- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Xd
- Adobe Indesign
- Adobe After Effects
- 3DS Max
- Premiere Pro
Should I have written a much shorter bio? Probably, but this is the one I have. So, here goes …
The adage “The best way to learn is to teach” has proven surprisingly true. After a decade of digging into a variety of creative avenues, I was able to teach college students just starting out on their own journeys. It allowed me a wonderful opportunity to deeply reflect on my experiences in the industry and to articulate what I have learnt. There were quite a few bits from my history and my own follies that I realized could offer a bit of insight to my students, but I also got a lot out of it too.
Being around students who are excited about every new concept and tool is refreshing and I could not help but find my own excitement for the field reinvigorated. Most importantly, it clarified what was important to me and what I feel success and experience entail. For lack of a better title here are my four pillars for success (if what follows sounds preachy, you can blame the teacher in me):
• problem solving
I wish I could convince you that I can, by some magic, reach into my brain and pull out a great idea as though I was pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Wouldn’t that be amazing?! The truth is more arduous and less sexy. I feel more like Quasimodo, hunched over my laptop, with nothing but Adobe to keep me company. Timeless work involves research, deep insights into the context and a lot of creative problem solving. I believe this is one of the most important differences between an early-career designer/ artist and a more seasoned creative. Great work is not just about executing something that looks pretty on a superficial level, but should have an underlying concept and goal. The question is not whether it looks good (that should be a given), but whether it is the best solution for a specific problem.
The second most important characteristic that comes with experience is adaptability. The best solution is not necessarily the one where you get to use the same tools and techniques that you have used a thousand times but may require you to learn something fresh. Fun! You get to spend the rest of your career evolving and learning new things, ever changing, and improving. Revolutionary new tools and techniques are emerging as we speak. Yes, it can be challenging to learn something new, especially when you are under a deadline (cries internally), but I find it is the most fun part of being a creative. It is like getting a handed a new toy to play with. I feel like I am 3 years old again, with my sweaty little paws squeezing the handful of smarties, till my hands were stained with bright neon colours. #whatalotigot.
So, in a sense, these challenges are all about perception, which brings me to my next point… being resilient, which for me involves trying to stay positive under pressure. Between the incredibly long hours, your boss tasking you to start working on something half hour before he presents it to client (that has happened more than once), retrenchments, companies going bankrupt; and learning to ask for exactly what you are worth and no less…challenges are going to come and you cannot be prepared for all of them, but you can choose how you react. Staying positive is a choice and you must choose to make it over and over again… I have yet to uncover a good academic way of saying “Don’t be a dick”, so I will just leave it at that.
I may try to amuse you with corny jokes, impressions, or a badly aimed pun, but at the core of what drives me from one opportunity to the next is the path that allows me to be my most authentic self. The path where I get to own my success, without sacrificing integrity, decency, or respect.