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Publish365 026: Experience School

I was working on my Illustrator skills yesterday and I had a crazy flashback all the way back to approximately 2014. The company I worked for hired someone to handle the digital marketing and she was very talented at what she did, but there was a catch: she only knew Adobe Illustrator, even though most of the work we needed at the time was photography related. I knew Photoshop super well so it was not a big deal for me to do that stuff or even to show it to her. For her, Photoshop was like speaking a separate language, but Illustrator was her native tongue and wow was she good with it. I remember watching her do things and thinking it looked like magic and I couldn't get anything right with it. I couldn't figure out how to do anything but she knew it all.

When I got the job I have now back in May of 2018, I was handed a bunch of die cuts for boxes for our speakers. I had to design things into those die cuts and send them to the factory for production but I had literally no idea what I was doing. I was fortunate to work for patient people, but that patience wasn't permanent by any stretch, so I had to really get my crap together and learn Illustrator the right way. Little by little I started picking things up and refining how I used all the features, and a little at a time I went from incompetent to more than marginally competent. I wouldn't say I'm an expert, but I am pretty good with Illustrator now and I'm always getting better because I'm continuing to learn new things I didn't know and work on things I'm not good with (like I spoke about on my Instagram feed yesterday with the pen and curve tools).

Ask anyone who's used Illustrator regularly over any period of time and they'll probably tell you they love it as a program, but in moments of fleeting honesty they'll tell you it's intimidating, difficult, and there are so many features you can get lost trying to tackle all of them all at once, but at the same time my favorite thing about Illustrator is that there's always some new, better, and more interesting way to do something as opposed to the way you're doing it. Like a lot of things in life, the best way to tackle learning Illustrator is one bite at a time. Learn a few features, make them second nature, then learn new features and build on your knowledge.

I've enjoyed my journey with Illustrator so much, and each time I learn a new feature I get excited, even though a mere few years ago I knew nothing about it whatsoever except for the bare minimum. It's almost like learning a new language: once you can speak to native speakers, then you know you've arrived. I'm at that point now and I love it.

Are there any programs you don't know and want to, or that you know but want to get better at? Let me know in the comments!


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