How I Became A Graphic Designer– My story & struggles Pt. 1

How I Became A Graphic Designer– My story & struggles Pt. 1

I could see myself laying on the floor next to the futon in that fetal position and looking at myself and thinking where will this road lead you? Okay, so I think we need to go back to the beginning where as far as your idea of wanting to be an artist where your creativity started from. When did, I guess what age realize that this the direction you wanted to go towards. I grew up in the 80s You know coming of age in the 80s and self-awareness In high school and I thought that like the word graphic design was not part of my vocabulary it was an artist and art is the only living proof I can see of an artist were people who worked at the fairgrounds they would draw your portrait, caricatures and I thought that was really awesome, like wow what talent so being a very practical person, in that kind of strict asian upbringing I still didn’t allow myself to do that Everybody around me could see it and they would say from my commercial art instructor this is junior year he said, you should think about a career in art I would just nod, like yeah sure you know junior year in high school? junior year in high school so this is pretty late okay this is very late now And I still didn’t want to do it and then my younger brothers wrestling coach knew I liked to draw people were tapping me to do stuff and I’m like yeah I’ll do it I’ll do a drawing for the high school newspaper and then I’ll just go back to studying again or playing games or whatever it is I was doing and he introduced me to a guy and he was a guy who owned his own company and he ran a silkscreening shop called screen designs so he hired me based on my lame portfolio he’s like okay kid, let’s do it so my first real design job was a tracer I was tracing his drawings he would do a pencil drawing and I would lay acetate over the top and take a rapidograph pen Koh-I-Noor sit there and ink my hands were shaking cause when you look at his examples he’s been doing this for decades he used to work at a tar, and he was just like whew and he was like there you do it and I’m like oh man how do you get the lines to not jiggle like that what the heck so I did my first piece and one thing leads to another now this is the break through moment here cause I was still thinking this require a lot of skill I don’t have yet and I’m not sure I like this lifestyle comes in, has a bunch of stoners working for him that’s what he was doing so he had me run an erand his name is Brad his name is Brad Shuboya stalky guy who played rugby like big handle bar moustache deep voice, “Chris I need you to do this for me” I’m like, Uh what is it? “Go to Deans place and pick up the typeset I didn’t know what that word meant Get in my car and drive out to his place to Dean’s house and Dean lived in you know, typical suburban tract home, not too far away from where the office was single story house I ring the doorbell like his lawn was kind of dead rang the doorbell] I come up to this guy in like a t-shirt and shorts He’s like oh, are you Brad’s guy? Yeah he’s like uh, I didn’t think you would get here so fast I’m not ready yet uh, come on in and so I go down the hallway and and the door to the office was to the right then, as I turned the corner I may have experienced something that you may have experienced before It almost feels like that moment in Pulp Fiction Where John Truvolta and Sam Jackson open that case and it glows I felt like that room was glowing Because in this room were drafting tables. Two of them, left and right uh and amazingly like uh like a well organized set of markers colored these Tombow markers what is this weird this is not a screen printing shop with ink and all that stuff everywhere. This wasn’t a guy with an air-compressor spray painting shirts This was like a professional designer They exist And that’s what one looks like Right! So I go away with this piece of paper bring it back to Brad and I was like oh my God there’s this other thing so the way I kind of retell the story is when I croseed the threshold between the hallway and his office I stepped from my world into the design world I literally crossed the threshold and I had felt and saw a reality I had never seen before at that moment in time if that cleared my mind that moment in time I was like this is it this is what I’m gonna do that’s good and I So I’m seventeen I think seventeen, that’s an early early like light coming type of thing that’s not early dude well I mean I think it is in a way since when I’m teaching at Cal State North I notice I mean hopefully nobody here, but I’m seeing the light still not coming on yet you know, so I am hoping that present company excluding none of you guys the ones that didn’t make it? yeah exactly, those guys i’ve been teaching for a long time

100 thoughts on “How I Became A Graphic Designer– My story & struggles Pt. 1

  1. This is the first video I am seeing from you and let me just say"wow". Definitely motivated me to do more to pursue my design career. Keep of the great work and I look forward to seeing more of your videos. I am 2 months away from graduation and I want to know what steps should I take in order to get my 'feet in the door'. I would really appreciate if you can lend me some advice or if anyone here in the comments section have any thoughts as well I would really appreciate it. Thanks.

  2. Wow, you are soooo my mentor. You totally had my eyes welling up with joyful tears. I love how you are so real and vulnerable. Thank you. I sort of know your story because I went through similar struggles. I am a fellow romantic, introvert and a 48 year old lesbian (I came out at 16 to my Mom – the first person I told). That process was a hugely life-altering event that drastically changed my life for the better but it was hard to face the fears of coming out. And with regard to career, that has also been a wild ride. I totally changed careers two years ago (I had a B.S. and a M.S. in marine biology), giving up another career to follow my dream to do web design and development. I had been doing it just as a hobby for about ten years so I knew the basics of (x)html, css, seo, accessibility, information architecture, etc., but had never really put my full energy into it. But I was getting older and realized it was now or never. So I went for it and it has been the best decision I've made and I'm so happy!

    It was scary to switch careers but I knew I needed to start spending my days working toward this goal and not just doing it as a hobby. I needed a job where I used these skills every day all day. I started at the bottom working in the help desk of an IT department just to get my foot in the door and in 4 months I was promoted to SharePoint Developer (a junior developer – which is what i'm doing now) and in the evenings and weekends I pretty much do nothing else but work on building up my fledgling business. I have just finished with my third client/project and things are going really well. I spend 5-6 hours every night studying, setting up and learning Quickbooks, learning WordPress, JavaScript, the design business, business (I love business), Gimp artistic techniques using layers and masks and all the other wonderful, amazing challenges that go into running a web design company.

    I LOVE both design and coding. If you've ever heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I'm an INTJ and am talented with using both sides of my brain so i'm fortunate to be able to do both creative and logical (design and coding) tasks well. I'm so appreciative of that! I know I will succeed but I also know that it's not possible without role models and mentors like you. Thank you so much for having faith in yourself and the courage to go for your dreams and then to share your joys and struggles with all of us. Life is all about the journey and I think part of us just loves navigating our path and being empowered to keep growing. Thank you SO MUCH! Much love, Holly

  3. This is by far the most relatable video ever. I can't thank you enough. I hope I get to meet you one day as a new person.

  4. I keep coming back to this video to remind myself of what I should be focusing on, it's extremely relatable, but it's easy to loose focus on tough days. THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN

  5. haha if there's anything from the old version of yourself that you retained, you seem to have kept a bit of your romanticism haha. Very interesting interview!

  6. physiology and sociology has found evidence of opposite of that social contract stuff. but in all honesty use whatever works for you. i feel like this dude is pretty legit for the most part. i have also seen in my experience in the industry that designers are not the most explicit or scientifically literate.

  7. Thanks for the informative vid! I have to agree with some of the posts below, that 17 is pretty early in my view, as I was about 24, and just moved to London before I decided to do a course in digital imaging, and learnt Photoshop etc. Before that I always used to like messing around in Paintshop (I think that was what it was called) and creating cards and stuff for people. Mainly just doing pretty stuff but never really considered graphic design as a job.
    After my course I spent many years going from marketing roles to web content management to reprographics, but always trying for more creative roles. I always had in the back of my mind a goal that I would be doing a proper design job eventually.

    I now freelance design and photography but I'm still learning and thought previously that I would have an 'aha' moment where I would know everythiing and be able to apply it and tell people the right way to do stuff, but I'm still learning from people like you and the futur (and Aaron draplin who is awesome!). Part of the fun of this sphere of work is that it's a lifelong learning process and there's always some technique or method that you haven't thought of before.
    Keep up the good work with the videos, the content is awesome and some of teh best one the web!

  8. I'm 27 years old from thailand. I would very like Graphic design but in my country this job is not make enough money.I don't know what can I do? (I have no enough money So I learned from youtube and reading a book)

  9. I have a big family, that want from me to be proud at me. What is if am scared to do a big decision like you have done. Should I .. JUST DO IT?

  10. Your opening always gets me the urge to listen to NPR's Radiolab. Love both, btw. Keep rocking!

  11. I've been married for 15 years i had a courthouse wedding, and no ring i still do not have one because a big wedding and diamonds i feel are materialistic. I tend to appreciate relationships a little more than others cause i know what it feels like to be alone as I was orphaned at 6. Things like jewelry which i do not own unless its costume for special occasions, i feel serve no value. Being dirt poor and parent-less I learned to live practically and not materialistically. Because i never had family, I was always the outcast very few friends if any. Art was and always has been my drug.Its all I've ever had, my pencil is my friend and family and there wasn't a -ha moment I've been drawing since I was 3 Its a way to get your emotions out without speaking. I learned at an early age no one cares about anyone and, people are only out for themselves, and beyond that you have to do it for you.

  12. Thank you for sharing your story!
    For me, I realized that graphic design is my passion in life when I was only 12 years old. I've gone through so many obstacles that made my journey as a graphic designer hard but I'm still holding on to my dream (Tuts+ published my story here if you want to check it ) …
    I'm gonna get my graphic design degree in 2 months and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed with the amount of decisions I have to make considering my career. I'm not sure if I should go freelance or look for an ad agency, if I should start building a brand and a business or start a facebook or Instagram page. The biggest question I have and which I would hope for you to do a video about is: How to know in which area to specialize in graphic design? I feel like I love so many things and can't decide if I want to illustrate, paint digitally, design icons, logos or T-shirts? .. Thanks.
    One of the art directors in the agency I'm doing an internship in recommended your channel to me and I'm really learning a lot from your videos. Keep them coming please 🙂

  13. I'm 17 too when I decided I wanted to be a designer. I'm 24 now and I yet have to start building a better portfolio. Your videos inspired me in so many ways and has encouraged me to pursue design more than ever.

  14. I'm in my 12th year as a graphic designer. I'll admit there's a huge emotional struggle with that job. At some point you reach a boiling point were you break down and can't stand it anymore. But if you can get past those things and stick with it, over time the hard work pays off. The thing I struggle with is that employers think good design should be instant, and they can't understand the time involved and the proper environment that is truly needed. If you don't have that then you're dealing with a toxic environment and it's almost always a bad work situation.

  15. I can't stop watching your videos. You're really aspiring me to start up my graphics company. I have always loved doing graphics/illustration since I left college a few years ago, but I never took it further because I didn't know the business side of being a successful graphic designer. I genuinely had no idea where to start. But since I have been watching your videos, I feel I am finally understanding on how I could possibly start my own company which I have always wanted. You have made me motivated again and I cannot thank you enough for that.

  16. Im 27 and have already been to College but Im going back in a couple of Months. I'll start by saying that when going i went to College the first time i knew what I wanted to become, A concept artist because It had caught my interest when I was a kid. But as soon as about 3rd semester my interests had changed. I never realized that you can do videos which in all honesty was really fun for me and it also caught my interests. But I continued to dabble in other things like game design, web design, guitar composition. The reason why I never graduated college was because honestly I blew off most of the classes and just decided to hang out with friends and hit on girls because I never had that experience in high school or in my hometown and it was the place where there were other people like me there. That was my biggest mistake. When I supposedly walked the stage, they neglected to tell me that I had failed a very important class which was portfolio design. The big one. So after the ceremonies, I was hoping for my diploma to arrive so that i could go venturing out looking for jobs. But sadly nothing. I went back to that same college and asked what was the hold up, they told me the reason i had stated. Failing a Class. So i eventually did go back but my parents insisted on getting me a job and that got in the way and again I failed the class. So I went full time with this job i had and it wasn't bad until they changed my hours to where i had to work nights to mornings not to long ago. It was the most stressful and tiring time shift i had ever suffered thru. My sleeping schedule got messed up and I wasn't able to sleep correctly. I asked for a regular time shift they granted me that but it was at that moment that I really understood the consequences of not excelling at College like i should've done before and ending up with a hard job like this one. I was gonna go back eventually but for sure this was not the path I should take. Lesson to be learned, never blow off your education. You will end up at the bottom of the barrel if you do. Prove everyone wrong.

  17. Wow thanks for opening up like this! I hit this point about 3 years ago and have been working my way to a better version of myself. Both mind, body, and career. It's pretty uplifting to hear about your light at the end of the tunnel. Keep making more videos like these!

  18. Wow, thanks for sharing. Seems like we all have a version of falling down and somehow getting back up and persevering. It's all about the process. The journey. The challenge!

  19. Determination.

    It all come do to determination.

    You don't have to "kill your old self", be determined and focused on being an adult.
    partying video games even movies and tv shows (GOT?).
    those are luxury not necessities.

    Just decide your going to do it and do it.

  20. Do you think you guys can do a video about self motivation as a freelancing graphic designer.

  21. All he said is happening to me right now, or atleast similar. Im experiencing what he had experience…and watching this is really helpful. Glad I searched up videos about Graphic Design and landed into this vid.

  22. Nice story. I love to hear the stories about senior designer. It's a inspiration for us. This is my portfolio

  23. I'm 20, I'm still in college and just got my first Design Job in a company here in Brazil, And man, you have no idea of how you gave me strengh to get there, everytime it looks like I'm not gonna make it, I watch Futur and get inspired to be mt best self.

  24. I respect the dudes here but the SoCal syntax, diction, and mannerisms oozing out of them makes me unable to finish the video.
    My ears and stomach just can't handle it.
    Still, great guy.

  25. Glad you killed the Vader in you. It is a good lesson to learn at any stage of one's life. Thanks for the story. Really dig your design style.

  26. I am 32. I just finished Googling…is the Graphic Design market oversaturated…??? Especially because I am This video was very inspiring. I think I'll be about 34 or 35 by the time I have my degree. Good luck everyone!

  27. I turned 22 in July and after two years of anxiety, confusion, and depression I decided to finally pursue Design. I know one thing and that is if you are business minded and determined to make a life for yourself – a life many fear to pursue success is possible. Does my dad take me seriously? No. He believes I am a hippie. He wants me to become a doctor. Why? For security? For happiness? For respect. Fuck all of that. No one is truly secure. In this economy, I have witnessed first hand how people from all walks of life struggle. Guys, I waited TWO years to pursue what I knew I wanted. I wasted time. Most of us have. If you're 26, 36, even 46 don't feel discouraged. Go. Life is too damn short. Be creative, as you grow as a designer, learn the business, learn investment — if you want it bad enough you can be successful. I don't care that my parents have no faith in me, I do. I don't mind struggling for the next couple of years and working my ass off to create my own business and be liberated from having to depend on another company to pay me. Stop trying to please the people in your life and have some gut. Creative minds are valuable, your mind is valuable. This world would be NOTHING without creativity.

  28. While making some design I make too many spelling mistakes .. don't know why how to correct my mistake.. because of this I get shouting every day….. Please any suggestions… I have Grammy but in a hurry I will forget to spell check…

  29. the last bit about everyone giving up on you is what im going through and it feels amazing to see such a successful version of the same story im 19 in university going through the state of everyone giving up on me and i have made my design to prove everyone wrong

  30. You have no idea how much i can relate to what you said about your struggles. It was like seeing myself going through what i'm doing right now and making those big decisions in my life that I know will prove everyone wrong about what they think about me. It's so close to what i'm going through that it's a bit scary but at the same time it's so relieving to see this is a process that other successful people went through. I am simply amazed!

  31. I wanted to see this version of Chris do, the story of his life really touched me. thank you sir for sharing something this personal with us.

  32. woah, im in the same situation now but im not going to college im going to learn from the futur @thefutur , and got the same thing from my mom now im determined! thanks chris for your testimony

  33. Thanks for this. I think I'm probably a bit of a hopeless dreamer in the sense that I'm always thinking of the future but never "what do I need to do now?", thinking that maybe it'll work out. I'm 28 and I've realised that if I keep on going like this, nothing will ever happen. I've quit my job now and trying to give myself an education – partly via these videos and partly by talking to others.

    I've made a decision not to go to art school because it's not going to give me direction, and I can't really afford another degree/diploma.

    I can't let life be something that happens to me anymore.

  34. Nice video. And very helpful. I'm all-time with you. -Thanks The Futur
    However, I'm a graphics Designer.I'm able to do Logo, Business Card and Stationary, Banner, Web Template, Brochure, Flyer,Vector Trace, Vector Art, Children Book , Illustration, Photo Retouch, Background Remove, Clipping Path,etc all the Photoshop and Illustrator work. If anyone needs work such as then please contact me for nice work.

  35. I was looking for ux stuff. For some reason this pops up after a few of the ux explanations.

    And this actually reminds me of myself – 22/24

    I never really recovered from the disappointment over my family…. How many times I ever tried to work it out. It ends up being a huge bunch of anger inside my heart <- just for covering the pain I was not ready to face.

    I kinda let it go (giving up my family – emotionally)

    Maybe this year… I'll start processing it again… If it doesn't work a thousand times… Maybe 1001.

    Thank you for sharing

  36. I am upset you don't know your Star Wars films. That was Empire Strikes Back, Chris. Seriously though, thanks again for another eye-opening personal growth video.

  37. So moving! Chris Do, you are quickly becoming my hero as you're giving me hope for my futur. Thank you for sharing.

  38. It's deep. Thanks for sharing. I know it's not easy. Many go through something similar but very few come out of it the way you did and have the courage to end that state of being and transform into a new one.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  39. It's great to see this very personal take on your development as a creative, some things I can definitely relate to. It also makes you more human to be ope about your vulnerable moments. Watching it for the second time to really absorb this well.

  40. For me was the moment I saw a Pc 486 running DOOM… I thought, that it, this is what I want to do ! graphics that can make tons of $

  41. thank you so much for sharing this video, sir! your work has been a BIG source of inspiration for me. I've been (and probably still am) in a place similar to where you used to be….I'm 17. But my depression sort of led me to discover my interest in art and once I got introduced to design one and a half years ago, I've sorta improved but…graphic design scares me! (oh and I'm from India soooo design is considered an 'alternative' career choice and I'm already labelled as an outsider 🙂 )
    So, coming to the main point, your videos on Youtube helped sort out a LOT of anxiety I previously faced with graphic design (specially with Typography) They're so concise, well narrated , informative and humorous!
    I've got my college entrance exams in Jan 2019
    you're a huge source of inspiration to beginners like me ! I'm so glad I got to watch this video and known your story.
    I WILL be a better version of myself! xD

  42. I'm late in seeing this video but when I was 18 I went through a very similar experience. Everything in my life seemed to be falling apart, my parents were constantly on my back, my friends were drifting away, I'd just divorced myself from a manipulative friendship and my relationship was ending. As college ended I killed the old me and by the time I started University. I gave myself the same ultimatum. I'm 21 now, I still haven't quite reached the point where I am ready to start capitalising on my skills but that's simply a consequence of my desire to be good at everything. There's only so many hours in a day so I've come to accept that my path will always be slower. I've had doubts recently so this video has come along at a perfect time.

  43. So cool and inspiring to hear your story, love the channel! Thank you for all that you do, are, create, and share!!! 🎨🕉️🙏

  44. Wow. I never heard your story, Chris Do. I went to San Diego City College Design Program, too. Candice Lopez rocks. I didn't find my true passion until I hit 40. When I found design, I was hit with a lightning bolt. Up until that time, it was as if I was sleepwalking through life. I woke up and felt really alive–my creative self had been buried inside. I loved design. At first, it wasn't easy. Still, it consumed me. I worked hard. I didn't know Adobe Creative Suite, so I enrolled in another program at Mira Costa Community College to take full semesters to learn the CS software inside and out, to become adept at Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, CSS, HTML, while I was also going to the City College Design program full time. I was also taking Fine Art classes. I immersed myself in it, 12 hours a day with classes and design work. I was so lucky to have been lead to City College. Candice is the best. I was an older student and already had a Marketing Degree so I couldn't get to Art Center. But I learned so much from City College, the instructors, and the Portfolio Program. It is the best community college program in California! Candice Lopez is the most outstanding educator and designer. She always went above and beyond to help her students! You got to go to Candice's studio and Rafael critiqued your work? That's the coolest! Thank you for sharing your story. You inspire me and others so much!

  45. I really love your story. Thank you for sharing it. I’ve always been doing art- digital and traditional and just recently I realized I no longer want to teach and decided to follow my passion to do art, and graphic design/illustration- and to actually make money through my art! Thank you!

  46. My parents asked me my field of choice when I got out of high school. I’ve always loved design & anything that let me create. Told my dad I wanted to be a graphic designer.
    He told me it was a waste of time & that I needed to continue his business. It really discouraged me.
    Now I’m 23 with a 1 year old and I wish I would’ve gone to school sooner but oh well. I enrolled last week & am starting in fall. GO ME!

  47. When you've come back home after a big night of MDMA and wasting time by improving your knowledge for your freelancing graphic designing career with a cup of tea and you're just DISTRACTED BY ALL OF THEM COLOURSSSSS and when he said 'listen' I was literally just laughing pleased and my ears amused… fck this sh!t I'm out (sleeepsss) lol

  48. 'That night I killed the old version of me'
    Literally what I tell people about my suicide attempt night…

  49. I'm 17 too, and I really want to be a graphic designer…I am really a poor girl, my parents don't support me with love or money…All my school holiday, I worked to get a laptop and a graphic tablet, because I want to become a graphic designer! I am very glad that I find you Chris, because you really inspire me! Send you a lot of love 💕❣💌

  50. THANK YOU Chris Do, Like the other guy said I killed the old version of me. I've been a stuck artist designer for decades. I woke up to an explosion and flipped the inner chatter. I'm celebrating the 15 answers I know in the thousand interdisciplinary categories. From the bottom of my heart, thank, you "You Real-Deal Guru-Dude". If you make it to my area in Fullerton come see me. I'll be sprouting my wings as the Glass Butcher…

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