Become a Graphic Designer!
Overview and How to Get Started
The graphics field just broke wide open with recent advancements in the field of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors. Like digital cameras made near-professionals out of people that could barely focus a manual camera, these graphics applications have busted the field of graphics design wide open for anyone with an interest.
For many of the books I’ve written, I have created the covers myself in a program called, Paint Shop Pro, on my notebook computer. I am not an expert – by any means, but, if I put a couple of hours into creating a cover, I can usually get something decent enough to use. I have never taken any classes or tutorials, I just learned over the years (since 1996) by hacking out what I needed.
The books have sold, but I could have paid someone $100-150 per cover and sell more. Recently I’ve been switching my self-made covers over to paid. The difference in sales is substantial!
Another reason the graphics design business is booming is because ebooks are booming. If you haven’t noticed, there are over a million ebooks on Amazon. These million ebooks account for more sales of books at Amazon than traditional paperback books. Amazing, right? If you have any interest in the field of graphics design – I suggest you consider creating book covers for authors that cannot do them on their own.
I think, conservatively guessing, it would take you about five days of full-time effort to learn from scratch how to do a decent cover. A couple of weeks at the most.
Get a tutorial video series to get you started, or better yet, find someone locally that is excellent with computer graphics and pay that person to tutor you personally for a week. I’ve found this the absolute best way to learn because I can ask the person questions and get feedback immediately.
Get started by acquiring some skills. You’ll need to get to the point where you can offer to do covers, or other graphics, for people that need them and that they are willing to pay for. There is a big difference between my knowledge of graphics, and someone that can be paid for it. The difference is a week of intense training. I just don’t have the time or inclination to do it myself, to tell you the truth. But, if you do, get started by figuring out which is the best graphics program for you to move forward as fast as possible.
Hint: if you want to be creating covers as fast as possible, don’t start with “Adobe Photoshop.” Photoshop is a complicated program made for professionals, by professionals. It is extremely detailed, full-featured, and not intuitive (for me) in the least. I wouldn’t suggest learning Photoshop unless you are sure you want to be a great graphics designer and need to use the best tool possible.
The cost is something else to consider. You’ll spend about $20 per month to buy the rights to use Photoshop CS6 and over $49 per month to use their full suite of creative applications. Maybe try another program like Paint Shop Pro first, knowing you’ll need to relearn the techniques you learn for Photoshop later if you’re serious about making designing graphics a career.
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Positives of Graphic Design in Thailand
1. Learning graphics design provides you with a skill you can use from anywhere – any country in the world with the internet, or even without.
2. Set your own hours, prices, terms.
3. Learn as you go, and you choose what to focus on when – self-guided learning through free tutorials at Youtube, or a paid course through an online school.
4. Does not require expensive setup – your computer can be a basic MacBook Air, Dell PC, whatever you have is likely good enough and you won’t need to upgrade if you have a late-model computer to work with.
Negatives of Graphic Design
1. If you’re not visually inclined – it will be a long, tough road!
2. Competition – there are many people getting into this, however, there are many people that need good graphics, and the number is growing all the time. There is no end in sight.
3. There’s a learning curve that some people just cannot get over. Graphics programs are not all that intuitive, and it takes real dedication to learn the art to a high degree.
Graphic Design Resources
You might start with this link. This site has old versions of Paint Shop Pro you can download for your windows computer – Click Here.
Here is a great intro video for Adobe’s InDesign CS6 program. He goes over the main tools. It really is easy once you pick up the basics. Watch this video to see whether you think you might be interested enough to learn graphics. Click Here.
Here is another CS6 tutorial covering 10 basics. Click Here.
There are many free online tutorials like this one, and the couple I’ve mentioned above. There are hundreds. Thousands even. If you wanted to create your own training program by searching them out on your own, you could save a lot of money. Or, you could try an online paid course like these:
- The Graphic Design School – Click Here.
- Lynda.com – Learn Adobe CS6 – all programs. Click Here.
Comments About Graphic Design Careers in Thailand
This is something I think many more people should consider. There is a dearth of good book cover designers on the planet. I know, I’ve looked for hours to find someone decent. Finally, I found him. He is in the Philippines, and he is charging me just $75 per cover. That’s a great price. That’s where the cover on this book came from. The guy is phenomenal, responsive, fairly priced, and is a great communicator. You need to do the same to become a great graphics designer – but, it’s not rocket science, you can learn it!
Have a look at some of the best book covers I’ve seen – http://extendedimagery.com/index.html, the designer is Carl Graves. He charges more than $300 each for custom-designed covers.
Can you see yourself doing Graphic Design from a hut on the beach in Thailand?