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A little advice please.

Since very young I've always had an interest in art and design, however always thought to be a designer you had to be able to draw. Apon discovery that you although it helps to be able to sketch you dont necesserally NEED to be able to sketch I would love to learn. If not only for my own enjoyment. I was hoping to learn from home seeing as (with a lot of sifting through the wheat to find the chaff) the internet is a wealth of knowlege and current curmumstances mean I could not attend a college or university.

I was wondering if first people could tell me what programs/software designers tend to use and secondly any tips on where I find the relevant information or educational resorce I would need for this adventure of learning.

Thanks in advance for any replies,
Hi Sam,

I've been working on a freelance basis at a design studio for the last 9 months with no previous experience or qualifications. I've been lucky enough to been offered the use of the spare computer in the office that has the coplete package of Adobe CS5.

I started by learning Illustrator it gives you a good understanding of drawing in vector which is very useful for large format printing. I then went on to Photoshop from which I've learnt some amazing effects. I've mostly taught myself with youtube videos and online tutorials for what I needed in my artwork.

A few months ago I started learning Dreamweaver and managed to put my portfolio together of what I've learnt over the last nine months. www.whitehawkdesign.co.uk

I'd definetly recommend adobe programs but they can be expensive if you just want to do it as a hobby. What exactly do you want from it? Do you want to get a career from it or just do it in your spare time?
Well a career would be lovely but for now I would just love to throw ideas down, learn and be creative.
I do have the access to the more expensive programs. Just need to know which ones to get. Thanks for your reply.