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I'm a true novice, but I love to doodle, explore and create. I am brand new to graphic design. I am really interested in learning all the basics.

On a scale of 10, I would rank my computer skills between 0 and 4.



I would like to have a creative assessment project so that I can be coached and develop an individualized plan.

The plan would include one or two projects that I can work on with some engagement and critique thru the work.


souped up

I'm very interested in an assessment, mentorship, and an individualized plan of study that includes up to three courses that will help me rejuvenate, and focus on improving areas of weakness while also targeting my strengths in flexing my solution skill set.


max injection

I'm all in. I want to take as many classes as I can to have a full portfolio by the end of a 6 or 12 month period. I might be available to spend a short amount of time in person at Camp Wonder Wander in TN and am looking for a longer term coaching relationship instead of formal schooling.

Coaching consultation involves a dialogue first. Please inquire about a FREE initial conversation to get the ball rolling. After the conversation, you may be asked to provide samples of your work from doodles to digital.

Results of that initial conversation could be simple recommendations, an assignment that will get you headed in the right direction, or coaching sessions can be used to critique or work with you on those.

You may purchase one more more hours for consult and can use them with scheduling within 12 months. One assignment and coaching sessions included in a 5 hr special.

$25/hr                               5 hours for $99



01 basic

Coaching consultation involves a dialogue first. Please inquire about a FREE initial conversation to get the ball rolling. After the conversation, you will need to supply examples of your work or complete an assessment exercise and complete a goals worksheet.

With this option you will receive written feedback on your work and recommendations on what is best suited for you moving forward.

Purchase one session for $125 which includes a speed problem to assess your typical response and go to problem methods. After submission, you will receive a more complex assignment geared towards your needs based on coaching assessment. This includes the 5 hrs of coaching thru the process in email and video chat sessions.




02 advanced

Coaching consultation involves a dialogue first. Please inquire about a FREE initial conversation to get the ball rolling. After the conversation, you will be given an assessment exercise and a goals worksheet. You will receive a proposal for options before having to make any purchase of coursework listed below. Details of courses are below.

Typically each course has 3 to 4 assignments. Each assignment would include approximately 5 hours of coaching, critiquing, follow-up questions per assignment. With the pricing in #2 that would be a rate of $500. It may be recommended for you to work on up to three courses. Remember that if one were to register at a community college or private college the range for a course would cost between $750 and $3000 per course for credits. This is not a credit bearing course, but it is being taught to you by a former tenured professor of graphic design.

One course special - $399

Two course special - $799

Three course special - $1199

If you choose to commit to a 3 course program you can complete this over a period of 12 months which has you working on average on one assignment per month.

* sampling of the types of courses and/or assignments available upon request. May also view workshops based off of some coursework at
Camp WonderWander.



03 souped up

Coaching consultation involves a dialogue first. Please inquire about a FREE initial conversation to get the ball rolling. After the conversation, you will need to supply examples of any work you've done as if you were applying to a program or complete a series of 3 short assignments that do not require technology.


This is the most intensive and complex option. It is designed for the serious student who is looking for mentorship and a comprehensive design curriculum instead of attending a bachelor, masters or certificate program. This option is for students who may be taking other college level classes in high school or exhibit unique talent at ages 11+.

What you are paying for is one-on-one consultation and individualized curriculum based on 20+ years of design education by your coach Val and not paying for is all of the University administrators and overhead.


I have developed a comprehensive curriculum that includes 5 innovative courses that are customized for your level from novice to mid-level experience.

These classes include (read more here):

  1. Wonder 101

  2. Wander 102

  3. Time Traveler

  4. Brand:Me

  5. Explorer

Plus a bonus of a one-week in person workshop style course  at the Camp Wonder Wander facility in rural TN (includes housing and food, not transport). You may also receive discounts for additional workshops or curated travel experiences. The workshops listed below have a value of $1000 minimum for 7 days.


These workshops include:

Taste (all about design and food)

Trek: Designer as Author (an experience in place)

Transform (community based, citizen designer)

Once completed in this program you are also eligible to receive discounts on future retreats and workshops.

One semester in college is 5 courses and that costs on average between $10,000- 20,000 depending on the institution. This is distance learning, work on your own time and lacks the credit bearing component yet still has the same level of rigor and value as if you were registered in college.

The special rate includes the coursework and coaching sessions for the 5 courses above and registration for one week workshop at Camp Wonder Wander (that can be transferred to a travel discount) that can be redeemed within 2 years of booking.




04 max injection

coming soon!


Perplexed version2


expressive typography; connotation vs denotation; concept development, composition; design principles, elements, and process
FINAL ARTIFACT: 2 distinct posters

This is one of Val's favorite assignments and is a perfect project to learn graphic design with emphasis on type and image. Experimentation is encouraged as you explore as many methods of making type with objects from string to cut paper to potatoes and beyond. You may even use photography or a scanner in this process. You will learn a bit about the history of hand craft lettering vs mechanical. You will receive brief written feedback during each stage of the design process and have 2 skype calls during the important stages of critique.





advanced level design project that emphasizes type, image and color building a uniform brand; design principles, elements and process includes hand craft vs digital.
FINAL ARTIFACT: 3 related wrappers

You should have a basic handle on typography for this assignment or can add-on extra lessons about type history and classification as you enter the design process for this fun project. Invent your own chocolate brand or redesign an existing brand. Choose three flavors and develop a basic concept. Learn about hand illustration, experimentation with pattern, and creating unity across the brand.





branding, figure/ground, gestalt, hierarchy, concept development; skills analysis, writing copy, promoting yourself; design principles, elements, and process

This starts with an evaluation and coaching consultation of your existing work including resume and portfolio. Through this process you will be given some feedback on your strengths and weaknesses, but you will also be required to conduct a series of self-analysis exercises prior to starting the design process for creating your own brand. This is an advanced course and one should have at least a grasp on typography and basic design. Recommendations after initial consult may include backtracking and taking one or more lessons to improve your design sensibility. Once you go thru the self reflection and goal setting exercises, you can start working on the design process receiving written feedback at various stages and 2 additional skype coaching sessions as you work towards final execution. Feedback also includes resume writing and organizing your digital portfolio.




TYPE 101

type history; type classification; the design process in selecting typography; design principles, elements and process

FINAL ARTIFACT: a set of 5 book covers

In this course, you will learn about typography and typographic history. You'll examine type styles thru a series of exercises in the discovery research portion of the assignment. You'll learn about how to find the best type for your solutions, how to get away from the default type options that are pervasive and available to every with a computer, and how to integrate hand craft with digital solutions. In addition, you will learn about visual hierarchy, gestalt principle in creating dynamic compositions, and how to create a unified series within a system. The course fee includes written feedback at several stages and 2 skype calls for important critiques.





brand design; gestalt theory; figure/ground; sketching; understanding vectors; design principles, elements, and process
FINAL ARTIFACT: design process book, logo and brand guidelines, collateral

In this course, you will learn about logo and branding thru the design process of concept development, research and ideation with sketching, how to take ideas from the sketchbook to Adobe Illustrator, refining your ideas to a solid image. Branding includes a typographic solution and a system so you'll learn more about color and type in this lesson. If needed add-on extras about type history and classification so that you can move beyond the default options on the computer. This fun assignment will take you out of your comfort zone into an imaginary yet realistic world of retail. The course fee includes written feedback at several stages and 2 skype calls for important critiques.





brainstorming, innovation mechanism in concepts with visual rhetoric; marrying type and image cohesively; hand craft vs digital, design principles, elements, and process.
FINAL ARTIFACT: book cover (+ surprise)

This is recommended as the third lesson in the series of discovering graphic design thru typography. This project requires you to read a book from a choice of 4 options. Once you've completed the book, a short book review and character, plot analysis will be the beginning of the research and concept development phase. You will be required to develop 3 or more concepts in the sketch phase that will be critiqued, narrowed down, combined, altered etc. as you work thru developing a cover that represents that concept with cohesive type and image solution. Once completed you will be given a second, yet related in some capacity, assignment to understand taking your concept into different forms and even sizes. Includes written feedback and 2 skype critiques.



r.ochab_blurb -32_edited.jpg


research and writing; layout; concept development; design principles, elements, and process.
FINAL ARTIFACT: curated book

It is very important to have a connection and understanding of the past in terms of how design and culture relate. In this mini session of the Time Traveler which is also available as an in person workshop, an XXL travel experience, or an online course, you will explore the history of type and design thru a curated investigation resulting in a dynamic use of word and image. The goals in the process are understanding page layout and book design with a comprehensive thematic concept to which you refer to for all decisions from color, grid system, and even hierarchy. Learn about how a semiotic matrix may help you in the various visuals integrated into the final product. This course includes written feedback as the work progresses and 2 skype calls at critical stages.



Course details


a deal


FOR design coach val's



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