I’ve been going through old files this week trying to find a few things, and just like when you clean out the attic or the garage, I couldn’t help but stop and check out all the junk I have laying around. Old logos I’ve designed, brochures, website concepts…and a couple of thoughts occurred to me:
“How did I ever make it as a designer? Yikes, this stuff is terrible.”
and the other thought was
“Wow. God has been good to me to allow me to keep doing something I love, even in the moments when my abilities probably should have prevented me.”
When I designed my first paying job—a book cover—I didn’t own a computer, I had never used Photoshop, my only experience with page layout software was from my days on the high-school newspaper staff, and I didn’t know where to begin. So when the client called me up and asked if I could do it, reason would have told me to answer, “I’m sorry. I don’t know how.” Instead, knowing this was something I wanted to learn, I said, “Sure, I can do that. Give me two weeks.” I went to Kinko’s and paid by the hour to use their computer to design the cover, spending two-thirds of what I was paid just to figure out how to do it.
My career has been one moment like that after another. Moments that I said “Yes,” when I should have said, “no.”
When I see a design that wows me, I don’t kick the dirt and say, “Aww, man. Wish I could do that.” I open up my computer and figure out how they did it. Sometimes I nail it, sometimes not so much. But I always try. I always explore. In those early days, I spent countless hours at Barnes & Noble and Borders (this was before YouTube and tutorial sites were a-plenty) reading Photoshop books. I took a notebook with me for notes because I couldn’t afford to buy the books (sorry, Borders, it’s probably my fault you’re dead).
With this short post, I just want to encourage you. Don’t let education stop you. Don’t let doubt, or fear, or anxiety, or lack, or…anything stop you. Before you say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how,” challenge yourself to figure it out. Push yourself. Say yes! (Or, as Rev. Paul D. Mooney says, “Somebody say YES!”) You can do it. If you want to learn, you can learn—the only thing in your way is YOU!
And although I doubt he’s reading this, I’d like to thank Rev. O.C. Marler for giving me the opportunity to learn by hiring me for that first book cover. I recommend you check it out. Despite the cover, the content is great.