A while back, I decided that I wanted to learn Photoshop, so I began reading some tutorials (especially http://psd.tutsplus.com) and articles on graphic design. Below are my first two attempts at semi-real graphic design and I would love some feedback on ways to improve them.
Fangiotophia Site Redesign
Before I chose to use http://squarespace.com as my website backend, I originally wanted to develop my own site in Ruby on Rails, so I planned out a new site design which is show here on the right. I spent quite a bit of time (roughly 20 hours, which is a lot for me) over the course of a few weeks tweaking it and playing around with different ideas. In the last few hours, I was testing something and somehow messed up my background in such a way that it has really stupid "inverted squares" on top of the sunburst effect. I still can't figure out what I did or how to get rid of it, so if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!
I specifically left the right side of the content blank for ads or any small widgets that I wanted to add to the page. I left the about me section at the top blank because I didn't feel like typing out any content, especially since I can't figure out how to make text wrap in Photoshop. Seems like it would be a simple task, but I have always had trouble with graphics programs.
Biblical Publishing Corporation
My grandfather wanted me to create a new site for his publishing company, so I sat down and threw together a quick mock up. This took me roughly 2 hours to create while doing other things, so I feel that my trials with the first image really helped me learn how to use Photoshop faster if not better.
I decided to make this very simplistic because my aunt (who has a say in the design of the site) wanted very few images (no cool textured background) with a mostly white background for the content. In the end, she didn't like the design because it wasn't mostly white with some purplish/pink lines like the mockup she showed me (there was a communication problem and I thought I had free reign to make the site look good) so I felt it would be okay to publish this on my site since it will not be used.
Any feedback that you wish to provide is greatly welcomed as I really would like to learn how to be a better graphic designer. I realize that it mainly requires practice and finding your own style, but a little push and shove in the right direction would be awesome.
I give you permission to copy, modify and redistribute these images for the purposes of showing me (or others) how they may be improved, but not permission to sell or otherwise monetize their value. I look forward to hearing your suggestions!