I am a developer of roughly 10 years doing html/css/javascript/php/mysql. My development skills are pretty fine tuned, and I've accomplished a variety of projects. Recently, though, I've discovered that I'm seriously lacking in my design skills. When it comes to layout, and typography, I can swim; but when it gets to the knitty gritty of hand-creating graphics or 'penciled-out' ideas, I run into issues.

I guess my question is, are there any books or sources available that will teach me to leverage photoshop and or illustrator specifically for my web design needs? How about creating some awesome looking graphics from scratch? Any resources/advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Photoshop and Illustrator are just tools to be learned, like any other software. Better to find out if you actually have the artistic talent required to imagine awesome looking graphics in the first place.

My top tip would be to take drawing classes, find a local school and learn the basics with paper and pencil.

Once you've enabled the parts of your brain that can convert ideas into drawings, then you can learn to use the computer drawing tools more effectively.

Once you've mastered the skill of drawing and using computerised drawing tools, then you'll be up against the artist's nemesis - lack of inspiration.

So the other thing you should do, right now, is start collecting inspirational ideas - in scrap books, with photographs, and real life objects. Examine design in the things around you, note down the awesomeness and store it away for when you run dry.

You might also try breaking down the design of objects in web pages you admire - what elements have been used to create the effect, what colors work best etc. All art is just applied imitation, part of the skill is to make it look sufficiently unique to appear fresh and creative.

As for resources? I'd suggest this as a good place to start to learn about visual design: http://www.bamagazine.com/

Answered over 8 years ago by Tony Crockford