How I Became a Graphic Designer

Even as a child, I always knew that my career would involve Art. Actually, I wanted to be a master artist like Frida, Picasso, or Van Gogh. (It’s still possible!) I loved drawing and painting portraits, plus I loved doing all kinds of crafts. Creativity has always been my thing. So much more than Math, which was always challenging for me. Art gave me joy and peace. Math gave me a headache. Don’t even ask me about P.E. and Sports.

When I attended Wartburg College, I decided to major in Studio Art. I had no idea what kind of job I’d get into with that degree, but it was what I was great at. I thought I had plenty of time to figure it out along the way. One of my class requirements was Graphic Design I. At this point, I had never created anything using the standard design programs: QuarkXpress, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc. I was both excited and nervous about this class. The professor could easily tell. “Don’t be intimidated! Get familiar with the tools. Create something!” he told me.

One of my early attempts at designing a flyer.
This was for a Valentine’s Day party.

My first few design projects were awful. Creatives are usually their own worst critics anyway, but good Lord, I know I sucked. But I pushed through and grew to love graphic design. I loved it so much, I decided to major in it as well. By my senior year, my studio art skills were still much stronger than my design skills; however, I knew I would get better if I kept at it. I’d earned a work-study position as a graphic designer in our College Relations department, where I got to work on the college quarterly magazine. Before graduating, I interned at a small advertising agency in Waterloo, IA, and was hired permanently soon after graduation. While there, I was blessed to work with a duo who taught me a lot about design and how to work with clients. The following year, I moved back to my hometown of Kansas City, KS and began working at The Kansas City Star in the Advertising Services department. After nearly 9 years, I left The Star and started my freelance business, Studio R Designs. I found work with another company, but still freelanced when the work came my way. And I’m still doing it today!

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I don’t get around to blogging much, but I’m trying to get more into it. My apologies for any grammatical and mechanical errors! 😬

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