I have been teaching myself website and graphic design through the running of various fansites since 2005. Despite the interest I have in the subject, I actually studied Health Studies at college and have spent most of my working life in various retail environments.
I began teaching myself to create websites and graphics during a period of unemployment and began with using pre-made templates provided by the hosting company I was using at the time but I quickly found this limiting as the designs never quite suited the theme of the site. I realised I would have to learn to design my own templates, starting with FrontPage and then later Dreamweaver. It was only natural that I had to learn some skills in Photoshop alongside this to be able to create the graphics that would form part of the website designs.
As a designer, I learn to trust my instincts about a design and if I don’t think it looks good then I will go back and try out different ideas and techniques until I can create something I am happy with. As a webmaster, I use my own experience of websites to help me create a site that is easy to use. This method seems to have worked well for me in the past.
Despite starting out as a self-taught designer, I have since completed an introductory course to HTML, and an Open University course in Design and The Web which has helped reinforce the things I have learnt.
Currently I use Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver CS6 but have used several other applications in my time.