Photoshop is an wonderfull tool for graphic design, but there is certainly a lot to learn for new designers, and there’s always more to master for those who are already experienced. If you’re currently working as a designer and looking to improve your skills, you probably find that time is a major constraint to improving your abilities.
In this, article we’ll look at ten steps you can take to progressively build your skills using resources that are readily available.
1. Follow Tutorials
Try to get in the habit of picking one or two tutorial per week to attempt on your own. For most of us, learning is much easier when we’re actually doing something ourselves, so working through the tutorials is essential rather than just browsing through them.
The best way to learn anything new is to experience it for yourself. While following tutorials can be incredibly helpful, you should also take some time to just experiment on your own to see what you can create. You can try to apply things you have learned from tutorials, or just experiment with things you’re not familiar with
3. Start with the Fundamentals
There’s so much to learn with Photoshop and so many possibilities that it is essential to get a firm grasp of the basics and fundamentals before attempting to move too far along. Like anything else, the foundation of your Photoshop knowledge is critical to the end result. If you’re new, rather than trying to follow along with advanced tutorials, take some time to get familiar with the basics before anything else.
4. Participate in Groups and Get Feedback
After you’ve learned by following tutorials and you’ve done some experimentation on your own, it can be helpful to get feedback and constructive criticism from other designers. There are groups of graphic designers all over the place that can be excellent sources of feedback
5. Blog about Photoshop or Design
If you’re attempting to improve your abilities with Photoshop, blogging on the subject will help you to stay active in your pursuits and it will force you to keep learning. Working on the content for your blog will be an excellent educational experience. Not all blogs are run by experts on the subject, in fact most probably are not. Many blog readers enjoy following a blogger who is truly developing along the way, and many of your readers will be going through similar situations in their own learning.
6. Subscribe to Online Galleries
Online galleries that display exceptional work by various artists are an excellent source of design inspiration. This inspiration will come in handy when you’re looking to experiment on your own and create impressive results. Galleries are great because you can quickly browse through a large amount of items, plus you can subscribe to get constant updates and you’ll never lack inspiration.
7. Find an Expert to Follow
Regardless of what field you’re in, following and learning from an expert can be incredibly beneficial, and graphic design is no different. If you hope to become a standout designer, why not find someone that you admire and pay close attention to their career and their work? Fortunately, being in a field that is often closely related to technology, it’s easy to find experts online and get exposure to their work, read their blog, and read interviews with them.
8. Read Design Magazines
One of the downfalls of being in a field that has so many resources available online is that it’s easy to forget about all of the great offline resources at your disposal. While browsing through designer portfolios and subscribing to online galleries are great sources of inspiration, you may be missing out by not reading any traditional print magazines.
9. Try to Replicate the Work of Others
One proven way to learn is to attempt to replicate the work of other designers. I’m not suggesting that you rip off other designers by selling this work or taking credit for it as your own (which unfortunately is all too common, especially online). What I am suggesting is that in your own experimental work that is meant just for learning purposes, take an exemplary piece from another designer and do your best to duplicate it. If it’s just used for your own educational purposes and not sold or re-distributed it is perfectly acceptable. Also, unless you change and personalize this design dramatically, do avoid placing it in your portfolio.
10. Participate in Design Competitions
Once you’ve become pretty comfortable with your own progress in learning Photoshop, you may want to challenge yourself and have some fun at the same time by entering a design competition. In most cases there will be some potential prizes and you’ll be motivated to push yourself towards your true potential. Plus, you’ll often be able to see the work of other designers in the competition, which can provide you with some inspiration, and can give you a way to gauge your own skills and progress.