After learning about copyright the next thing you should do is learn as much as you can about your program; know what it does, what it is capable of doing, how to do those things, etc. Designing is not purchasing the best Commercial Use products available and recoloring with each and every kit. Designing is an art of creativity. For most it is starting with the basic shapes and creating from there on up, adding shadowing, textures, etc.
Take for example this construction barricade.
What shapes do you see when looking at this element?
It is basically created from squares and rectangles.
When I was changing my blog around, I sat down at the computer and imagined what a barricade looked like and started creating my template. I started at the focal point, creating shapes to look like what I was envisioning in my head. Once I created the template it was just a matter of filling in the colors, adding bevel around the edges as well as adding texture to the sign.
There are a handful of designers who do the exact same thing when it comes to creating templates. Look in any online digital store, under Commercial Use, and you'll see countless templates filled with shapes in all different sizes and characters. These designers look at something and recreate it with shapes or they are artistic and draw the element they are wishing to create. That my friend can be you if you learn and understand what your program is capable of doing!
Where do you start?
Well if you are reading my blog, I guess this is a good start. But generally when I started learning how to design and about my program I relied on Google for the answers. There were nights while my husband was deployed that I would be searching "Photoshop CS + Ribbon Tutorial". I would walk myself through several tutorials on that element, learning how to do it without looking at any guides, notes or tutorials.
Another thing you can do it enroll yourself in some classes where it be online or in your local university. There are a handful of online sites that offer classes with different programs. The perk of it being online is that hopefully you are able to work around your schedule, work, naptime, etc.
When in doubt if you dont know, understand, have questions ask a fellow friend who uses the program. I had been designing for several years and one day Melissa Daniel Designs said "hey you know if you do this . . . . " and a lightbulb went on in my head understanding what she had told me! I had no idea that I could do that with my program, let alone the possibilities she had opened up by telling me a simple suggestion!
Learn your program before jumping in to designing. It makes it that much easier when the harder stuff comes knocking at your door.