Remember That Time I Went Back To School?

Today is the first day of school for many around the country, including students at the college I recently graduated from. It feels weird not to be taking any classes this Fall semester.

It has made me look back to four years ago, when I quit my job to go back to school to learn a new career.

I remember being worried about a couple things – learning how to draw and not having enough ideas to keep up. So I pulled pictures from a variety of projects I worked on over the years, mostly concept sketches, drawings, sketchbook pages, and illustrations, some that were later developed to be icons, logos, posters, tshirts, and more.

daisy thumbnailsleaf thumbnailsrooster thumbnails

1st heightened drawing first heightened drawing

charcoal drawing

powder day pen and ink illustration

final trail runner illustration copy

hiking sketches

far out sketchesfar-out-sketchesI went through SO many hours of class and homework to learn how to draw, to learn how to explore ideas and concepts, to learn the technical tools (analog and digital) and to learn how to design a wide variety of projects.

  • I had no idea how to use Photoshop or Illustrator or InDesign; now I don’t know how to use anything else. I’ve also gotten to the point where I do more with shortcuts than the dropdown menus or toolbars.
  • I didn’t know what the Pen Tool was or the Blob brush or what it meant to put a stroke on an object.
  • I had no idea how to use rubber cement to mount my artwork onto black illustrator boards for formal presentations.
  • I had never touched charcoal before, much less drawn with it. I didn’t know you could draw with white charcoal to create a “heightened” drawing (just the highlights of an object).
  • I had no idea there were pencils for drawing that weren’t either No. 2 lead pencils or mechanical pencils.
  • I had no idea the differences between gouache, watercolor and acrylic paints.
  • I didn’t know people still dipped pen nibs into drawing ink to write and draw. Goodness, how I love drawing with pen and ink now.
  • I thought paper was paper – you either get copier paper or cardstock.
  • I didn’t know what CMYK or RGB meant.
  • I didn’t know the difference between JPG, PNG or TIF file types.

It’s amazing to look back on all that I’ve learned and all the material I’ve created. I had a few really fabulous art teachers.

At home we made SO many sacrifices so I could go in this new creative direction. We haven’t been on a vacation (or on an airplane) in over 3 years!

I am very thankful to be where I am today. I’m looking forward to the growing list of things I want to continue to learn and creative things I want to accomplish. And I’m looking forward to being able to afford a vacation again soon 😉


 PS – I’ll tell you a secret, what I really wanted to do (and still do) was learn how to be a surface pattern designer. Along the way, I also fell in love with illustration.


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