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how are those design studies going?
Hello my friends!!!
Last newsletter I unveiled my plan to work on my drawing & design skills for the next 6 weeks. The natural follow-up for this week’s newsletter is, How is that going?
Oh……….. it’s been a whole journey 😂
I’ve been mulling over the best way to explain what exactly has happened in the last 3 weeks, and here is my attempt.
🛍️ 2006: My fashion era
When I was 18, I was ready to face a truth I had been hiding from myself for years: I was interested in clothes.
In high school my identity was a smart nerdy kid, and in this identity it was easier to opt out of the attempt to look nice and to simply wear whatever pants and whatever shirt and say it’s because I don’t care. I’m too smart to care!!!
But it was 2006 and I was about to be a freshman in college. I finally admitted to myself: It wasn’t that I didn’t care about how I looked, I just didn’t know what I was doing.
Before 2006, I wanted to buy clothes that didn’t look too obviously from Goodwill and starting in 2006, I wanted to buy clothes that made me look like a cool girl in college.
I confessed this ambition to my cute friends who loved fashion. They were ecstatic.
✨✨ 🎀 MAKEOVER TIME 🎀 ✨✨
…except my experience wasn’t the movie montage I imagined it to be!
Like I feel like makeover time should work like this:
I declare I want to be FASHIONABLE
I link up with my best friends and we go to the MALL
We all have bags overflowing with NEW CUTE CLOTHES
I am now FASHIONABLE
Instead the experience was more like:
I remember having this moment when I realized what you had to do to curl your hair, and I was just like… how…. does seemingly every 16 year old girl know how to maneuver a 400+℉ STICK BEHIND THEIR HEAD like it’s nothing, doing straight up MAGIC TRICKS back there — and that was just like, a skill everyone assumes you have, and just like a tiny little spec of sand in the entire universe of what it meant to be “fashionable.”
I remember thinking:
UGH I’m so behind!!!
UGH why didn’t I start learning this stuff when I was 14 like the other girls!!!
UGHHHHHH it’s going to take me SO LONG to figure out how to do any of this!!!!!!
But — I got over it because — this isn’t something I understood consciously at the time — but “I want to get better at fashion” was not the complete sentence.
The complete sentence was this:
I want to feel comfortable expressing myself through my appearance, but I’m scared of looking ridiculous and of other people judging me, so before I embarrass myself, I want to get better at fashion.
Seeing complete thought, it’s pretty obvious that the solution wasn’t,
OK welp better study harder!!! but rather,
Ah, I need to face that fear.
🎨 2023: My design era
OK back to design
About 3 weeks ago I declared, YOU KNOW WHAT
I am GOING to learn MORE about DESIGN
I told my designer friends and they are all sooooooo excited for me and they gave me all these wonderful recommendations and I started digging in and….
I felt honestly quite overwhelmed! And behind, and a bit discouraged. There’s infinity to learn, infinity in every direction.
Once again that feeling — UGH I’m so behind UGH I should have done this 10 years ago UGH this is going to take forever
But once again I realize — “I want to learn design” is not the complete sentence.
The complete sentence:
I’ve got this dream of making software tools for paper lovers, and I think I also have this dream of creating a little indie magazine for crafters and paper lovers, and I also think I have this dream of making my own cute little paper crafts and sharing them with other paper lovers, but gosh I’m so embarrassed by my design skills, and I’m scared to show people how bad I really am… so I want to learn design.
When you see the complete sentence, it’s obvious that “learning design” is not the right focus. It’s not entirely off-base!! In the same way that I still eventually learned not only how to curl my hair but also how to curl my eyelashes and did you know you can use a hair dryer on an eyelash curler to heat it up beforehand (but not for too long or it’ll burn you) and then there’s this Japanese brand of mascara that holds a curl better than anything — oops sorry.
What I mean is: I still want to study design!!! But I realize that sometimes I try to learn as an attempt to hide that I once didn’t know. Let me skip that whole vulnerable part where I’m doing my best but still choosing the wrong fonts and colors and instead I’ll just create perfect things only
I remember distinctly one of my first big ✨ fashion moments ✨ in college. I bought a bright pink peacoat from J.Crew: a bold Barbie pink. I didn’t own anything that matched this coat — objectively I’m sure it looked odd each time I paired this bold yet elegant pink coat with a bootcut jean and worn out sneaker, but I loved wearing that coat. I loved the fabric, I loved the color. It made me feel pretty and feminine and powerful and cool, like YES I am a FASHION GIRL
That feeling… this is how I want to approach my design journey. Sure, I want to learn and study and practice. I will make mistakes and get feedback and try again and sure sure sure great great great.
But above all else, I want to create with fearless joy. And I want to love the imperfect things I create with my whole heart.
📚 Coda 1: Learning statistics
I promise I haven’t only been in my head for 3 weeks, I did these things too!!!
I read all of Don’t Make Me Think
I watched half of Masterclass: David Carson teaches graphic design (really fun!)
I started reading Refactoring UI (omg so expensive but I got a free copy from a friend (ty caro!!!!) — really liking it but also I have questions!!! newsletter too long already, I’ll ask them in the next newsletter)
I’ve been collecting design inspiration and trying to copy nice designs
I started making wireframes as a design exercise from Mariam (ty mariam!!!!)
I have been trying to draw something once a day
👗 Coda 2: in an alternate universe
In an earlier draft of this story, I was gonna have Fashion taught to me by 2006 Fashion Icon Ashley Tisdale but it was a liiiiiittle too ambitious of a narrative for me LOL
So I offer you this sketch instead:
Back-to-back long & atypically formatted newsletters!!
If you made it all the way to the Ashley Tisdale part of this story, THANK YOU, I appreciate you, you are the BEST
links links links
🖋️ this ink!!! this handwriting!!! my GOD
📏 okkkkk idk why this is what makes me want to finally make a shrinky dink charm but it’s just too good too smart
📔 it is hobonichi season!!! tbh I’ve never been able to make the hobonichi work for me — in the past I’ve tried the original A6 and the weeks aaaand they both ended up abandoned lol. But… I’ve never tried the Cousin!!! Maybe the Cousin will work?? y’know what I’ll go ahead and buy the Cousin!!!
🍦 I LOVE THIS PEN I got it in “yogurt.” ty nikki for the A++ recommendation!!!!