Never Stop Learning
What’s up everybody my name is Sebastian Bleak! I am an Adobe Community Professional and I create training videos for companies like Lynda.com, PluralSight, Astute Graphics and more, focusing on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I’ve only been doing this for a couple years and I’ve been really lucky to work with companies that I’m a fan of and have a lot of respect for, in such a short time.
Prior to this I was working as a production manager at the best custom T-shirt shop in Los Angeles. Now that might sound like a cool title but when I first started out there, I didn’t know much about Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but I thought I knew it all (LOL). Back in those days, I figured since I had the latest version of Photoshop, that meant I was producing the best product, right? Boy was I wrong!
One day I was working with a client at the t-shirt shop and they made a request on modifying some artwork. I tried to explain to them that “Illustrator doesn’t work that way.” So they asked if they could give it a try. I said “yes,” knowing they would fail. BUT they made the change that I thought was impossible.
I can’t begin to describe how embarrassed I was at that moment but today I’m extremely grateful. That experience told me that I had a lot of learning to do and it was the catalyst for this educational journey that I’m currently on.
The next day I decided I was going to learn everything there is to know about Illustrator and Photoshop, and I made sure everybody knew it. I even started wearing Adobe themed t-shirts and everything! My friend Gary Lockwood was the first one to introduce me to training videos. He challenged me to start a weekly blog where I would choose a new tool on Sunday, study that tool throughout the entire week, and then post a tutorial based on my findings at the end of the week.
He named my blog Never Stop Learning. I am now on week 325 of this project (when this was written) and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Each week I’m posting a new video to my YouTube channel on what I’ve learned thought the week. I have a whole new respect for the software, and I’m proud of the fact that I study the tools of my trade the way maybe a carpenter or a blacksmith might have done generations ago by doing and asking questions.
I didn’t have a long-term goal other than to continue studying the software and to share the information with the design community. I started getting involved with every Adobe User Group meeting in Los Angeles, and they taught me how to use social media to expand my reach and it worked!
One day I received a private message on Twitter from Astute Graphics, all the way out in the UK. That private message got me my first gig as a Video Training Author, got me out of the T-shirt shop and changed my professional course forever. That was the first time I was being acknowledged by a big name company that I had a crazy amount of respect for. This was a sign that I could actually make a career out of something I was doing on this side, just for me, but was extremely passionate about. It was time to set new goals and dream bigger than ever before!
What’s crazy is that I never thought I’d be in this position. A couple years back, I barely knew anything about the software. Now I’m being referred to as an “Expert” in my field, but I see myself more as an enthusiastic student, happy to share his notes with the rest of the class. The thing that got me here was consistency by sticking with my weekly projects and studies. The more I learn, the more I’m able to do. The more I’m able to do, the more I’m looked at as an expert. What’s the take-away from all this? It’s to Never Stop Learning and share your journey with others!
Sebastian Bleak is a video trainer, software presenter, and instructor.
In his work as a trainer, Sebastian specializes in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and boasts a strong background in t-shirt production. Professionally, he’s motivated by seeing a student’s “aha!” moment when they understand how a piece of software works, as well as by the investigation of how tools work together, and creating a specific style of design or combining methods to achieve a different look.