What are your strengths and weaknesses in this class?
One of my strengths for this class is my willingness to throw an idea away when it isn't working. Although, I sometimes wonder if I am spending too much time on my editing processes without looking at the larger picture. Another example would be my ability to give and respond to critique. I really enjoy listening to and sharing ideas with the class. Something that I am proud of is just showing up! It's a huge challenge for me to get to school in the morning living an hour away and getting my children ready for school. I'm really pleased with myself for not missing a day. I think I'm also doing pretty well with just improving my work in general. I like that I'm not ever really satisfied with my work. In that regard, it feels as though I'm doing something right.
The first weakness that comes to mind is my lack of confidence during critique and in general with my work. A real monster of a challenge for me has been learning to use this Mac, Photoshop, Indesign, my camera, and Illustrator. It's all completely new to me. When I came to school here as a freshman in 2005, I had a PC laptop that weighed 12 pounds, I was convinced I would be a famous painter, and Facebook was only for college students. Obviously, a lot of things have changed. I feel as though I've been through a bit of a time warp. On the other hand, I think I'm progressing at a decent rate. Another little shortcoming I need to work on is being wordy and nervous when it comes to public speaking. I'd like to get to the point where I can speak calmly and clearly in front of the class. Also, as I mentioned previously, spending too much time on rough drafts and initial ideas is a flawed area that I'm working on diligently. I try to perfect my ideas before they are concise or complete. Something that goes along with this is time management. This is partially unavoidable due to my schedule, but I am finding ways to manage it.
What is your plan moving forward to improve your areas of difficulty?
I am slowly recognizing how long it takes me to do things and when is the best order and window of time to complete them in. At first I would attempt to do a project in one sitting. Now I work in little bits at a time, whenever I can. It's been a bit of a challenge staying focused on the task at hand with this method (just the way my brain works), but it has given me a little more peace of mind when it comes to deadlines. I think with time I will gain more patience, confidence, and self-discipline to be able to multi-task and complete projects more efficiently. I also want to write out what I want to present during critique or discussion so that I will feel more prepared and be able to speak calmly and clearly. Another improvement would be creating a lot of rough draft ideas to choose from and then pick from those to refine, rather than spending too much time on one concept. I'm trying to let go of feeling overwhelmed because all it leaves me is frozen. I don't get any work done in that frame of mind because I can't focus on a single thing. So, letting go of feeling overwhelmed is on my to-do list for self-improvement. As far as using the Creative Cloud programs and my camera, the more I practice and the more tutorials I watch, the better I am getting. So basically, I am going to fervently work until I am more proficient and more efficient with all of those things.
Did you meet all of your deadlines?
I worked really hard to meet all of my deadlines. I was a few minutes late getting my tiled constructed image poster up for critique. I still have a pit in my stomach about it. I had it printed the night before but had never tiled before and it showed. I lived that and learned. It is almost impossible for me to be at school before 8:00 am with my children's schedules and the commute. So, moving forward I know to have whatever is due ready to go the night before.
What are the most valuable things you have learned from the class so far?
The most valuable thing I have learned so far is PROCESS! I have never been in this structured of a creative environment and it is so necessary for marked improvement. At first the amount of editing and rough drafts that we are required to do kind of startled me because I'm used to latching onto one idea and accepting it as my final product. The potential for growth is infinite when you are constantly improving and reworking your concepts. Another valuable piece of information that I have gleaned from this class is attention to detail, a general knowledge of photography, and of illustrator and photoshop. A wonderful thing has happened that I'm not sure how to explain other than the world looks quite a bit different to me than it did in July. I am noticing great photography, design, and typography. This has led me to be a lot more driven to generate and manifest better concepts. I'm slowly learning to break from my comfort zone. This class has been a huge challenge for me but I have learned SO much (thank you)!