Someone once said, “You can’t spell painting without pain.”
Images and words are all around us. On screens, advertisements, clothing, appliances – honestly, everywhere. These images and words are created by graphic artists. They design logos, posters, or even websites – these all require the same kind of discipline which comes with the art of painting and drawing. Lynda online courses help those who wish to learn how to create visual art, be it traditional or digital. A large portion of Lynda design courses focus on using today’s modern tools and technology, but there are also courses on the fundamentals of drawing and illustrating which deal with color, composition, layout technique, and a plethora of other aesthetics. Like any craft, there is always somewhere better to go. Always something new to learn. Always something which can be improved upon, perfected.
There are currently 624 design courses and 29,105 video tutorials available at Lynda’s design section. I'd like to review lynda.com ‘s most popular offerings.
Design, like any art, has its history and its guiding principles. Its natural rules. There are those who say that rules were made to be broken. I whole-heartedly agree with that statement, with one reservation. I believe that one must first follow those aforementioned principles, before deciding to break free of them and create independently of any traditional discipline.
The Lynda design training courses which are in this category range from hosting different challenges having to do with drawing or designing, through courses which teach the foundations of graphic design and its history, to brainstorming solutions and interactive creativity exercises.
There are 121 different courses on design skills, and more courses are being added by Lynda.com’s staff. Courses on setting text and adjusting letters, on the layout and composition of grids, or on designing brochures are available for students who wish to brush up on their skills and heighten their performance.
Creating realistic images like grass, fire, shadows, and reflections can be difficult work. Artists who use the latest technology keep on discovering new ways to accomplish their objectives, and they are able to get positive results with the minimal amount of hassle and maximum amount of productivity.
Lynda.com’s digital illustration tutorials teach students how to use Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, and other pieces of software to create paintings, vector graphics, and digital effects. Lynda offers a variety of documentaries on the subject of illustration. These include titles such as Creative Inspirations: tokidoki, Character Illustrator; The Creative Spark: Beeple, Everyday Artist; and Real-World Design: Live Presentations from Creative Leaders.
There are 104 courses on illustration at Lynda.com’s design section. Some of them discuss the elements of composition for illustrators. Other courses discuss album art or book covers. Some courses are about the fundamentals of drawing, and there is even one on designing your very own retro-style superhero.
Every craft has its different schools of thought. Artists and craftsmen who deal with drawing, painting, illustrating, and animating – whether in 3D or not – use different techniques. Some of these techniques are traditional, while other techniques have only been developed in recent years.
Students who are interested in visual art or graphic design will be able to learn about various design techniques, as well as explore the fundamentals of the craft. Courses on design techniques are many and varied. They range from logo creation and web design aesthetics through manual creation of text typography, to learning about the latest software for designers.
Many of the courses focus on Photoshop and Illustrator. There are also several courses which use InDesign. There are some introductory courses, and there are also several courses titled Artist at Work, where students can watch a professional as he works on a specific project.
One of the most active instructors in the design technique section is Bert Monroy, an artist with 30 years of illustration experience. Monroy was a true pioneer of the digital arts, and even co-authored the very first book on Photoshop. Over the years, he has worked with Apple, Adobe, Pixar, and Disney, to name a few clients. In 2004 he was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame.
Monroy is an experienced teacher and lecturer, who has worked in different institutions of art and higher education. He currently teaches at San Francisco State University.
The editor’s top picks are: Pixel Playground, Insights on Illustrative Design, Designing a Portfolio Website with Muse, and Before & After: Graphic Design Techniques.
One of the most popular courses in the design section is Illustrator CC Essential Training (2015), taught by instructor Justin Seeley. This course teaches students how to work with Adobe’s Illustrator 2015. It is a piece of software that is an “unparalleled tool for digital artists”, as instructor Seeley states. The course provides students with a detailed overview of the program, and goes in-depth at certain points. It has in it everything a student needs to begin designing, creating, and ultimately exporting the completed piece with Illustrator 2015.
The topics of the course include:
Drawing basic shapes
Creating and editing layers
Changing the size and shape of artboards
Scaling and rotating objects
Adding color fills and strokes
Working with spot colors and color swatches
Applying multiple fills and strokes from the Appearance panel
Creating compound paths and shapes
Using the brush tools
Drawing with the Pen tool
Placing and embedding images
Printing and exporting artwork
The total run-time of the course is six hours and 38 minutes. This course has had nearly 30,000 views since it was published in June of 2015. It is meant for beginners, and includes closed captions and video transcripts.
Seeley is an accomplished trainer and graphic designer, with a decade’s worth of experience. He still podcasts on a regular basis, and is ranked very high up in the “software how-to” section of iTunes. He has been featured in many online shows and digital publications. Seeley teaches 52 courses on Lynda. Many courses focus on art, but other range from brand creation, through business and marketing tips, up to creating and maintaining a Pinterest or Tumblr account.
Another very popular course is InDesign CC Essential Training (2015), taught by instructor David Blatner. It is another piece of software in the Creative Cloud suite by Adobe.
InDesign is a tool for manipulating text and images. Best friend, so to speak, of magazines, books, newspapers, ad agencies, and eBook publishers. An essential tool for designers and freelancers.
The course starts off with a blast, and David make certain you gain the ability to be up and running in 30 minutes. The most essential skills are taught in the first chapter, and from then on the student can either use the course-provided exercise files, or make his own. Course-provided files are only available to premium members, but they are not terribly essential in this case. A student can opt to use any type of file to participate in the various projects which the course creates and builds. The topics of the course include:
Getting started with InDesign in just 30 minutes
Setting up a new document
Creating color and gradient swatches
Organizing InDesign projects with layers
Incorporating drop caps, bullets, and numbering
Applying character and object styles
Creating an interactive PDF and exporting to EPUB
Printing and exporting
The total run-time of the course is nine hours and 33 minutes. This course has gotten over 22,000 views since it was published in June of 2015. It is aimed at absolute beginners, and it builds the student’s InDesign skills from the basics up. Learn how to navigate and personalize your work space. Experiment with the variety of options and possibilities. Finalize and export your work to EPUB, print, or PDF format. The course is transcribed and closed captioned.
Blatner has written and contributed to 15 books. He has been using InDesign since version 1.0, and has spoken at conferences and workshops around the world. His InDesignSecrets.com blog/podcast is very popular among InDesign users. Half a million copies of the books which he has authored, or co-authored, are in print. Blatner’s book have been translated into 13 languages. He teaches 23 courses on Lynda.com, all of which are on InDesign. His approach to teaching is focused on showing students just how much fun working with InDesign can be.
Designers and graphic artists, especially those who are using the newest digital tools which are at our disposal, fill our world with color and art. It takes computer code – zeroes and ones – and transforms it into something which is amazing and beautiful, art which transcends the tools and codes which are used to create it.
So, yes, Painting can be a pain. But it can also be a creative and empowering experience. Working with software like Illustrator or InDesign is a wonder to behold. Adobe enables you to take a dream, an idea, a vision – and make it come alive before your very eyes.