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lesson-one

If you're in need of professional training for print or web, I am an established teacher serving the world via online lessons. I am friendly, patient and knowledgeable with over 17 years of teaching experience. Some of my many clients include: graphic designers, web designers, photographers, artists, art directors, business owners and professionals, bloggers, students, hobbyists or anyone interested in preparing their own art or making websites (beginners ok!).

In addition to teaching, my background includes many years of professional experience. I am an active graphic designer of both print (catalogs, books, magazines, cards, brochures, posters, CDs etc.) and an experienced web developer/designer. In addition to my work as a freelancer, I have also held both graphic design and web development positions with several companies. Here are the main topics I can help you with:

  • Graphic design technique and production skills (print or web)
  • Preparing files for offset print
  • Creating web mockups in Photoshop or Fireworks (optionally code them)
  • Color Management
  • Giclee/high-end inkjet printing
  • Basic computers (PC or Mac), file management and the Internet
  • Computer upgrading or troubleshooting
  • Just getting started and getting it all working
  • One-on-one or group training available
  • PC or Mac


Training FAQs (click to expand)

 Pricing

Pricing*. $60 /hr. online with audio and screen sharing (your location can be anywhere) or $75 /hr. in person for areas up to a 30 minute drive from Berkeley, CA. Some of my customers are in San Francisco, Walnut Creek/Concord, Marin and other locations within a one hour drive of Berkeley. The in-person rate for these areas is $100 /hr. I highly recommend giving an online session a shot and feel that the learning experience doesn't miss a beat.

I think you'll find this a bargain for quality one-on-one help!

Group rates start at $125 /hr. depending on the size and location. I have conducted structured trainings for many corporate and smaller businesses and you are welcome to contact me so we can discuss your situation.

Session minimum. 2 hours per session or 3 hours for locations farther than a one-hour drive. I find that most people feel 2-3 hours at a time is usually a good number (not too much or to little) although longer sessions are fine if you need to get up to speed more quickly.

Payment. I accept cash, credit card or Paypal. Checks may be accepted when paid in person or in advance, or if the payment is large.

 Are private lessons right for me? How do they compare to the options?

There are many ways you can choose to learn. Classes, workshops, private lessons, books, video training, etc. The best thing about private lessons, is that the training will be customized to your needs and will go at a pace that is comfortable for you. Once we get through the fundamentals, we can even focus on your particular challenges and projects

Private lessons are also a great way to go when time is an issue. They are comparable or less expensive in price to workshops and let you cover a lot more ground in a much shorter time than you could by taking courses at a design school or community college. If you prefer a very predetermined/canned way of learning, workshops can be good. But again, workshops are expensive and aren't tailored to your needs. You also end up having to take many different courses (like Photoshop I, II and III, Dreamweaver I, II and III, etc.). Private lessons are more efficient both because they are tailored to you and your background, but also because we can tie all the programs together and allow overlap. This can end up saving substantial time and money.

But best of all, you will be learning from a teacher with over 17 years of real world experience, not just someone who is good at passing on information they've read somewhere. That is unfortunately a problem with many computer books and sometimes even with teachers at expensive graphic design schools. For example, there are usually several ways to do something, but which way is best? I think you will find the experienced advice and workflow tips you will receive well worth the investment.

 How much time will it take to learn (fill in the blank) software?

Learning how to do graphic design or develop websites is like other professional skills. If you're interested in doing quality work, you'll need to devote enough time to learn the basics in order to have a good grasp. With a good foundation, everything will start to come together. Otherwise, everything is confusing and it's hard to get far.

Many people ask about how much time is needed, so I've come up with a basic breakdown of what I recommend budgeting for each program. This is an estimate for a beginner to intermediate covering the rudiments of each program and assumes that you already have some general computer skills:

  • Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator or Fireworks: 10-15+ hours each
  • Adobe Lightroom: 4-8+ hours
  • HTML/CSS or Dreamweaver: 16+ hours.
  • Drupal or Wordpress learning the backend while working with 3rd party templates: 6-12+ hours
  • Drupal or Wordpress for front end developers or designers: 20+ hours (depending on your HTML/CSS and CMS skills)
  • General computer help or specialty stuff like color management: varies

This is a rough estimate for an introductory course (to get a working knowledge) and could vary up or down depending on your background and pace of learning. You're in no way obligated to commit to any time frame. However, unless you know them already, spending enough time on the basics comes very highly recommended! I've found after teaching many people over the years that neglecting them usually ends up being unsatisfying and sometimes leads to costly mistakes. Plus happy students are a teacher's best reward!

 How often should we meet, and for how long each time?

If you want to maximize what you get out of your lessons, I recommend at least a moderate amount of time dedicated to regular meetings and practice. Ideally this would mean scheduling 2-4 hour sessions 1-2x per week consistently for a month or two, in order to maximize the experience. Because the lessons will be tailored to your needs (with a core curriculum), we will not follow a textbook. However I have a lot of great books and resources to recommend and can help you with your note taking.

 

 What skills and graphics software do I need to learn?

Please take a moment to read my blog posting, So just what do I need to know? It's especially helpful if you are new to computer graphics and are trying to figure out where to get started.

 

 How will our classes be structured?

We will work together from the beginning to come up wsith a plan that works for you. The first step is to have a conversation on the phone (preferably) or by email to assess your needs. From there, we will determine a basic lesson plan.

Depending on your experience, it is highly recommend to focus on the basics for at least the first 8-10 hours of our classes. After that, you're free to choose between something structured where we cover topics more in depth, or it can be causal with particular help in certain areas. I also recommend spending some time together working on practice projects.

 Can you help me with my website or graphics project?

Sometimes, if you are interested in first learning some basics or already have a good working knowledge. I've helped many people through their graphic design or website hurdles*. I can be with you every step of the way, or just provide fill-in help. However, when you're budgeting money and time, please keep in mind that learning how to do something at the same time as getting it done, always takes longer than hiring someone to just do it. This can be a good thing of course, because you will learn how to do it for the next time.

*I'm available to help you through the technical aspects and setting up your files and preparing the artwork. I do not offer to work together on the actual design. For this you can either hire me as a designer, or handle the design aspects yourself. Good design is best not rushed. It requires a lot of time and consideration, and not something that's always on call. However, I'm happy to give you design advice and offer some touches here and there.

 I'm a business owner who would like to manage my own website. Can you teach me how?

This is a request that I get at least a couple of times per week. It's nothing unusual for website owners to be unhappy when it comes to depending on a web developer to make the changes and updates they need. This short article describes how I can set you up on a content management system or teach you how to use your existing one. You'll also see why (unless you are interested in a career in web development) I recommend going with a CMS rather than attempting to learn tools like Dreamweaver and html.

 Where can we meet? Do you teach in cafes?

Normally training is provided online through web conferencing software like Webex or Teamviewer. This works out very well for most people and is more convenient and lower cost than meeting in person. If you prefer, we can meet at your home or office if you are in the East Bay, San Francisco or Marin. Please see pricing above for current rates.

For in-person lessons, note: I have found that holding training in cafes or other public places can be distracting and isn't always welcome by the host. This is true especially for longer sessions. I'm sorry but I don't offer lessons in cafes. If you prefer not to (or can't) meet at your location, no problem give online training a try. I promise it actually works out great!

 Can I get support between our lessons?

Yes! You can always email with questions relating to what we have covered. This is of course for issues that are fairly easy to answer in writing. For more complex questions, you're welcome to schedule an online training session or wait for our next lesson.

 My portfolio

Samples of my graphic design work can be found here at this site for:

 

Graphic Design and Website Design.

 Cancellation Policy

Important events and emergencies come up for everyone, but please provide as much notice as possible if you need to make a change.  As a private teacher, rescheduling/canceling (especially at the last minute) make it difficult to keep a full schedule so I ask that you make a firm commitment when scheduling. If something important comes up and you must cancel/reschedule within 5 days of our appointment, you will be billed a 50% late change fee. Personal emergencies (real ones) excepted. Any and all changes made with 24 hours of our appointment are subject to full charge (this superceeds anything mentioned previously). Maximum change/cancelation fee for each individual lesson: $150.

Time blocks purchased in advance must be fully utilized within 6 months of the date of purchase, or any time remaining will be void (exceptions made for emergencies on a case by case basis).

If you need to reschedule or cancel, please contact me as soon ahead of time as possible. If you are changing an appointment within 48 hours of our meeting, I may not recieve an email in time. Please contact me by phone.

I appreciate your understanding.