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 an artist 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 major in business and typing and that led me to many secretarial positions which I ended up hating. 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 decided to become a graphic designer so I went to night classes after work and taught myself. I practiced A LOT!
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 worked my way up to designing ads and newsletters for clients.
After a few more years, I could design just about anything. My career 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 on my day job. 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 designing, it’s my jam! Crafting was easy to transition to but it is a learning curve too. My crafts was in yarn (crochet and knitting) but if you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I had to give it up because of health reasons.
Cardmaking was not my choice of crafts but God absolutely led me to it and I couldn’t be happier! I LOVE making cards and I love the cardmaking community and industry. I’ve joined groups on social media and met some wonderful crafty friends. We all learn from each other and it’s just a happy, encouraging environment.
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: scrapbooking or making junk 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 do know my heart lies with crafting and my decision is to pursue it.