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Should I Stay or Should I Go?
August 6, 2008 1:30 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in learning more about design and illustration, and I live in Florida. I thought about attending a conference here in Orlando (so no hotel or travel fees), but being new to this I am not sure about the presenters, and the price tag is hefty (even with my discount code, $395 for three days). So, creative Mefites, tell me what you think!

The conference name is "Create Chaos," and I'm not posting a link in case the consensus is a resounding, "No, don't go!" I'm sure any interested Mefites can look up the info if they are interested.
Here's what I want to know. Do you have any experience with these "expert" speakers, good or bad?:

Jonathan Gouthier
Colin Smith
Geoff Stearns (Flash Engineer at YouTube)
David Blatner (author on InDesign and Photoshop, etc.)
Tim Cole (Adobe senior inDesign evangelist)
Ted LoCascio (Photoshop)
posted by misha to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know all of them, but I do know (of) and respect Blatner, Cole, and LoCascio. They are knowledgable dudes.

However, I'm not sure what you'll learn from them. Blatner and LoCascio know their tools of choice inside and out, but I don't think that they can teach you much about design and certainly not about illustration. Don't confuse the artist and his (or her) brush.

If you were a working production artist/nerd or art director, and if someone were footing the bill, I'd say, yes, definitely go. But if you're a novice or interested bystander, you can learn a lot more with three days, ten bucks worth of coffee, and $385 worth of books.

I would love to go to the Printing, Paper & Packaging Design Conference, though. :(
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:40 PM on August 6, 2008


If you aren't a design pro at this moment, I think that conference is going to go wayyyyy over your head. Most conferences like that assume you are a practicing pro and not someone with no experience looking to break in to the field.

What you need is something more along the lines of a freshman design class at the area community college where you can get real hands-on training.

And, honestly, I'd also avoid any of the "2-day Photoshop Workshop" circuses that travel the country. I've had employers insist on sending me to a couple and found them to be low on actual training. Unless you call some fast-talking "guru" pushing the cursor around at light-speed while babbling on about "now do this, and this, and this, and click here...Bunnies!"
posted by Thorzdad at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2008


To piggy-back on Optimus, if you choose to invest your money in books, you should also look into a subscription for Lynda.
These are people who not only know their tools (pun?), but know how to teach some design and illustration. It's online video tutorials that you can pick and choose from for one subscription price.

Also, look up Von R. Glitschka.
He's brilliant.
posted by UnclePlayground at 2:18 PM on August 6, 2008


Oh, man, Thorzdad. That reminds me of the one-day "workshops" that just turn out to be a huge advertisement for Adobe software. Avoid those, too.
posted by UnclePlayground at 2:20 PM on August 6, 2008


I agree with Optimus Chyme. Conferences are for things like trends, cutting edge technique and selling you stuff.

If I were starting from scratch right now, I would probably start with drawing classes. It's always been my opinion that a graphic artist should have some knowledge and experience in fine arts so that they can apply it toward illustration, logo design and knowledge of color. Painting experience is good, too. A solid college program is good for getting all of these and the basics of design.

Lynda.com
is one of my new favorite things to recommend to people. It is a site with video tutorials for all of the major graphic programs out there. So far it has taught me more than anything I ever learned in school. This will give you a solid start in using the Adobe programs and pretty much any other program you'd want to learn.

If you decide not to do a college course, I'd recommend finding a good mix between learning design basics/technique and understanding the computer programs that you would have to use. I think that a good start would be attending local drawing or painting classes, learning the Adobe Creative Suite programs on Lynda.com and purchasing some design books that teach you the things that aren't necessarily intuitive. I can't think of any design books off hand but I can think of some fine art books that are considered authoritative on the topic: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards and The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides. As for design books, try for design theory and not how-to books on things like how to make scrapbook pages in Photoshop.
posted by bristolcat at 3:04 PM on August 6, 2008


I have art experience and don't really need the drawing classes, but OMG you all rock for suggesting Lynda to me! That is the best. website. ever. Now I can master transferring and coloring all my pen and ink work, etc.

Thanks!
posted by misha at 4:42 PM on August 6, 2008


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