Before coming to the great company I work for now (since 1999), I was an Intranet Manager at a real Dilbertville with 1500 suit-wearing, meeting-driven cogs in a slow-moving machine. I was completely unchallenged and unappreciated in that system of Suits. But it was during some of that time I was able to concentrate on improving my graphic design skills, there in my miserable little cube. Hey, it was somethin’ to do. So I would work through Photoshop books, chapter-by-chapter, doing each and all of the exercises. In Dilbertville you have all kinds of time to waste. At least I did.
I have since purchased a number of Photoshop and Illustrator books, which go straight to the shelf with the goal of one-day working through them chapter-by-chapter like it was 1997 all over again. But I’m a real applications developer now and things are different: I never have enough time to produce as much as I would like for my employer, and the work is almost always challenging and rewarding. Late-nights are spent learning and writing .NET code, not working through advanced masking techniques in Photoshop. And I do graphic design work only when I have to, not as something interesting to do in my spare working hours.
But I continue to cling to the delusion that someday I’ll “know enough” as a .NET developer to again spend time on more Photoshop and Illustrator self-training. So I occasionally buy another graphic design book for the office shelf. This week I purchased a book on my Amazon Wish List I couldn’t resist, since it sells for almost $30 new and I got it for $2.95 used (but in new condition.) Photoshop 7 and Illustrator 10: Create Great Advanced Graphics by Dave Cross et al. It arrived yesterday and I hope I’ll be able to work through it soon, even though it does look really good on my bookshelf.