Learning begins at the end of your comfort zone

I’ve just completed 8 of the best weeks of learning I’ve had in some time! I don’t consider myself either ‘left brain’ or ‘right brain’ … but perhaps a little of both (middle brain?), so creative fields always challenge me, but I love it! I cannot draw to save myself, but I am not too bad with a computer, so graphic design is something I can have a go at.

I enrolled some time ago in the ‘Introduction to Graphic Design’ course at ‘Designworks’ – a private college based in West Burleigh here on the Gold Coast. I’d been looking for some time for a course that helped get me started in this field – I by no means need to be a full time graphic designer (those guys are far too bloody clever), but I wanted to be able to open up the adobe creative suite and not be too afraid to touch things. To play, to create the basics and possibly make a few adjustments at times. I had googled different courses and found various things… I just wasn’t sure I was the TAFE kind of person – It’s also not just about learning the software – youtube can teach me that…

So I showed up the first night, unsure what to expect and I was delighted that we had a teacher who was passionate, realistic and knowledgable and that there was a small group of only 6. They have fantastic labs and facilities and I went home that night knowing I picked the right course!

Over the 8 weeks, we did so many different things. We were treated to the opportunity to do some letterpress – which we were VERY lucky to do and was so so so fun!

IMG_4522 IMG_4521 IMG_4523 IMG_4503 IMG_4520So, I’m not going to lie – I went home a number of nights very frustrated because it’s not the easiest thing to learn. It’s also hard when you haven’t been in learning mode for so long that you forget what it is like not to be proficient at everything you do, so that in itself is a great lesson and very humbling. I also learnt that graphic design is HARD! You can certainly do an average job without too much training or skill. I respected graphic designers before (I always respect the skills of others as you never know the challenges until you try and do it yourself), but I respect them even more now – the complexities and the room for error is much bigger than I thought!

Our teacher Drew asked for feedback in whichever way we wanted to send it.. so I’m blogging mine. If there was a rating for the course, I would give it a 9/10 (always room for improvement he says). I enjoyed the variety of activities and different ways to learn – not all activities clicked for me (but that’s expected for a group of students as not everybody learns the same way) but it was great to be pushed to the limits (they say learning only begins at the end of your comfort zone). I also liked that all of the activities were brought together at the end – it was great to have both structured learning activities and also the ‘free time’ to prepare our documents. I also liked that Drew gave good honest feedback and would tell us the harsh realities of the real world. I also met a lovely group of ladies, who I am sure I will keep in touch with – thanks to the girls and our teachers for your patience and the giggles – you guys are great!

In summary, I’d recommend this course to anybody who wants an intro to graphic design, but not to anybody who just wants to learn how to use the software. Here are some other samples of the work I did (I means also supported by Drew 😉 … IMG_4745 IMG_4753 IMG_4752IMG_4670


The lovlieness of an unexpected bumpy trip

Anybody who’s been watching knows I’ve been to some places this year, some amazing places and I’ve planned a few quick trips. My most recent has been one of the most unexpected, strangest, quickest and yet one of the best so far.

If you’d told me at the beginning of this year that I would take a very spur of the moment drive out to Wandoan in Western Queensland in a bumpy, noisy old Ambulance AND that I would enjoy it, I wouldn’t have believed you… but then again, it’s just the kind of thing you need to do sometimes. a trip like this, to a place most people don’t even know the name of, heading west into the heat, with the windows down in a Troopy that squeaks and creaks really makes you feel alive. It’s a treat for the eyes as well, to stop, watch and listen to the land. They do say adventure is the best way to learn and appreciate.

To sit for a moment in a town with a population of around 400 people and watch local people go about their day is as humbling, invigorating and interesting as it was to sit as a stranger in a locals cafe in Paris, to stand on a midtown subway station in NYC with the people of the city and even as it was to walk in the wrong direction along the city streets of London’s banking district a 9am on a Monday morning. It reminds you how diverse we all are. We happily live in different places, want for different things, choose different kinds of lives and are all equally as interesting.

Sitting in the sunshine, with the window down and crusing along with your best friend beside you is one of the sweetest treasures in life, a lovely way to sit and appreciate living, love and my country. We drove for hours, without music, just chatting about what we saw and what an interesting and vast land Australia is. This is what we looked like as driver on the left (concentrating and unware he is meant to be posing) and a happy smiley passenger to the right.

road tripping happiness

The coutryside changes significantly from the coast all the way through to Wandoan. The contrasting colours of fields, clouds, rain, sunshine and towns.

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There is some lovely architecture out west too. More of a feast for our eyes. We lunched in Toowoomba, drank with locals in the Criterion pub in Dalby and stayed in a country motel by Myall Creek. I’d recommend this trip to anybody.

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I went to bed last night feeling exhausted, happy, feeling incredibly lucky and more alive than ever. The saying ‘not all who wander are lost’ feels very true to me right now. (yes enough to make me fire up the blog again which I haven’t done in months!)