One of the most important things I have done in my life so far (second only to landing an awesome wife), has been the investment of time and money into my creative pursuit. I have most definatly invested more time then money at this point but I'm starting to realize that money sometimes is a better option.
Most people will tell you, you can do graphic design and illustration without a degree. while I have to say they would be correct in their claim, I know myself, and if it weren't for getting the hands on training of college I might still be sitting at home trying to find YouTube videos on how to use the pen tool.
College, along with many other options, are a fast forward button on learning your trade. It's a temporary mentorship. Where you are able to stand on the shoulders of those who have come before you and collaborate with other like minded people. It was a wonderful investment for me.
After college I spent two years in solitude looking up YouTube videos and online tutorials. though I was making progress, I was NOT making much. Don't get me wrong I mean there were many victories and Erika moments to be had! But I was taking the scenic route on my career. And it wasn't for another year until I learned how to learn quickly. It changed my life.
Now this isn't for everyone but I assure you. If you can afford it, it's well worth the investment. Although every person values their time at a different number, When taking the question seriously who can say Time equals money? In the end, Time far exceeds money. This being said I gladly trade my money for further education. in doing so I get faster, better, using well organized lessons. this saves me an amazing amount of time meaning more time to work on client work. It's kind of confusing but I invest in myself now to reap the benefits later. Fingers crossed at least but it has worked out well so far.
So where do you go for further education? That really depends on what you want to learn. I have found many online courses through listening to podcasts about my field. The best part about this situation is that while they are giving you valuable information for free. You learn how they teach, what they teach, and the quality of their course. All great things to know before you invest toward your career.
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Designer & Illustrator