A Useful HTML and CSS Source

listmaticIf you’re like me and know very little about CSS and HTML or simple want some quyick reference this site is worth checking out. Its called Listmatic and shows you how you can take a simple list and make all sorts of navigation with it all using CSS and HTML. There is horizontal and vertical navigation from simple to more complex rollovers all giving code examples of how to make them. There are also other CSS and HTML tutorials available. What I like about this site is it is so simple and you can try and digest small bits of information rather than be overwhelmed with how to code an entire site

Unleash the Illustrator in you

Illustration Tutorials
I used to do a lot of illustration work within my design work, if a character was needed I would draw it. Now with budgets and deadlines getting tighter and more cheap royalty free images available I am afraid I often go for the quick easy option, buy and use a ready made image. For the first time in ages I actually did a bit of illustration for a job myself – something simple for some mother and baby packaging. I scribbled the basic illustration in pencil scanned it in and used painter to colour it up in a quite naive looking style. I had bought painter on sale a few month ago and never actually used it, I actually quite enjoyed it.

doodleThen while browsing blogs on the net I came across www.illustrationclass.com Its very different to other sites I have seen most of which have tutorials which are computer based. The interesting thing about this site is that the illustrator sets you a series of tasks (its like being back at a foundation course at college). If you want to try and get creative (or are just bored) try a few of Von Glitscka’s illustration exercises such as his doodle sheets. Take his doodle sheets look at them in all directions (don’t take the first easy thing that comes in your head) then draw something a character, a thing, anything. This is one of Von’s Examples the black the original shape the red his drawing, I did try some myself but am too embarassed to share.

PicassoAnother illustration lesson is to draw three things he suggests in the style of a famous artist. Here I have shown his illustration of a dog in the style of Picasso. He includes downloads as PDFs and jpegs of all the files and his examples.

Whether you are an illustrator, designer or student www.illustrationclass.com is well worth checking out.Images shown with kind permission of Von Glitschka.

The Lack of Local Web Design Training

A little while ago I though it was about time I learned more about web design – having been a print based designer for about 15 years.

I had dabbled with Softpress Freeway – a web building programme built for non techy designers (a bit like quark) and I had experimented with Dreamweaver building a simple site (just for myself) after a days training. To be honest I hated dreamweaver, not knowing how to code if something didn’t work I didn’t know how to get in there and fix it and I would not dare build a site for a client.

I decided I would try and find some reasonably priced local training – perhaps a nightschool class. To be honest I was amazed at the lack of courses out there, the only course I could find (and that included colleges and Universitys within about a 30 mile radius) was a dreamweaver nightschool class which when I contacted them was just too basic. So where were all the other HTML and CSS classes, surely it wasn’t just me looking?

I can remember about 15 years ago I had the same problem, I was wanting to learn Quark Xpress, but no-one was teaching it so I ended up learning while working from experimenting and my co-workers (its not so easy when you are freelance). Its available now of course (now I could teach a lot of it)

Frustrated I decided to look for a day/couple of days course either one-on-one or in a group from a trainer. Again there were no group courses locally and I had a variety of quotes for one-on-one training (one for about £750!!!).

I finally found a reasonable priced days training which I have booked for next month and will hopefully take more it it goes well. I just want someone to kickstart me in the right direction. I will report back on how it goes. I have also bought a book which seems pretty good too Build Your Own Webiste the Right Way Using HTML and CSS

Hopefully soon I will be more confident building websites?

A Graphic Design College Course in 1990

I thought some people might be interested in what it was like at college (HND in Graphic Design in the UK in 1990) for a thirty something graphic designer like me. I know I would love to hear what it is like know if any students or recently qualified people would like to share their design education experiences.

I remember the first day finding the room – containing about 25 drawing boards (yes you heard right – drawing boards) and finding the one that had been allocated to me. My design education was in the period where most people were using computers for graphic design but clearly the college could not afford many of them. Yes there was a computer room containing about 30 macs – mac classic (not colour that would have been stretching it) – those little ones with screens of about 15 cm square. This room though was shared between several hundred students so you would have to try and book your space for maybe an hour or two in the week. We used Macwrite (a poor mans word) Macdraw ( a completely uncontrollable drawing package) and Macromedia Freehand. Quark was the program that people were using in the industry but again at about £1000+ a time, even in 1990, I think the college owned one copy, and I certainly never got to see it.

A scanner yes I think there was one A4 black and white scanner in the room and the luxury of an A4 black and white laser printer. Who needs a colour printer when you could attempt to hand render your typography – with a good old rotring ink pen (I was so bad at it) and for glorious colour you could use the omnicron machine on safemat. I can hear you asking what is omnicron and safemat. Basically you would create your text in black and white – run the safemat (sort of like a sheet of clear A4 sticky back plastic) run it through a photocopier, then you would get your sheet of omnicron film/paper (in a colour of your choice), put it on top of the safemat with black text, run it through and omnicron machine which sort of heated it up and the colour would stick to the black text. Then you took the backing off the safemat and stuck your (often patchy) coloured text on to your hand done or photographically printed visual…..simple!

We would be given a project – often they would last 6 weeks, can you imagine – 6 weeks to design a poster. I would be lucky to get a day now. And in that 6 weeks you wouldn’t produce poster options as you would for a client, no you would produce 1 poster. It was quite bizaar and quite like anything that resembled the real world. The good things were having the facilities like the Photography studio and screen printing rooms at your hand to experiment with and of course the people.

So what is design at college like now?