4 Birds, 1 Stone

Getting Adobe Certified has been on my career wishlist since I was 15. It had only just recently become more of a priority for myself. Without telling anyone I started to study, train, and test for the Photoshop Exam since it is the one program I use almost every day.

Anyone who uses Photoshop or any of the other Adobe programs knows that there is usually more than one way to do something. For example: In Photoshop, Deleting can be done with the delete key, the backspace key, using one of the eraser tools, or even selecting Edit>Clear. These exams have a very specific response you need to answer in order to get the questions correct. They aren’t just true/false scantron or bubble sheet questions either. They are interactive pick 1, pick 2, pick 3, drag and drops, and even full-blown simulations of the programs themselves. Oh yeah, and they are timed too. On my first attempt at the Practice Photoshop Exam, I failed with a score of 60%.

I continued to study, practice, and train until my average score was 97.5% because in order to take the Official Certification Exams, it’s $180 and if you do not pass, you have to wait 5 business days before you can take them again. I don’t know if you have to pay again too or not, that would really suck. This is also why I only wanted to stick with just Photoshop.

Fast forward to exam day, today. Although I had done well on the Practices, there was no telling how well I would perform on the actual Exam. I sat down, took the Photoshop Exam, and sure enough, scored a 96%! Mission accomplished.

The plan from here was to go home, study, train, and test for the next program that I wanted certification for until I was ready for the real Exam in a few weeks or so.

This was when the test proctor asks me if I wanted to take the Exam for Adobe Illustrator while I was there. Mind you, I am super comfortable Photoshop and still failed on my first practice try. This would be for a program that I use pretty rarely and would not have been a Practice Exam, but the real deal. Reluctantly I agree and jump in. It is hard. Once reaching the end and hitting submit, it displays the result . . . another pass! I can breathe again.

Supper happy I inform the proctor and get ready to leave. Again, the proctor asked me if I wanted to test for Adobe InDesign, a program that I have not used since high school. I don’t know why but said yes.

I thought the Illustrator Exam was tough, dear lord this one for InDesign practically killed me. After a while, I’ve got 20 minutes to go and 20 questions left with some pretty involved technical scenarios to do. Not feeling super confident. Before I knew it, there were only 4 questions left, with 30 seconds to answer them. I blazed through and hit submit like I was diffusing a bomb. The page brings up the results: Passed!
I couldn’t believe it, 3 for 3!

What started as an attempt to earn 1 Certification turned into a struggle that claimed 3. I am so incredibly proud of myself and humbled to officially be an Adobe Certified Associate in Print & Digital Publication, in Graphic Design & Illustration, and in Visual Design. On top of that, earning these 3 certifications earns you a 4th, for the title of Adobe Certified Associate Visual Design Specialist! The goal now is to keep moving forward and go from an Adobe Certified Associate to an Adobe Certified Expert.

If you are even remotely thinking about getting your Adobe Certification, do it! You can find out more info on them here:…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am trying to figure out how to get down from this cloud I’m on.


Warrior Dash Ohio 2017 Post-mud-dem (Get it?! Like postmortem?! Nevermind)

Sorry it has taken so long for this follow-up post.
I wanted to make sure the video was done first and it took quite some time.
(You’ll see why)

The event itself was a total blast.
We had a couple first timers with us and they were in love.
Of course, afterwards, we were all in pain.
We got through it and came out with some cool swag too.

Thanks to the support of people like you, we were able to help the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
With your help, I was able to not only reach my goal, but to hit my stretch goal too!

Thank you from me and the kids of St. Jude!
If you would still like to donate, do so on my St. Judes Warrior donation page.

Warrior Dash 2017

This Saturday, July the 22nd, some friends and I are participating in the 2017 Warrior Dash 5k Mud-run.

A totally optional part of the event is to fundraise for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
As someone who used to be in and out of children’s hospitals as a kid, I feel super passionate about these kinds of events and giving back to those who are in need.

This year, as a St. Jude Warrior, my personal fundraising goal is$̶3̶0̶0̶  $400 (new stretch goal!)

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is the global leader in treating children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. That’s why I’m competing as a St. Jude Warrior at Warrior Dash. I’m going to have fun while I fight dirty against childhood cancer in support of St. Jude kids. I am asking for donations to help me reach my goal for the kids. Will you join the fight with me?

  • Thanks to donors like you, no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
  • St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20% when they first opened our doors to 80% today. They won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

Please consider donating to help me reach my goal!

Extra Life 2016 Results

Hey everyone,

National game day for Extra Life 2016 is officially behind us. That being said, if you weren’t able to participate on the 5th, you can always do it when it works best for you.  That’s one of the great things about this event, it’s customization and flexibility.  For example, I couldn’t stay awake for the 24 25 hours straight (not for lack of trying though.)  So I gamed for 20 hours, slept for 4, then picked it back up for another 16 for a grand total of 36 hours.

With your help, for the first time in the last 6 years, I was able to reach my fundraising goal of $1,000 and did it by 2 pm!  So, we created a stretch-goal of $2,000 and (as of right now) have raised a total of $1,300!  This was 130% of our original goal and actually put us in the top 1% of this year’s almost 48,000 participants.


Another really cool thing about this year’s Extra Life happened when I reached out to a local news station about the event.  I emailed them because I was looking for donations and wanted to spread the word about the event.  To my surprise, they emailed me back and asked if instead of just them mentioning it, if I wanted to be on the air to promote it.  For a chance to get the word out and help more kids, of course I said yes. Check it out:

Before we started streaming on game day, Extra Life as a whole was right around $4.4 million in donations this year.  With your help, we have currently raised $7 million dollars #forthekids and are counting!

We couldn’t have done this without your help, so thank you all for the support.  It means the world to me and I know it has made a world of difference to help save kids.  So again, thank you!

If you still want to donate or find out more info, visit our fundraising page here:

Thanks again, I’ll see you all next time 🙂

Extra Life 2016 is almost here!

This Saturday, November 5th, is the 2016 Extra Life Gameathon and Charity Event!
This is something I’ve participated in annually for more than a half decade and this year is no different.

If you don’t know what it is, I’ll give you the short and sweet version:
A worldwide collection of individuals and teams work together and game for 24 hours to help raise money for thousands of sick kids. Since 2008, #ExtraLife has raised more than $22 million for that cause!

The reason I am making this post is because I am looking for donations. I won’t see a cent of it, ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids and your donations are tax-deductible.

This event has been close to my heart because I was often sick as a kid for well, my heart. Growing up, I was in and out of the hospital. Knowing I have the ability now to give back is great and the fact I can do it by playing games is a win-win. This year, my personal fundraising goal is $1,000. The general idea is for people to sponsor you with donations. The most popular amount is usually for $24 ($1/hour.) You can even donate as little as $1 and it’d still be helping out tremendously. Every little bit helps.

While participating, I plan to be streaming the entire event live on Twitch. You will literally be able to watch us play, listen to music, hang out, and chat the whole time! I plan on starting 8 a.m. (EST) that morning. To view the stream, head over to out Twitch channel:

If you want to support me, donate here:
You can also find out more information about the event on that page and sign up to participate as an individual or as part of my fundraising team.

So please, donate and help us help them. Thank you for the support! #ForTheKids


Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

That’s “happy birthday” for those of you who can’t read German.
This is a little birthday present for my little german girl, my Oma.
She had seen the portrait drawing I created of my late Opa and had since requested one be done of her.
The overall process took about two and a half hours spread over three days.
I am pretty happy with the result and really pleased with how quickly I was able to complete it.

Happy Birthday Oma!

Portrait Drawing - Oma

Patching things up with the Police

Freelance Graphic Design has been something I’ve done quite regularly since I was 15. Usually, the projects aren’t anything to write home about. However, I was contacted a few moths ago about a new project that was a little outside my norm and turned out to be rather cool.

The Officers over at the Metro Health Hospital Department of Public Safety were in need of a new patch design. They were all brainstorming together and submitting their concepts when I was approached about the project. This was kind of a unique situation because it wasn’t a sure thing, and by that I mean they could have gone with absolutely anyone’s design. That being said, I wanted to give it an honest try anyway. The Officer ,and good buddy of mine, who approached me initially had sent a list of things they had basically been looking for as well as some surprisingly good sketches they came up with. (I say ‘surprisingly good’ not because I have doubts in his ability to draw, but because normally when someone provides reference sketches, they look like cave drawings.) From there, we were able to produce our first design.

After showing his Chief, we started volleying back and fourth with revisions. Edits included everything from background elements and composition to the overall shape of the patch itself, eventually we reached a design we believed met everyone’s needs as well as reflected their department well. It’s shape was actually influenced by the bade shape of the NYPD. Although we had already gone back and forth a few times, that didn’t mean for sure they would choose my work. There might have been submissions from others as well as the possibility of their previous patch designer to step in. And then I didn’t heard for a few months. Until just this week my buddy reached out to me again saying he had something to show me.

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Sure enough, not only had they decided to use the design we created together, but he had a final-produced version of the patch just for me. The icing on the cake was a brand new Tactical Auto Rescue Switch Blade that was also embedded with our new patch. How cool is that?

Final Products

This project took a long time but was totally worth it. Designing things for websites and digital use is fun, but it is not everyday when something goes from just an idea, to a 2D sketch, to a digital mock-up, then to a final real-life object. Hopefully you all enjoy these designs here and here only. I say that because if you see them in the real world you are either in the Hospital or about to be in trouble.  I’d like to give a special shout out and thank you to the Officer who reached out to me. Thank you all for stopping by, I’ll see you next time!