I enjoy all sorts of literature. Literature entertains us, inspires us, and challenges us to reach higher and gain more knowledge. Joseph Addison, an English essayist, poet, and playwriter, said, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”, and I strongly agree. Every genre of literature has its own ways of delivering joy to the soul. For instance, the beautiful plots of fairy tales always stir my imagination and their colorful phrases make me want to create my own storybook. Some may think classics are typical books assigned at school for English lessons, but I believe such works have been loved by readers for years, centuries even, because they have proven impactful for generation after generation. Further, science fiction novels often trigger my “what if” instincts, and inspirational books make me want to become a better person.
To satisfy my reading addiction, I’ve been exposing myself to a broader diversity of literature this year, starting with personal development books, biographies, and, of course, comics. I’ve come to realize that a strong title and a good plot are not the only ingredients needed to make a book; various design elements, such as the cover and drawings and illustrations of characters or scenes, are essential to attract readers. Sometimes, pictures convey interpretations of messages, which help readers who may not have clearly understood the context. Sometimes eye-catching fonts and colors are used on the cover to express the mood of the story contained in the book.
|[Screenshot of my Photoshop practice. Photo courtesy of Youju Lee]|
As a young student who has always pursued the dream of publishing a book under my name as soon as possible, I decided to take a step further toward my dream by enrolling in a graphic design course. This brought a question to mind, ‘Which tools or programs are most commonly used by professional editors?’ It was easy to find the answer on the internet, where I found out that Photoshop and Illustrator are the two most basic yet commonly used graphic tools all over the world. Knowing that, I was ready to face the challenge.
|[Practicing Photoshop with real photos. Photo courtesy of Youju Lee]|
The very first Photoshop lesson can be confusing if you are starting from scratch. However, after only a few sessions, you can easily create and edit images. Making cut-outs of your own face and replacing them with goofy cartoon characters or making funny changes to your face proportions using various tools are good ways to explore the ‘fun’ side of Photoshop. Furthermore, transforming my dog into a bear-sized giant required me to learn and practice the ‘magnetic lasso’ and ‘transform’ functions which enable the user to select parts of an image as the cursor semi-automatically follows the edges of an area on image. Also, I am now able to blur out random people or unnecessary objects in the background of photos of beautiful sceneries using the ‘blur tool’ or ‘healing brush tool’.
|[Practicing Photoshop on my laptop. Photo courtesy of Youju Lee]|
I was able to get deeper insight into graphic design by interviewing my graphic design teacher, Sangji Choi, who graduated from Rhode Island School of Design (majored in visual design). I was surprised to find out that there are many more graphic design tools in the world. She told me, “Studying video editing and 3D design tools will be very useful for you in the design industry, as stories and products are presented not only in book format, and a video presentation is the next big thing”. She also said, “However, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign are the basic yet essential tools that must be mastered before moving on to other advanced techniques”.
Studying graphic design programs all started from my interest in reading books, and maybe it will be a difficult challenge at my young age, but I am ready to conquer it. Beautiful artworks and valuable moments will be rewarded throughout my school career and even in the future when I start my real career, because I am confident that graphic design tools can be applied in all industries. There are no limitations to these essential, important, and valuable skills.
The Learning Community International School
Youju Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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