Sarcasm Central

Mucking up Graphic Design (AKA Learning)

As you can probably tell from my blog, I’m attempting to become a graphic designer, among other interests.  I’m kind of all over the place!  As far as graphic design, you can maybe learn something about me from my batshit insane design (Choose one or many, don’t you love multiple choice?):

A. I’m a terrible amateur who knows nothing about design.

B. I’m a rebel without a cause who shuns convention and rules and design principles

C. I do whatever the hell I want because you can’t stop me

D. I’ve had no formal training and I’m trying to hurt you with my design (the Design authorities should apprehend me and actually they’ve tried, but failed. YOU CAN’T GET ME!! HAHA!!)

Also just as a “Surgeon General’s Warning” (Who is that guy anyway?) Here are a list of things my site may cause:

  • Heart Palpatations
  • Dry Mouth
  • Crossed Eyes (Boss-Eyed to the Brits)
  • Mass Hysteria
  • Headaches
  • Bleeding Eyes
  • Fainting
  • Twitchy Fingers
  • Upset Stomach
  • Fear of Open Spaces (Agoraphobia)
  • Intense Desire to Pet Cats
  • Thirst for Alcohol in its many forms

I’m realizing that as soon as I change my blog design, this post will make no sense, unless of course my new design is just as mind-boggling as my current one.  I realize too that when you look at Angst you are thinking, “Yikes!”  or “What was she thinking?”  “Clearly this girl has no idea what the hell is going on” and other such phrases.

The TRUTH of the matter is that any of the above statements can probably be applied to me.  I’m still “learning” to be a graphic designer.  (BTW..I have had a terrible time of it lately with quotes, particularly AIR Quotes which I used regularly at  dinner out the other night with friends and it was embarrassing and I got called on it.  Even things that didn’t need quotes, got ’em.  I couldn’t stop my hands from forming the quotes.  It was ridic and I literally had to sit on my hands to make it stop because they kept rising up on their own with fingers crooked into quotes!  I blame this blog for that problem. I’m calling it “spontaneous air quotes syndrome”  I’m suffering, as usual.)

We Get Back on Topic…

If you want to become a graphic designer and you don’t want to/can’t pay for school or official training, WTF do you do?  That has been my problem these last few years.  I really love design, art, writing etc, but have had a terrible time finding a way to gain experience while working 40 hours doing something else.  And I’ve already got the aforementioned “English” degree (My sweet BA) so yeah, I didn’t really want any more student loans or missed time working when I’m STILL paying those off TEN YEARS LATER!!  A degree in gently handling dangerous/explosive words be damned!

So, what have I done to become just so terrible at Graphic Design?  I’m glad you asked because I’m seriously getting better!  I really am, I swear it, even though this blog design would try to tell you otherwise.  Damn you design for turning on your creator!  I MADE YOU!!

First off, I started with a certificate program in “Desktop Publishing” (Look at all the QUOTES!!) which is a term that no one uses anymore, but is still a thing at my local university.  (I almost put that in quotes too, even though it’s a legit University).  This consisted of 6 one day courses on design principles, and the use of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.  It basically gave me the very basics and made me want MORE.  I also was finally able to convince Mr. VS that we should “spring” for Adobe Creative Suite, even though it’s expensivo!

My Hourly Rate is Negative Pennies Per Hour (Basically I pay you)

From there I just started playing around with the programs and started doing small projects for friends with small businesses who were happy for ANY help I could give them.  Those poor suckers!   So I started doing things like logos, product labels, business cards, wedding invitations, etc.  I have continued doing this through word of mouth and it’s given me a decent portfolio of stuff and yes, most of the time it’s still free-99.  I have been paid a few times recently which is dank, so finally it’s paying off in probably negative pennies per hour.

I’ve also had the opportunity to do a few things for my current job and past jobs in graphic design, social media and websites.  I’m like an actual “web master. ” i.e. I master the shit out of the web.  However, really all I do is update websites in Dreamweaver and Drupal with photos and text.  But Web Master sounds cooler and more badass.

And yup I also, as you may have gathered while your eyes were bleeding, designed the shit out of this blog (And change it up whenever it takes my fancy) as well as my other social media sites etc.  It’s really just for the hell of it and for fun, so I really don’t put any rules on it.  I just go WILD (as I do with most things in my life) and let the graphics fall where they may.  Personally, I like a site that wakes you the hell up and gives you the above physical symptoms.  Either that or I just like inflicting that shit on others, like you!

And I designed my own book cover for Angst and created the paper back with InDesign.

I Love Lynda!  (No that’s not a declaration of love for a person)

Now we’ve come up to today.  The biggest thing that’s helping me right now is that I’ve got  HOLY SHIT!!  Lynda is da bomb!  She’s sooo awesome.  She has videos that can teach you so much!!  I highly recommend checking her out.  So far I’ve been trying to teach myself more about Illustrator which is a program that I know less about than PS and ID.  And I’m so excited about it that I just ordered myself a Wacom Intuos Tablet because I want to learn how to actually draw in these programs. I’m also attemping to master that damn pen tool.  Damn that pen tool!  And it’s damn squirrly handles!


A digital sketch of The Gentleman my cat

Look at the Gentleman! I drew this just for you guys!!!! In Illustrator with the PEN TOOL!! How proud are you? You should get a bumper sticker that says, Proud of My Little Illustrator User Victoria Sawyer who tried to master that mean old pen tool (and is still struggling).   That’s a long bumper sticker.  You guys can rock it though, I know you can..

As a youngster (imagine young and spritely VS from the 80’s and 90’s with power bangs and big glasses) I was totally into art.  That’s what I wanted to do with my life.  I loved it sooo much, so this feels like a renaissance to me.  A Renaissance in digital format and without those stuffy old masters!  Just kidding, those masters were sweet at art.  I’m just being cranky.  Anyway….I used to draw like a fiend and took many an art class in high school and college.  So getting back into it and realizing the huge variety of stuff you can actually do digitally is insane. It’s INSANE and I’m super excited because I know that with this new learning (Thanks LYNDA!) I will gain confidence and really start to put myself out there as a “Real” Graphic Designer!  LIke with a capital GD!!  And yes, this expirimental design on this site is nuts….but that’s the kind of designer I am.  Totally nuts.

Totes a Degree Candidate and Actually Took a Midterm!  AHH!!  So SCARY!!

Finally and in closing, I’m actually in a degree program where I work.  Yes, I work at the aforementioned “University” which is totes legit, despite my gratuitous quotes.  Anyway, the degree program is in Digital and Social Media!  It’s like perfect for me.  While it doesn’t teach me much about Graphic Design, it does inform my other interests and bring them all together.  So…I’m freaking on my way!  Haters can’t stop me!

And BTW, the pen tool can’t stop me either.  Right now it’s totally into BDSM whereby I’m the subservient party (However I hate being the Sub….I’m more of a Dom), hence I’m all about role reversal and I shall totally put that pen tool into bondage.  It’s about to get 50 Shades of Grey up in Illustrator!! Give me some handcuffs!


About Victoria Sawyer (283 Articles)
Victoria Sawyer is a blogger, author, graphic designer, social media enthusiast and mental health advocate. Shocking, honest, sarcastic and humorous, Victoria aims to make readers feel tangible emotions and physical sensations through writing that brings you into the mind and body of someone suffering from panic attacks, anxiety and this strange often darkly hilarious thing we call life. She published her novel Angst in 2013, which realistically and often graphically depicts life with mental illness. Along with crazy blogging, Victoria enjoys reading historical novels, playing with her naughty cats, engaging in rants and metaphysical existential meltdowns and using punctuation to excess in everything she writes.

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