Well folks, it is once again that time of year when I look at my blog and realise in horror that it is covered in cobwebs and feeling most neglected! I can only be grateful that the cobwebs are metaphorical, and I won’t actually have to battle any spiders in order to write a new post.
The first half of 2019 was fairly quiet, apart from the predawn commute to get the other half to work each day. So I signed up for a new web design course, and also applied for a part time position helping out a small local company with their web and design needs, and also some admin (for my sins).
I got the role, and they very quickly put my skill set to very good use, as they had not previously had on-staff access to a designer. With that and my freelance work, my plate suddenly got incredibly full as I’m not good at switching off just because I’ve hit my target hours for the week. If there’s work to be done, I want to finish; but I will always find a way to balance those extra hours later in the month. Thankfully they are quite happy to allow me this flexibility, and it’s made for a great working relationship.
My new course was put on the back burner, as they notified me that they were going to be updating the content. This was very welcome news, as I wanted newer content, but I also needed the extra time for everything that was on my work plate. Hopefully that should be coming back online again within the next month or two. While I have enough work to keep me busy during this very weird lockdown period that we are all finding ourselves in, I miss learning.
One of the things I’ve been doing to keep my “new skills” brain cells happy, is playing with the wonderful new app from Adobe, called Fresco. It is just incredible what the app can do, and I am quite happy to admit that my drawing skills do not even begin to do it justice. But this is what makes it a great learning opportunity.
I’m very grateful that I don’t need to be an artist in order to be a designer. The design work I do makes far more use of software, mathematics, and observation skills, along with the implementation of the great design rules as taught by, amongst others, the wonderful Joe Natoli. If you have any interest in general, print, digital, UX or UI design, Joe’s courses are just fabulous. As he says “Design is design is design!” no matter what format it is going to be sent out in.
But let’s get back on track… While I can meet my client’s needs quite comfortably using the amazing software products at my disposal, I still desperately want to improve my drawing abilities. It’s an activity that has always appealed to me, and I think it’s also a very good way to step back from the demands of work, and life in general. 
One of the side effects of my anxiety is that I strive for absolute perfection, because it gives me the illusion of control. And don’t get me wrong – I am very aware that there is no such thing as absolute perfection – not in the world we create, and certainly not in my own work. There is always room for improvement. That awareness does not stop me obsessing about it though. In fact, far too often I will not complete, or even start, a personal project because I doubt my ability to attain that “perfection”.
So I know that the idea of perfection in art is a fallacy. Art is personal, it’s relative. Yes there may be trends and general consensus in the art world, but I feel that what makes art important is the journey, the enjoyment of creation, and what people individually take from it.
This is where Adobe Fresco, and the amazing Adobe videos are helping my sanity, before, during, and after this lockdown. There are so many presenters, sharing their knowledge and guidance, on a whole variety of the Adobe products and different projects. Every video I watch teaches me something new, even in programs I use daily. What’s funny is when the presenters themselves end up learning something new too. And I love that – it just reminds me that even the “pros” don’t know it all. It also reminds me that we can ALL contribute, no matter how long we’ve been in this game.
So check out the videos, check out some new apps. Find a new project or skill that you want to work on, and just have fun with it. Enjoy the journey, the process. That is where our focus needs to be when we are being creative, almost as though the end result is inconsequential. I will be posting my Fresco projects on my Behance channel, as well as Instagram – feel free to check them out. Use them as inspiration (of what to do, or even what not to do!) or give me constructive criticism – I welcome all comments.

Colouring in on Adobe Fresco, using my custom "Crayola Pen" colour palette

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