Do I need to be digitally sophisticated to take this course?

Short answer: No. All digital images created for this site were designed to align with beginning level digital abilities. The point being that full-on, highly-articulated art and design is possible with a modest mastery of whichever creation tools you end up choosing. Traditional media is absolutely fine and frequently delivers very unique results. Sticks, wet sand and a camera, or pencil, paper, a glue stick, scissors, maybe even a printed magazine – along with access to a copier are as acceptable as any rigorous software program as far as this learning environment is concerned. (FYI, the software used in developing artwork for this course was largely Photoshop, supplemented by Illustrator and InDesign. The videos were created in Keynote.)

Which artists and designers are responsible for the artwork used in this course?

Except where noted, all of the images used in this site were created by designer, artist, educator, and author, Howard Schneider. Reducing the number of contributors to an absolute minimum is a control measure, intended to assure students that advanced techniques were not used and are frankly not required in order to produce sophisticated work.

Must the lessons be taken in sequence?

Not necessarily, but it strongly advised that the first time visitor begin with the section on Proportion. Proportion affects everything.

How does this fit with any graphic design classes I might eventually take online or in school?

Fundamental design principles that include proportion, contrast, space, balance, unity and rhythm are an essential underpinning. Graphic design’s divergence from fine art lies in the notion of graphic design’s intention of immediate communication of an idea or a narrative/story. Design principles are essential towards understanding hierarchy, movement and direction – factors that mightily contribute to effective visual communication. With design principles as your basis, the rest is about understanding the goals before you including the environment(s) at hand, your target audience(s) and the various protocols of the media at hand, the technology behind the medium and how best to work within whichever parameters a situation may require, as well as opening doors to newer, more expansive thinking.

How long does the course take?

Depends on how thorough you wish to get and how low key or feverish you wish to become. There’s over 50 short videos and nearly 3 hours worth of it to enjoy. The videos can be consumed all at once but viewers are strongly encouraged to watch a couple and then disengage to kind of let your thoughts get ahold of what you just experienced. Doing the accompanying exercises (29 in total) is an important reinforcement tool, as are the five self-administered fun, yet challenging quizzes. Reading will roughly add 30 minutes to 1 hour in totality, but again it depends on how long you wish to consume in order to let what you’ve just experienced occupy your thoughts. Bottom-line, it all depends on how best you wish to experience the course. Maybe consider an hour’s worth of an initial scan of the reading and a few selected videos as comprising a worthwhile introduction. Afterwards, a more thorough, dedicated immersion into the course would be warranted. One might set a week as an achievable time frame but remain flexible. Remember, you are in control. You can always ramp up the playback speed or hit pause on any video. 

Quick reference – The following lessons contain exercises: 1.02|1.03|1.04|1.06|1.07|1.08|2.03|2.05|2.06|2.08|3.03|4.02|5.02|5.03|6.02|6.04|6.05 through 6.10|6.14 (with video containing 10 exercises)|7.01|8.02|9.01|10.01|11.02. The following lessons contain quizzes: 1.09|2.09|3.05|6.15|11.01