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?

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6 responses

26 05 2009
Beth Taylor

Great encouragement, Russ. It is so easy to let obstacles become excuses rather than stepping stones to our dreams. Your story is really inspiring. I use to live in Valdosta, btw, and my husband and I both went to VSU. Small world!

26 05 2009
Russ

Awesome, Beth. Valdosta is a great town. My wife went to VSU for her undergrad and grad. I went to Georgia Southern U.

27 05 2009
David

Cool to learn more about your history Russ. As you know, I’ve been doing some of my musical journey on my blog, but not so much on the creative side of that.

Might have to think about it for a post 🙂

27 05 2009
Russ

Please do, David. I’d love to make this a regular feature. Sharing our own creative journeys to inspire each other.

27 05 2009
Inspiration

Its always great to look into someones history and see how they got started off. Really enjoyed your story and taught me a thing or 2 🙂

25 06 2009
milepost13

well, thanks for the ride, but seeing as how this blog is slowly grinding toward extinction, I’ll exit before I die with it. I’ll keep marching forward with my goals, though.

Thanks!

Nate

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