Reflective Evaluation

I had several ideas to start but not all have come to fruition. Mainly this has been a time-issue. With a household to run and two children to look after my time has been restricted. Also due to my husband’s working patterns I haven’t been able to attend some workshops/events I would have liked including several events run by the Sheffield Creative Guild and an illustration/sketch club workshop run by the Arthouse Sheffield which I also couldn’t attend.

Competitions

I came up with ideas for some YCA and D & AD briefs I just never found the time to get them past the initial ideas stage. On reflection it may have be useful to create some designs for the briefs even if I didn’t enter the competitions. My design skills are rusty and these could have given me some practice which I need.

Networking

I have made several connections on LinkedIn, added my work to Twitter, Behance, Dribbble and Facebook Graphic Design groups.

Teaching

I will be starting my ESCAL volunteering soon with Grenoside Primary, this will give me valuable school experience. Closer to the time of applying for my PGCE I will apply for a teacher training placement.

Having come on this course I have realised how hard it is to balance “working” and looking after two young children. Everything I have ever read or heard about a PGCE is that it is much more intense than a degree. This has made me re-evaluate the practicalities of studying for a PGCE. It is likely that I will wait for the children to be much older before embarking on it. The practicalities of looking after a house, children and working is a lot to juggle.

Photography

I have used my own photography in my research and also just for my own pleasure. I have had chance to discuss photographic techniques and cameras with Scott. I also had time in a photography studio with Scott and Sam Devine. I will continue to practice and I may embark on an evening photography course in the future in order to improve my skills and knowledge.

Graphic Design Placement/Job

In the end I did not contact any design agencies for a work placement as I wasn’t able to arrange childcare. My family aren’t able to look after my children every day all day and childminders/nursery is too expensive.

I have found the search for a part-time graphic design job difficult. Most part-time jobs tend to be low paid cleaning/shop/call centre work. Looking to the future I’m unlikely to pursue a Graphic Design job. Although I still enjoy it my heart isn’t in it like it use to be. Also my design skills are not what they were and although I think I have come a long way since I first applied for this course my skills are still not up to scratch. Back in March/April last year I had never used Illustrator and InDesign. I had also not designed anything in a very long time. I bought my self several design book and watched Youtube videos online to teach myself. I think on reflection I have done well to get to the level I have but I’m still a long way behind where I need to be in order to secure employment as a Graphic Designer.

Graphic Design jobs also cover a lot more digital/web/moving image work than what it used to when I graduated in 2003. Due to the convergent nature of the creative industries having a strong web/digital skill-set is important, something which I would need to work on in order to secure employment. Although I have heard of Adobe XD and After Effects I have never used them – this is something which I would need to change.

Illustration/Etsy

I got time to practice my illustration skills by designing some Christmas cards and some cards to sell on Etsy.

Selling on Etsy gives me the freedom to look after my children during the day and make items in the evening to sell.

Once this course is finished I plan to commit more time to the Etsy shop creating more items and promoting the shop through social media to create sales. I may also list items on other sites such as Folksy and eBay and maybe build my own e-commerce site eventually. I will draw on my previous skills from running my own business before I had children but I will also refresh my knowledge as this was some time ago. In particular the Crafty Business Sheffield group has been a useful resource so far for running my own business.

Even though I didn’t commit a lot of time to my Etsy shop I still sold items something which I believe bodes well for the future once I do commit time to it.

Freelance Work

I didn’t set out to do freelance work at the start of the course but sometimes things just come your way. Freelance work is more flexible which is easier for family life. However, due to my lack of experience in a design agency I don’t feel fully comfortable working freelance, I always worry that I will miss something or that I won’t know something because I haven’t worked as a Graphic Designer.

Overall

On reflection I think I have done well to achieve what I have so far especially with having limited time to do so. I do feel that I have let myself down in regards to improving my design skills and software knowledge, these are things which I should have worked on more.