Colorful Pattern





> Curious about design and creativity AT ANY AGE & motivated to learn?
> Passionate about the field/career options of graphic design and want to learn everything I can, but don't want to pay high tuition?

> A non-traditional student of any age looking for one class or more to have marketable skills in my career shifts?

> Ready to kick-start your graphic design path now - not wait a few years or spend 4 years in college?

> Crafty or creative from drawing, photography, or building things.

> Thinking graphic design is a career field for me or a passion project, but I'm not really sure where to start or what to do.

> In a related field and need to learn more marketable, practical skills?


lt is vital to start from the beginning. Which means that even if you know basic digital tools or have been teaching yourself, let's start with learning the principles and elements of graphic design. 

You can choose from several options:

- A crash course - after a 30 minute consultation, will provide some necessary information, links, and general direction. With specific questions, will cover the basics and you'll be on your own. Can add on-call sessions as needed.

- A short customized session that addresses certain needs - how to use a program, but with actual assignment and follow up meetings.

- A month long commitment. One basic assignment and meetings twice a week to assist you in the process.

- A two month long commitment. One larger assignment with 3 speed problems sprinkled into the process. We would meet once a week sometimes and twice a week others for 8 weeks.

- Work on your own with my course material - WONDER 101, WANDER 101 OR BOTH - that includes video instruction, demonstrations, lots of examples, multiple assignments, critique and feedback intermittently.

- Add-on an on call session for weekly one-on-one conversations regarding Wonder 101 or Wander 101.

After a consultation, Val will develop a proposal for you that takes into consideration your financial and time constraints. This could be a minimum of one course with multiple projects just to get you on the right track, to a complete comprehensive college level program condensed from what is typically one or two courses per semester for four years into an intensive, 6, 9 or 12 month study that could possibly include an in-person workshop.
The novice emphasis:
You'll learn at minimum about the design process, design principles and elements, brainstorming and research to develop innovative concepts, understand basic industry software, develop an affinity for typography and color solutions, and develop creative habits that help you in discovery and exploration throughout a career.
Colleges require 120 credits to graduate with a bachelors degree. Typically a major is about 33% of this while depending on the structure of the specific program you could be limited to 5 or 8 graphic design focused courses. Why not put your energy into just those courses and possibly advanced study without having to worry about grades? Plus in the comfort of your own abode!

Average costs for one college course ranges between $1200 to $3500 or consider 1/5 of 1/2 of your annual tuition (for example, 40k tuition would be 20k per semester or 4k per course if register for the average of 5). My courses bring you my 20+ years of experience and innovation.
must be able to supply all of your own tools including computer and software - advice on these comes with consultation. 

 A personal note:

After walking away from tenure and more than 20 years teaching at the college level, I look forward to working with people like you to share my knowledge of design. I understand costs and time issues of the college system.


I believe there is another lane between the traditional college/university and the d.i..y such as YouTube and


So let's get started with a FREE consultation by zoom.


I will make a suggestion of which option may best suit your needs and if necessary customize a package offer.

Still interested in an in-person experience but in a camp-like setting with no more than 10 people? Check out my 


Many colleges and universities are cutting budgets and no longer supporting technology in their labs. So you have to supply your own computer, purchase your own Adobe license per month, and show up twice a week to your design class which is probably one of 5 each semester over a period of four years.

I believe you can get the same quality education with your own laptop, my instruction, and a pursuit of design coursework as it engages you in research about all sorts of interesting subject matter and also requires you to develop critical thinking skills that are vital moving forward in the rapidly changing world we now live in.


You won't receive a diploma but you will have portfolio quality work to show for clients and job interviews. I also includes mentoring for navigating the career path.


Art and design programs and/or schools are closing around the country? Before the pandemic, the enrollment crisis started to hit the larger for-profit programs while the smaller schools stay afloat with severely high tuition. With the pandemic and the possibility of lower than normal enrollment, this will likely put a financial strain on institutions, especially those with bloated salaries at the top of the administration and expenditures for the many new buildings on their campuses built to retain students by providing a broad base of experiences.


online course

start when you choose

This is my Introduction to Graphic Design course that has been updated and tweaked over many years to make it a FUN and active learning experience. You won't experience the boring, rote exercises that most design programs have refused to update (that are old and stale from a bygone era).

key components include:

- understanding the basic design principles and elements through a variety of assignments

- discovering and implementing the design process from research, brainstorming, ideation, sketch, and narrowing down ideas to final solution

- understanding various compositions and rationale for them

- understanding basic craft and creating your own imagery with sketches and other experimental tasks (on your journey to be a wonder wanderer as a creative philosophy!)

- basic digital tools and creating your own imagery (and why you shouldn't grab stuff you randomly find on an internet search) class emphasizes photoshop and illustrator

- this is primarily an image based emphasis with basic typography towards the end of the course

If you enrolled in a similar course on a college campus, the average per course cost is 2,000 - 2,500 or 1/5 of your semester tuition. If an adjunct is teaching the course for 15 people, they are paid at the rate of approximately 1 student course fee.




online course

start when you choose

This course might be listed as Typography 100 in a traditional educational setting. But this is a bit more than just basic Typography. You will build on what you learn in Wonder 101 and create compositions that combine type and image.

I remember one occasion where I had work from this class still on the board for a critique when my senior students entered for their portfolio class. They remarked at the quality of the work for freshmen and that some of the other seniors in another section did not have the same skill level with graduation on the horizon.

You'll build on Wonder 101 and key components include:

- emphasizing and making the design process a habit with research, brainstorming, ideation, concept development, critique and more

- looking at typography with a keen eye from digital options to hand lettering and other creations such as cut paper or experiments with materials, objects, etc.

- portfolio quality projects that are engaging and showcase your evolving design style

- understanding systems and creating holistic unifying artifacts that look related

- a variety of artifact styles and sizes (book covers, posters, mag layouts, etc.)

- more advanced digital tools including how type works in photoshop, illustrator and InDesign.




online course

start when you choose

Want to pack in two semester's worth of the foundation level of graphic design? This combo package is for you. You'll have access to both courses and you can pace yourself. 

Coaching and feedback is included in the process.



get started





Includes an initial 30 minute consultation to assess your goals for learning with a followup document customized to help get you on your way which may include pdf versions of pertinent material, relevant links to bookmark, and a list of book or other resources to help you in your journey.



May add a basic assignment to do on your own from several options that will be customized for your particular needs and focus.
This will include the instruction and other material in a pdf but no other follow-up interaction

$39 - $99 on average


This is a consultation and coaching option that will be customized based on your learning style and your basic goals for learning design. The assignments will be based on your particular focus and interest level whether it be a hobby or an entrepreneurial endeavor. IF you are only interested in improving your digital tool repertoire please visit that page.


Includes initial consultation and two 1hr sessions a week (or a 2 hr session)

for 4 weeks consecutive
(unless tech or personal issues on either end require us to extend briefly)



Includes initial consultation and approximately 2 hrs per week of video,

phone and email conversations for 8 weeks. May accrue time and schedule on a weekly basis as needed. Must complete within 8 weeks, or agree to a 2 or 4 week extension.


Additional time/ special rate: $40/hr


You have a pressing need and specific project you want to tackle. Maybe you are working on a new project at your work, starting an internship that requires you to do more graphic design, or are a creative in other fields and would prefer a one-on-one consultation as needed to achieve your goals.

10 hours instruction/video conference

* should redeem within 6 months


additional time (may buy in batches)




Maybe you would prefer to take my entry level courses that have been developed to be innovative in contemporary society rather than the generic and rote exercises that are found in most introductory courses in higher education.

Each is structured with content on a weekly basis so you are getting a compressed semester for each course but have approximately 4 college level course content integrated into Wonder 101 and Wander 101. More information below.