Sue Jenkins interview

September 21, 2009, Author: Martin Vlčko, Categories: General news

We have decided to make a serial of few interviews with world top graphic designers and tell their life stories and experiences.
Here is the first one!

Place of birth: California
Work: Professional web/graphic designer and illustrator;
Write instructional books;
Create easy-to-follow Adobe Software Training DVDs on Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop Elements through Class On Demand;
Teach software design classes in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver;
Study: Fine Art in Photography
Interests/Hobbies: Cooking (especially baking), walking, going to museums, traveling, and watching movies

1 ) Do you always want to become an artist or it’s a just coincidence?

I think I was born an artist. My mother says I drew beautiful pictures on my bedroom wall when I was 2 years old and took a creative approach to everything I did growing up. As a child, I was an avid drawer and painter, did weaving, and worked with clay. I got my first film camera at age 12 and took photography classes all through Junior High, High School, and college. Since then, I’ve continued working in photography, took up oil painting and illustration, and formed a successful career in graphic and web design.

2 ) Where do you gain an inspiration for your masterpiece?

suej2Inspiration often comes in the form of a feeling or a conceptual idea, or the intuition that there is some kind of problem that needs solving or some part of life that warrants examination. With photography, I will often take an idea (however vague or developed) and then go out and find it. For instance, the inspiration behind some of my photographs is simply “evoking childhood memories.” With that idea in mind, I just live my life with my camera and photograph the things I encounter that are consistent with that idea. It’s not really that difficult; the things to photograph are everywhere if you pay attention. With painting and design, I often let an idea inspire me and follow it where ever it leads to create the final product.

3 ) How long have you been working with graphics?

For the past 13 years I’ve been working with graphics and illustration professionally as a web and graphic designer through my own company,, and I’ve been doing fine art photography for nearly 20 years. In addition, from 2000 to 2004, I ran my own greeting card company where I created my own line of cards with over 110 different illustrations. I’ve also been a design software instructor at Noble Desktop in New York City for about 5 years, teaching classes in Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Illustrator. More recently, I’ve written 5 instructional books for Wiley and McGraw-Hill and appear as the instructor in 4 Adobe Software Training DVDs from ClassOnDemand, two of which have won prestigious industry awards:


• Web Design All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies
• How To Do Everything Illustrator CS4
• Dreamweaver CS4 All-in-One For Dummies
• Web Design: The L-Line, The Express Line to Learning

• Dreamweaver 8 All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies


• Fundamentals of Photoshop Elements – Training DVD
• Dreamweaver For Designers – Training DVD (Telly Award Winner)
• Designer’s Guide to Photoshop – Training DVD
• Designer’s Guide to Illustrator – Training DVD (Communicator Award Winner)

4 ) What tools do you often use to create something significant?

For graphics, I primarily use Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver, though for my illustrations I prefer to draw in ink first, then scan the line art into my computer and enhance it in Photoshop. For photography, I use a variety of film and digital cameras including a Nikon FE, a Nikon D40, a Holga 120, and a low-res VTech digital camera. For my film cameras, I prefer using Kodak Tri-X film and developing in Dektol or PMK Pyro.

pony5 ) Do you exploit possibility of your photos (taken by you) and drawing? Or you can afford to pay and download official photos?

As much as possible, I have tried to use all of my own graphics, illustrations, and photographs in my books, DVDs, and training sessions. Most of my web and graphic design clients, however, require very specific imagery. Therefore, whatever I can not create myself must be found elsewhere on sites like Pixmac. Thankfully it is usually easy to locate, pay for, and download the photos and graphics we need.

6 ) How many photos, for example per month, do you buy?

The number of photos I download each month is tied directly to the projects I am working on. If I’m doing mostly logo design, business collateral, and website maintenance, the call for purchasing photos online is low. However, when I am working on new web sites and web site redesigns, I might download anywhere from 2 to 20 images in a month.

7 ) Have you noticed the world crisis in your business?

I wouldn’t say there is a world crisis in the graphic/web design business, but I would say that clients have been more frugal with their spending. Summers are typically slower than the rest of the year, and this year has been a little leaner than in the past. That said, with autumn approaching and year-end budgets that need to be spent, I’ve seen a gradual increase in customers over the past month which I think will continue through the end of the year and well into 2010.

8 ) What are your plans to the future?

The future looks bright! As I continue working as a professional web and graphic designer, I will be writing another For Dummies book this winter and possibly a new title on Photoshop. I am also in graduate school right now pursuing a Masters of Fine Art in Photography. After graduation I will continue with web and graphic design and hopefully also begin teaching art and design at the university level. My ultimate dream is to continue doing design while I teach and show my photographs at galleries and museums across the country.

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  1. Well done!

    Vitezslav Valka, September 21, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  2. Your bio is so impressive. Your family must be very proud of all of your accomplishments. I can’t wait to see what you are up to next.

    Marilyn May, October 1, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

  3. Yes, Marilyn. My family is very proud. I especially love it when they tell me in candid and unusual ways. XXOO

    Sue Jenkins, October 24, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

  4. Its really nice, i dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. I mean, her, awesome thoughts

    Werner Callendar, February 10, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

  5. Love reading biographies and your article is so cool.

    Luisa, April 18, 2010 @ 6:16 am

  6. Thanks for sharing your biography. Its one of my hobbies reading biographies. Its very interesting and captivating to read. Looking forward to another biography you will post. Going to bookmarked this site. Thank you once again.

    jkcrewgolf, July 23, 2010 @ 4:09 am

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