The Bologna Curriculum

I have been studying graphic design for about a month and a half now. I have no idea where a regular student would be in terms of their skill development by this point, but it would be about half a semesters worth of structured knowledge (or structured knowledge avoidance, I know that game). My great hesitation in becoming a "self-taught" anything is the perceived lack of structure that comes along with the absence of hard deadlines, a set class time, and homework that MUST get done. While I understand this is not the case for everyone, I am a creature that is obsessed with structure and schedules. I am convinced I sought out a masters degree solely due to all the rules involved. Developing a "curriculum", of sorts, that I must follow (disappointment is the only consequence here, which really is the worst consequence of all!) has been a challenge.

Like most people of a certain age (I am in my late 20s going on 80, so I speak this way often) I have a trillion obligations. I am lucky enough, however, to have stopped working when my son was born 10 months ago. So while it may seem like I must have all the time in the world, chasing a mouthy 10 month old boy around all day takes exactly that much of the day: all. I have learned to sqeaze in time in the early morning before my husband goes to work, and late at night when B-face is in bed. Also, utilizing the childcare at the gym has been amazing. Workout? How about just sitting in the cafe instead, reading the latest CS6 Ai "how to"? It's a scandalous life I live.

Again, before I start babbling about the various print and online resources I have been hunched over this past month and a half (my back hurts always), I wanted to talk about my "curriculum", or schedule, that I have developed and try to stick to (or again, disappointment!). I have started with Illustrator and have not yet begun Photoshop, so that will be a whole other "semester", I suppose. I will post later on the specific resources that I have been utilizing so far.

  • Sunday: Drawing only
  • Monday: Read Ai book, one chapter
  • Tuesday: Read Ai book, one chapter
  • Wednesday: Read Ai book, one chapter, draw
  • Thursday: Online tutorials
  • Friday: Practice techniques learned from the week, online tutorials
  • Saturday: Practice techniques learned from the week

While this sometimes varies depending on miscellaneous life emergencies, etc., the basic foundation is the same. For me, doing something every single day has been important. I find that if I skip days my enthusiasm withers slightly. I wish the schedule included more drawing time, however, I am trying to remind myself that if I can't use the tools the drawing isn't going beyond paper, beyond my sketchbook, or onto the monitor and in the hearts of all (both?) of you loyal readers.

So, this is what I do, every single day. You now know where to find me at any given moment, as this leaves little time to leave the house and mingle with high society.

JB