So, last night in my Typography class I had my first ordeal with Illustrator...
...let's just say my experience included a mini anxiety attack, several waves of embarrassment, the reaching of maximum frustration...and oh yes, there were tears.
Seriously people, I think I went from being optimistic to depressed in the span of 30 seconds. And no, I'm not bipolar.
Let me bring you to the beginning....
We were given our first project called "The 27th Letter" which requires you to create an additional letter of the alphabet using your creativity. I needed to create uppercase and lowercase versions of my letter and then design it using the same styling as a specific font type of my choice (such as Baskerville, Garamond, Helvetica...etc.).
To be able to do this project we needed to use Illustrator, which at first I was really excited about. After all, this was the main reason why I want to attend school so I could learn the software graphic designers use. I noticed a lot of students in the class were complaining about Illustrator and how they hated using it, however, I remained fairly confident that I could handle it. Not phased by the fact that I was the only one in my class with no Illustrator experience, I took a fearless approach to the project and knew I would create a really amazing design in the end.
The teacher brought us into the "Mac Lab" where another class was already going on consisting of many experienced design students. He started his demonstration and projected the computer screen onto the white board so everyone could see. He asked for my letter sketches and began giving an example of how to do the project using one of my favorite designs. The trick was to take bits and pieces of common letters and use them to form our new letter making adjustments as we go along.
It all seemed so simple!
I was amazed to see how many unlimited things you could do with the program. I thought to myself, "This is GENIUS!" It seemed user-friendly and somewhat like Publisher (stress on the 'somewhat') so I figured I would try it out on my own...
So my teacher walks out of the room, says to ask the teacher in the class if I needed any help, and left me. I instantly felt like a baby bird inching towards the edge of my nest, observing my weak wings, afraid of plummeting to the ground. But I puffed up my chest and took a leap...
I first try selecting the letter and using the eraser. No go. I failed at using the ERASER of all tools... for god sakes! Clicking in panic mode, I ask the guy next to me for a hint. He clearly wasn't amused by my interruption, grabbed my mouse and starting clicking on things I didn't understand. Then I hear shouting from the other students on what to do... "Click this!" "Hit Shift (something)!" "Hit Control (something)!" A wave of embarrassment came over me.
I always felt a little out of place in this school, being that I'm the only one in my class unaware of the Japanese alphabet, Kanji (and that's only one example). In fact, one of my 27th letter sketches that I was going to use was later pointed out to me that it was the Japanese letter for "sa." I thought to myself, "HOW DO THEY EVEN KNOW THAT?!"
They are as to History Channel as I am to E! News...
...as Antiques Roadshow is to America's Next Top Model.
They study books about culture, and I read Marie Claire.
They didn't even know what "Smizing" and "RDJ" meant... HE-LLOOOO!
To put it plainly, I feel like the stupid pretty girl... like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless.
I was already feeling dumb enough when I realized the last 15 minutes of my retarded looking design work was still being displayed on the white board.
Thanks for the cherry on top of my sped sundae.
Not to mention I think the teacher was irritated with me because I would ask him how to do something, he would show me and walk away, and I as I tried to move on to the next step I would get stuck, yet again. I clearly didn't know what the %&$# I was doing and I was starting to get annoyed with my own voice asking for help. Upon further struggle, I felt my face getting hot and an overwhelming urge to get up and leave the room.
Thankfully my teacher ("Momma Bird") came back to rescue me as I almost hit the ground. He asked if I needed help, and with a discouraged nod, he pulled up a chair and I started over.
He began walking me through each step and patiently answered every question I had (even the millionth one). I think he could tell I was frustrated and wasn't used to feeling so behind. That was the worst part... because up until last night I felt like I was in the top of my class. My lack of design knowledge was starting to show and I was slowly sinking to the bottom.
The class came to an end and I drove home feeling like a failure. I called my husband and during my explanation of my rough night I started to break down and cry. He reminded me this was my first time working with Illustrator and that I shouldn't feel so bad about it.
Of course he was right... he's always right. Inside I knew I was overreacting but I guess I'm just used to naturally being good at things the first time around, or at least decent. I wasn't expecting to be utterly, ridiculously, and hopelessly lost. My perfectionist mentality was beginning to work against me.
After a drink with Captain Morgan and a few belly laughs later, I realized that just because I don't know what I'm doing now doesn't mean that I won't be great at it in the future. And just because I don't know Kanji doesn't mean I'm not smart. My celebrity gossip knowledge will somehow pay off in the future...
And I know I will figure it out eventually, and maybe with a little patience, eventually will soon be today.
What frustrating experiences have you had that would put mine to shame?
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