an interview with myself

This is an excerpt from an interview I wrote a few years back. I think it still pretty much represents my thoughts today.
How did you get into web design?
I started doing a bit of web design while I was working as an Art Director in 1999. I made some pretty hideous hobby sites at first. After I was made redundant, I decided to try freelancing again, and got on the books with a temp agency. The first company they sent me to made it clear that as soon as someone with real experience and a better portfolio came along, they’d take them instead and let me go. What actually happened was that they hired me a week later.
I started my own company when I was pregnant so that I could work from home, especially after the baby was born. It was a slow time at first, but I got some good clients, like Coca Cola, because I had a lot of contacts in advertising.
What do you use to code your sites?
Let’s not talk about coding straight away – I am a designer, so I start on paper. I see the site exactly how I want it to be, and I sketch that up quite loosely. Once I have a few ideas of various designs, I move to the computer. I almost always start building the look in Adobe illustrator, building up the layers of the site, and masking them with a browser window so that I can see the effect (The window size is 780×580 – you always need to remember that 800×600 is still a very popular size). You can select pixel preview in Illustrator so that you can see how it will look pixellate – even when you zoom in. That can ensure that you know your 1 pixel lines are sharp and clean. Once I have something that I want to start building with, I export to Adobe Photoshop/ImageReady the relevant layers. You can jump between Photoshop and ImageReady and it ports the new information from one to the other as you switch. I slice and dice and clean up the images there. I may continue creating in Photoshop if I need to.
With the Photoshop/ImageReady work done, I save the various image slices to gif or jpg format. I don’t save an html page from ImageReady, as they aren’t as neatly done as I’d do them myself.
I used to use Fireworks for final image output, as Photoshop couldn’t handle making a colour value transparent. However it can now, so I haven’t touched Fireworks in a long time.
I use Dreamweaver when I create the sites (and I work on the Macintosh for all of this). But I quite often edit them in the fly on the PC using HTMLpad 2000. I do have Dreamweaver on the PC as well, but it’s so much slower than the Mac that I can’t be bothered with it. The two computers are networked together so I can access the working files from both. I am a web designer, not a web developer – and I hate people who try and be jack-of-all-trades. They succeed in doing all elements of website creation to a basic level, and nothing very well. I stick to what I am good at – and want to be be good at. I don’t have any desire to learn how to script or program directly. I hire people to do that for projects if I need to.
How do you decide whether someone with similar skills could be a rival or a colleague?
I am normally quite generous with my help and advice, and I don’t think about things like that. Designers have their own styles, and if someone wanted my style – then they’ll approach me for work. I get work from people looking at my site and liking what they see. I also have some big name clients, which certainly helps. I wouldn’t normally need help from another designer, but I very often use programmers for dynamic content, database building, and installations of complex scripts. I could spend 3 days learning it myself, but I just don’t want to.