Sometimes learning a new software program can be overwhelming. But “Work-around” tutorials that people post online provide step by step instructions on how to achieve just one of the many functions of the software and can make it a whole lot less overwhelming. We’ve all been there right? Banksy comes out with a series of politically charged street art stencils that are just the definition of anti-establishment cool and you figure, how hard could these be to emulate? But Microsoft paint is too basic, and surely buying photoshop is just funnelling money to the man? Then you find some awesome tutorial that introduces you to the free paint.net and tells you all the buttons you need to press to go from google image search to hacky Banksy rip off. Of course, it would be better to learn the software properly from the ground up before doing anything, but at least this gets you to learn a few buttons and actually download the thing. So when you move on to a short lived photography-geek phase at least you already have the software and know a few basic controls.
How to Laser Cut – Where do you start?
For lasercutting, this tutorial was my gateway. It steps you through how to go from a drawing on paper to an outline that the laser cutter can read. Don’t have a laser cutter? You probably don’t have a laser cutter. Ponoko can provide instant quotes and get it laser cut from plastic, wood, cardboard or even leather (they’re not paying me, I just think they are awesome). I didn’t already know how to draw in Adobe Illustrator or it’s terrific, open source clone Inkscape and this tutorial let me make use of my Year 3 drawing skills, Year 6 tracing skills or Year 8 Google image search skills to make something. I later learned to draw in Inkscape but combining learning to draw with all the other unfamiliarities (like getting comfortable with sending away designs to be made without actually talking to a human) may have been enough to push it to purgatory at the bottom of the to-do list. Instead, I have designed and made shoe racks, clocks, picnic baskets and jewellery hangers inspired by the big 5. Happy laser cutting!