teaching-handsQ: What Programs do you teach and which one is best for me?

A: I teach Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I’ve taught these programs to hundreds of students from all different types of backgrounds. After taking my classes, many of my students have gone on to new careers, been promoted and have even found new positions in their companies.

Several years ago I began listing my teaching schedule on my website. Each time I did I received more and more requests to offer them online. As a result I am now offering instruction in these three programs as well as personalized tutoring sessions for student who are looking to improve their situations. I present my lessons live, online with the help of a special screen share program that allows me to broadcast them to students all over the world. Each program has its strengths and weaknesses, it really depends on your needs. My suggestions for designers would be much different than for illustrators or even animators.

Here is a quick look at the programs I teach along with its strengths and weaknesses.


Photoshop is the 500 pound gorilla. This program is huge and pretty much does it all. From photo retouching to design to editing video. This program is mainly bitmap and in my opinion a bit more intuitive than Illustrator or InDesign.

Originally created as a photo retouching tool Photoshop is ideal for creating web images, illustration and photo retouching. You can also use Photoshop to edit and create video, build a website, create design and even work in 3d. Although it does a good job with many of these things in some cases there are stronger programs for some of these functions. For anyone who needs to manipulate images or photos this program is a must. It is also great for artists and is one of the best illustration programs available on the market today.

Strengths – Excellent image editor. Excellent for digital painting and drawing, Extremely versatile and does just about anything you can think of.

Drawbacks – While it does a fine job with layout, design and text it is not the strongest program for these functions. Photoshop is primarily a bit map program. If you’re looking for vector you will do better learning Illustrator or even InDesign.


Illustrator is a great tool for design and like the name says Illustration. That being said it’s good to understand that working in a vector format is very different from what many illustrators are used to. If you are looking for something that creates beautiful graduated tone with an intuitive feel you may want to stick with Photoshop. Illustrator takes some finesse and clever work-arounds to achieve the same look as Photoshop.

Strengths – Illustrator is a very strong design tool and is excellent with type manipulation. Illustrator produces excellent bold clean lines and make editing those lines much easier than a program like Photoshop. I use Illustrator to create 90% of my logo art. For print designers, illustrators, logo designers and anyone else who wants to work in vector this program is a must.

Drawbacks – Vector is much different than bitmap. Some students express frustration with this program before taking my classes and fully understanding how Illustrator works.  Although it is an excellent layout tool InDesign is often a better choice for larger multi-page assignments. Unlike Photoshop, Illustrator is a poor choice for manipulating photos. Creating gradient tones in illustrator is much more challenging than a program like Photoshop.


InDesign – Layout, layout, layout. If you are a designer you should put this program at the top of your list. I highly recommend this program to anyone who works in the publishing industry including illustrator. If you work with text and images you need to become familiar with this industry standard. Like my old art school teachers used to say, there’s no excuse for not learning the tools of your trade.

Strengths – InDesign makes complicated design work incredibly simple. This program has less of a learning curve than Photoshop and Illustrator. The interface is very similar to illustrator and shares many of the same properties so if you are familiar with Illustrator this program will look very familiar.

Drawbacks  This is not an illustration program . Do not expect to use InDesign to create easily exported graphics or illustrations. While you can create vector images Illustrator would be a much better choice for that kind of thing. InDesign is mainly a vector based program so if you are unfamiliar with vector you may have a steeper learning curve.

Q: How can I learn more about upcoming classes?

A: My email newsletter subscribers receive first notice to all upcoming classes. If the classes don’t fill they are also posted on the website. The newsletter subscription is free and your email address and first name is all that is required to sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time. I do not sell or or use your email address in any other way than to let you know about upcoming classes and events.

Q: I Purchased an Item, How do I Find it?

A: When you purchase an item an automatic PDF download is triggered through your browser. The PDF contains a link that will allow you to access your product.

Q: What if the PDF Download Didn’t Work?

A: If for whatever reason your PDF download doesn’t work please contact me and I will send you the PDF in an email as an attachment.

Q: I Have the PDF But I don’t Know How to Join the Class.

A: The PDF has an interactive link that will bring you to the class presentation website, I use GotToMeeting by Citrix. When you arrive at the GoToMeeting page you will see a greeting page that looks like this

gotomeeting sample page imageAlong with that page you will see a smaller window that looks like this:

gotomeeting player window image

Click okay and enter the code found on your PDF download and you’re all set. The classroom will be open 15 minutes before each class starts. If you are having problems accessing the code please contact customer support at GoToMeeting – 888-646-0014. They have excellent support and should be able to help you. As much as I would love to help you at that time my email, phone and IM windows will all be turned so they won’t interrupt the presentation.

Q: Can I test my Link Before the Class Starts?

A: Yes but the class will not be active until 15 minutes before the start time.

Q: What if I purchased a Video of the Class?

A: If you purchased a video you will receive a download with a link and a password. Click on the link and simply enter the password to get the video play. You may watch as many times as you wish.