I used to think that I needed an art degree to do any kind of crafting job and it was hard for me to consider myself a designer without one. I learned most of my skills on the job, but I was always a creative person from childhood.
I dreamt of going to art school, but my mom convinced me to go to school to learn business and typing and that led me to many secretarial positions which I hated. I was glad for her advice and learning to type did keep me employed. But later on, I found myself more and more disillusioned with my career. At age 30, I made a huge change. I began going to graphic design classes after work and teaching myself at night.
It took many years of hard work to finally get the job of graphic designer. I first worked in marketing fulfilling customer orders for flyers, brochures, stationery, and other advertising materials. I was able to work my way up to designing ads and newsletters for clients. After a few more years, I was able to design just about anything. My career then led me to web design and content management. I spent 6 – 9 months learning WordPress and worked for more than a year designing WP sites and blogs for clients.
Now, I do web content management, layout design, and email communications for my client in Florida. And, it all began with a little girl who drew comic books and used her imagination to write stories to cope from a lonely life! Even designing this blog stemmed out my understanding of graphics that I learned on the job and the classes I took after work. I love working on this blog at night, it is my creative outlet.
So, do you need college or an art degree? Everyone is different and there’s no cookie cutter equation that works for everybody. In my case, I wish I had at least an Associates art degree, but by the time I changed careers, I didn’t have the time to pursue formal training. So, my answer to this question is, “it all depends.” I know that you don’t always need to earn degrees to do what you love. And, I would say, if you really want to be a crafter or graphic designer…don’t let not having a degree stop you from pursuing your dreams.
I’ve heard many people say they’re not creative, but I beg to differ. We might not all share the same gifts and talents, but even how you dress or style your hair speaks to your creativity. You can be a person who loves to decorate tablescapes or you might love to decorate a room. You may love makeup, all these things fall in the creative field. Maybe you don’t draw, but you can sketch…that could lead you into fields of: book illustrations, fashion design/merchandising, even creating technical manuals.
Other crafts that may interest you can be: designing greeting cards, scrapbooking, or making journals. And, I highly recommend you watch YouTube because there are literally hundreds of creative people there that share their craft ideas and projects. Some of them have degrees in other areas and switched their careers while others may not have a degree. I’m not at all saying don’t go to college, all I’m saying is that everyone’s journey is different. And, I want to encourage anyone who like me wanted desperately to pursue art, but missed out on opportunities to go to college and had to learn the hard way. It can be done! You can do it!
My best advice to myself was that I didn’t want to continue down a career path that I was unhappy in. The job I have now isn’t one that I dislike, but I know where my heart lies and my decision is to pursue it.