like spec work to me. Anyone asking you to do anything other than show samples of your previous work, is asking for spec work. There is never a call for the "do this job and if we like it we'll hire you." And there is never a call for creating a "mock up" of something unless you've already been hired or signed a contract. No respectable ...


5

All of other answers to this question are all excellent advice that I would summarize as the following: Nothing beats practical experience, but if you are serious and have the opportunity to go to school, then I would suggest doing so. A degree gives a defined advantage in job searches and a speculative-yet-usually-positive advantage in quality of work. It ...


5

They're two completely different worlds. I'd go for the electronic stuff first, and do the pen&paper whenever the electronic stuff wasn't available. This is only because you propably do more with the computer skills than with the "traditional" cave painting methods. I'll clarify I started drawing with the tablet after 12 years of experience in ...


5

All designers should know how to draw. In fact, I think everyone should know how to draw. It's a good skill to have. It's a extremely useful tool for brainstorming and general idea generation regardless of the line of work one does. Of course, as a graphic designer, where communicating visually is the key component it's especially important.


5

I don't know if I'd call it a disconnect. This is a product of the desktop publishing era. Many small businesses (at least in the US) employ an in-house "marketing" person who does it all. They often learn graphics apps on the job or through some kind of on-line training. I've seen this first hand, coming in as a freelancer. One person who learns web and ...


5

Reddit.com/r/design_critique The subreddit's not bad for critique, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. There are definitely professionals that like to pitch in, but it seems like you'll have two or three professional (appearing) feedback responses, for every five or six students, amateurs, or print designer's who will pitch in on a web design ...


4

Learning to draw is primarily about learning how to interpret things with your eye/mind and translate that to the medium you are working with. A pencil and paper is cheap, readily available, and portable. It's likely the best medium to get in lots of practice to help build that mental and muscle memory. Then there's learning the particular medium. That ...


4

If you have innate artistic skill, school will help you refine it and teach you real-world logistics, both of which you can do on the job. If you are not innately artistic, yes, you need training. If you have a "tin eye" for design, it's much harder to pick up just by doing it without understanding why it works.


4

In my experience I have seen that from going to good to great you will mostly need educational background. If you have real neck for details and have graphical sense then with the good college experience you will get a push with provided tools and techniques that you would not know otherwise. Another major advantage of joining good college is networking. ...


4

I wouldn't say those job descriptions are asking the candidate to actually be able to execute graphic design, but rather manage it--be it through vendors or other teams within the organization. Marketing and Graphic Design obviously are closely related and there is certainly overlap. It certainly doesn't hurt marketing folks to have some graphic design ...


4

Hunie and Dribbble are two fantastic communities for feedback and critique--however, they're both invite only and can be difficult to get into if you are a new designer. As suggested above, Behance and DeviantArt are also good communities, though their size makes it a bit hard to "break through" and get solid feedback. That being said, they are public and ...


4

I realize that I'm "begging the issue" with my answer; but, I think it's valid here. Strive for a well-rounded general education at this point. Keep your options open by avoiding a specialization too soon, academically. The biggest problem (that have teachers talking to themselves as they bang their heads against the wall, weeping and gnashing their teeth) ...


3

I was scared off from going to a bona fide design school for university, so I know what you mean! But depending on where you are, you could go back after graduating from your current uni and take evening classes at a reputable art school. I'm very lucky to have lived close to Art Center College of Design, one of the best design schools in the US, and they ...


3

I was considering going to a school for Graphic Design myself. Through what seems like a complete accident I ended up have a phone conversation with one of my favorite photographers ever. His advice was that art school was a waste of time. If you have the talents, it'll show through your work. Now, I'm not saying that I personally believe art school is a ...


3

Graphic designers don't need to be well-versed in fine art. I suppose knowing how to paint could help, especially with understanding of color theory and composition, but plenty of people learn that stuff using Photoshop. Knowing how to draw is pretty crucial, but it's important to define exactly what you mean by "draw." If you mean a realistic life drawing, ...


3

The two books I recommend to anyone beginning with Photoshop are Scott Kelby's "Photoshop [any version] for Digital Photographers" followed by "Photoshop Classic Effects". You can follow up with video tutorials and other books, but these two will give you a thorough grounding in the basics, painlessly and fast. You need the photography title because that is ...



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