Graphic Greats: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at webreference.com | 38 | WebReference

Graphic Greats: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at webreference.com | 38

Lynda Weinman on Lynda

   

“Learning to teach yourself is one of the most highly prized skills a computer designer can have. ”

Wendy: What is your background?

Lynda: My background is probably atypical, but I'm not sure there is a "typical" background for this type of work. I graduated from college in 1976 — two years before Jobs and Wozniak released the world's first personal computer. After graduating from Evergreen State College with a B.A.and an ambitions in museum management, I went into retail (I owned two stores by the time I was 25), and later changed careers dramatically and went into animation and special effects.

I didn't touch a computer until 1982 (at age 27), and bought one of the first Macs in 1984. I am self taught, but I love computers and I love design. Most people are shocked to hear that I'm self taught, and some critics even ding me for it. The truth is that most computer experts are self taught, because this field is so young there hasn't been formal training until recently. I always tell my students that even though I am teaching them a certain version of a software tool, a year from now it will change and they'll have to learn another. Learning to teach yourself is one of the most highly prized skills a computer designer can have.

   

 

 

Wendy: Do you think any specific background is especially good for Web design?

Lynda: Of all the possible backgrounds, I think the easiest to come from is multimedia, because it involves creating interactive content, working with 8-bit file formats, and awareness of platform differences. Nothing is exactly like Web development, but multimedia development is the closest.

   

 

“I think it's great to know a lot of things, but best to hone your strongest skills and interests. It's impossible to do it all well.”

 

Wendy: Can any one person learn all this stuff?

Lynda: I've never met anyone who knows everything, but some people know a lot more than others. I always encourage people to specialize in what they love, because its a lot easier to be good at what you like doing. I meet a lot of artists who think they *should* learn programming and programmers who think they *should* be artists. I think it's great to know a lot of things, but best to hone your strongest skills and interests. It's impossible to do it all well. If you really love learning new things, become a teacher or a writer! That's the best way to stay current on everything ;-).

 

 

“I hate being elevated to guru/ goddess/ omnipotent status. I'm really just a student of this stuff myself, who loves to pass on what I learn to others.”

Wendy: What is your teaching philosophy?

Lynda: I always put myself in the shoes of the person who doesn't know. Every book I write, video I produce or curriculum I develop takes this into account. I remember what it felt like not to know, and I remember the stages of my learning process. I try my best to recreate that process for my students, walking them through a subject using small information chunks that build progressively.

I have an innate respect for people, and I don't judge those who "don't know." I figure people wouldn't buy a book, video or class if they already knew the subject matter. It's not wrong to not know, it's only an opportunity to learn.

I seem to have a talent for asking and answering the right questions in my work, and that's because I pay close attention to my own learning process. I love explaining things and helping people, and the best payoff of all is to teach someone who goes off and does great work as a result. I try to humanize technology — my books and videos are personal and humorous but not to the point where its in the way of learning.

People often comment that they like it when I make mistakes in my videos and leave them in because it makes them realize that I'm human too. Hey, we're all human! I hate being elevated to guru/goddess/omnipotent status. I'm really just a student of this stuff myself, who loves to pass on what I learn to others. I'm passionate about the Web, and I really love my work. I think that shines through and people feel it when they encounter my training materials.

 

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URL: http://www.webreference.com/graphics/
Created: Mar.22, 2000
Revised: Mar.23, 2000