Share Your Story: How Did You Start Your Creative Journey?

26 05 2009

At present, I’m working full-time as a Media/Music Coordinator for House of Joy in Valdosta, GA. I thought I’d share a bit today how I came to be a “graphic designer.”

When I was a teen we used to make newsletters with hand drawn art, a type-writer, a roll of scotch tape, and a copier.

I actually still have some of those newsletters somewhere.

I’ve been a doodler my whole life. But I never thought I’d do it professionally. I’m on my way to working full-time as a designer before the end of this year.

Later in highschool I began to play with the church’s word processing programs (on a Windows 3.1 machine). Continued to put together newsletters and flyers like that.

Fast forward to college where I got my hands on photoshop compliments of my music departments tech lab. I would go in almost every night and do “web design” and photoshop stuff. All the while not really knowing what I was doing. That’s where I started really in the digital world.

Still not owning a computer.

That was almost 15 years ago. That’s also where I learned that Macs pwn windows for creative applications, though I can design on anything with a current.

Still not owning a computer.

The 2 churches I’ve worked for over the years have always provided work machines for me. I’ve worked with everything from photoshop 5.5, to publisher, to cs2,3 and now the complete CS4 Master Collection (LOVE IT).

Still not owning a computer.

I’m by far not the best designer on the block, but by joining the creative groups like this one, I’ve been challenged and a whole new world of design was opened up to me. My eyes for design have gotten better, and I’ve been able to push myself far beyond what I’d have done alone.

Now I do music/design for the church I’m at full-time. The design part includes everything from print, web, motion graphics/videos, etc. I also work 20 hours on top of that doing design for a regional publisher that has markets in Texas and here in Georgia. We do community oriented magazines, so most of that work is ad and article layout.

I share my story to encourage you to really make that decision to pursue it if you’re going to do it. But also know that the tools (owning a computer, owning the latest photoshop, etc) don’t make you a good designer. Technically, that doesn’t make you a designer…it just makes you rich, haha, or lucky.

To this day I still don’t own a computer.

I will be buying towards the end of the year and it will be a great milestone for me, because it will be the culmination of many years of making do with what I had but pushing the boundaries of what “could” be done with “nothing.”

I’m living proof that you don’t have to go through years of school, spend tons of money, or even own a computer to be a good designer.

What’s Your Story?


It’s Worth It When You Finish

21 05 2009

finish_lineHey Everyone!

This is my first “post” here at OurCreativeCommunity.Com.  You’ll find my name over in the sidebar under a few different categories:  Fitness, Songwriting, and Reading Books.

I’m kicking it pretty good in Fitness and Reading Books right now.  I’ve yet to write a new song.

Speaking of Fitness, those of you who follow me on Twitter have heard that I’m committed to a tough, 2x/week outdoor physical regimen training at 6:00 AM.  This morning’s regimen was unique because it was raining on us as we pressed through the pain, fatigue, and the physical, mental, and emotional stress of the routine.

Though we all push and encourage one another, it’s still a “do the best you can at your own pace” environment.  That being said, our trainer said something today that was really inspirational and applies perfectly to our “creative community” goals.  As we were running, pushing, jumping, and whatever-the-heck-else he told us to do, he proclaims to the group “hey, you can quit if you have to …  but finishing is fun“.

I have to tell you, by the 3rd of 4th sets in our exercises, my mind was telling me that I would have to back off and skip the final set.  But I knew that the feeling of victory was way too sweet.  In our case, “victory” doesn’t mean you finished first.  It simply means …


So we are almost five complete months in our journey of goals for 2009.  Many of you are beginning to say “I think I’ll just slack off and quit on these last reps”.  And you can if you want to.

But it’s WORTH IT when you FINISH.

Keep Pressin’ On,
Fred McKinnon

Don’t Lose Focus

6 05 2009

Hey y’all! It’s Mandy here. I just read a fantastic article called “How to Concentrate on Writing.”

Great title, eh? 🙂 Seriously… This article has some great tips on how to focus when we need to. One thing I’ve fought is the discipline of focus. Especially when I use my computer to facilitate my creative process. My computer is also my #1 source of distraction (can I get an amen?!)…

When I’m “in the zone” and the creative sparks are flying, I don’t need this type of discipline. But, let’s face it, how often am I “in the zone?” Not enough. Most of my creativity is expressed through blood, sweat, and tears, which is exactly why I found this article to be helpful.

So, without further ado:

How to Concentrate on Writing