Introducing Monica, an illustrator / graphic designer and former TAFE Design Student. Read her day in the life to find out what it’s like to attend TAFE. Let us know whose day in the life you want to know about, and ASK ENID.

Hey gal this is me… Hey name is Mon, I’m a Illustrator/Graphic Designer. I graduated from The Enmore Design Centre (TAFE) in 2015 after 3 years of study including a Cert IV in Design (fundamentals) and Adv Dip in Graphic Design/ Illustration.

My TAFE course in a nutshell… Overall my TAFE experience was pretty fantastic. Cert IV Design Fundamentals was basically a super intense crash course on most aspects of practical design. This included; fashion, make-up, special fx, graphic design, life drawing, illustration, web, prop making, theatre design, film, editing, lighting etc – all crammed into one year. My second and third year was solely Graphic Design and Illustration, which was also full-on in terms of workload and pressure. We tackled, typography, layout, puppetry (yes you read that right) illustration techniques, editorial illustration, web design, basic animation, life drawing, computer/ software knowledge, and concept art.

Why I applied… Creative thinking and drawing has been my absolute passion since forever. I wasn’t sure exactly what path I wanted to take into the design world, which is why the Cert IV was so helpful. That funneled me into the Illustration Adv Dip, which although I feel didn’t quite prepare me for the real world, still equipped me with a lot of necessary skills for my future and steered me in the right direction.

How I applied…  I wandered around on open day at the Design Centre and chatted with a lot of the teachers. There was a lot of work on display which made it really clear what the students got up to throughout the course. It was very easy to sign up to register my interest and from there the process was all online.

Day in the Life TAFE design student

Some of Monica’s incredible illustrations

Specific skills you may use and that are valuable…  Motivation, motivation, motivation. If you don’t have that you will fail hard. You need to be able to self manage your deadlines and juggle lots of different coursework. This is the only course that I know of that offers this mix of illustration and graphic design so you need to be able to keep a level head, because there’s no where else to go. You also need to have a seriously open mind, as you will definitely tackle tasks that are way out of your comfort zone (like puppetry…what the hell), but you have to make sure you complete everything to the best of your ability.

Do this course if you like… If you like working in a team, and being surrounded by likeminded individuals then this is for you. One of the huge benefits of this course was the fact that you get to bounce ideas off other students and teachers and everyone is just so darn creative. I definitely miss this now that I am working by myself. If you have great work ethic and you love to push your limits and look for challenging ways to improve yourself then this is also for you.

Don’t do this course if you don’t like…  If you’re not okay with hard work then don’t bother, straight out. We saw so many people drop out halfway, purely because they couldn’t keep up or didn’t think it was going to be that much work. A common misconception is that design is easy, spoiler alert, it’s not at all and it’s highly competitive. You still have to follow briefs, you still have to achieve deadlines and you still have to do projects you don’t want to. In the end though it’s so rewarding.

Where do you think this course will take you…  Since graduating I’ve been freelancing for a bunch of different clients which has been fun, however everyone knows that freelancing is the most inconsistent form of income which is unfortunate. So I recently snagged a job for a company, in which I will be creative problem solving and character developing. It’ll be super fun.

Any tips/advice for those thinking about this course…. You really need to have a passion for being creative to do these courses. I would definitely recommend doing the Cert IV first before settling on an Adv Dip though. It really opens your mind to the amount of opportunities there are in the design world. I know Enmore has a lot of courses so its best to choose something that you know you’re going to stick out till the end. A lot of courses aren’t government funded any more which is a huge pressure (especially on your wallet), so choose carefully and work hard! You can do it!