Where is the easy button?

January 3, 2007

We all want to get excellent results with minimal effort. We all know that clients seem to think that all we do is push a button and their artwork magically appears. I hope you know this isn’t true. Yet I often get asked questions about software that doesn’t exist. You know, the software that does your job for you.

Recently, a well known cartoonist, K.N. Pepper, posted his annual Christmas comic. K.N. definitely has the artistic talent to draw anything he can imagine. He also has a very good grasp of how to use the tools in the CorelDRAW suite. So I was a bit surprised to hear that this three strip comic took 30 hours to produce. The point is that even when a talented artist has full command of their software tools, it can take a long time to create a finished piece.

I’m certainly the first one to preach that you should buy a software package if it can shave time off of the task at hand. I’m also in the training business and do my best to show people how to be a lot more productive. Unfortunately some things take time and talent as K.N.’s comic shows.

One suggestion I often make to students is to spend one hour each Friday afternoon “playing” with CorelDRAW. You might not create anything useful, but you will no doubt learn something. Maybe it is a new shortcut or even a new tool. The key is that you will get that hour back the next week in time saved by using what you learned. Put that hour on your calendar as a meeting so that you don’t make excuses and skip it.

I’m also under the impression that users of CorelDRAW are less likely to explore training options than users of Adobe software. I was talking with someone the other day who has a Web site that was all tutorials covering CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT. Out of the blue he posted a tutorial on Adobe Photoshop. Just one tutorial. It got four times as much traffic as any other tutorial he had ever posted. What surprised me is that there are thousands upon thousands of tutorials on Photoshop and yet that many people still found his site which had no previous content on Photoshop.

There are definitely a fair number of sites who have training materials on Corel’s graphics products. Yes, Graphics Unleashed is one of the most complete resources. I think it is the best. Regardless, take advantage of the resources that are available. Let the people who created the content know how much you appreciate it. Yes, that can include paying them. If you reward those who create quality content, it will encourage them to create even more.

To answer my original question, there is no easy button. Just like any other trade, you have to learn your craft. This allows you to create higher quality products in less time than the lazy guy down the street who is just trying to push an easy button.

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