Howdy! How have you been? Wow, it's already week 8! Two more to go and then I am done talking.
This week seems to have flown by. I have had fun working on some Photoshop exercises!
So let's get to today's topic - Tools, Tips and Technologies!
A couple of years back, I remember someone asking me if I play with Photoshop and my answer was no. Since I work at a computer all day long, I like to go home and do something non-virtual, making collages with paint and glue and getting my hands dirty.
But since then I have changed my tune. Today I like Photoshop for not just creating artwork and manipulating photos but as a tool. But before I talk about my favorite tools and technologies, let's talk about cheating. Yes, you read that right - cheating! When I use a camera or Photoshop, some times I feel like I am cheating. Have you ever felt that way?
Norman Rockwell used to stage elaborate scenes, have them photographed and then use elements from different photographs for his final work. Every part of this creative process stemmed from within him and yet he felt guilty for using photographs! You can see some of the photos here in this blog post. You would think someone as great as him would have no such guilt!
And then I had read a book on art history that said that absolutely no one except for the cave man has created art in a vacuum. We are all influenced by what came before us. So there is no need to feel guilty. Of course, there is a distinction between inspiration and copying. But that little voice in your head is quite good at knowing that distinction.
Of course, copying is okay too - but only when you are learning and you can't take any credit for that work. In the old days, the apprentices who worked in the studios of famous artists started out by copying the sketches of the master. Actually a lot of the studios were like little factories. The master didn't have time to make art for everyone, so except for the important patrons, paintings for other customers were often put together by the apprentices. One apprentice would paint the trees and the other would do the grass!
Anyways, I admit to feeling some guilt when I use tools but these tools make life easier and help me accomplish my goals faster or more easily! There's nothing really wrong with that. At least this way, I keep creating.
My favorite tools, tips and technologies -
1. The camera. Point-and-shoot or SLR, you ask? It doesn't matter which one.
Carry your camera everywhere. Use it to capture something that inspired you, something that intrigued you. You never know when inspiration will strike and a picture is worth a thousand words! And if you don't have a camera with you - use your phone camera. I have found that since I started taking my camera everywhere my outlook has changed. I see inspiration everywhere and I now have my own repository of inspiration to turn to.
2. Photoshop Elements - Gosh there are just so many advantages to this tool! So I am just going to list a few.
a. You want to convert that leaf you saw to a pendant? Take a photograph, use the pencil filter in photoshop to convert it to a pencil drawing. These days you don't need to trace if you use Photoshop this way.
b. You want to convert that beach scene to a watercolor? Take the photograph, use the watercolors filter in photoshop to convert it to a watercolor. And if you like, still paint a watercolor yourself, but Photoshop has now helped you in the visualisation process.
c. Resizing your drawings - I have drawn a doll that I really like. You can always trace a drawing the old fashioned way by using a light box or using Saral transfer paper (it's like carbon paper, but doesn't leave carbon behind). But I scanned in my drawing, saved it and then resized my drawing to different sizes for different canvases. This is fantastic! Now I don't have to eyeball the drawing and redraw it to different sizes. So much time saved and really manually resizing a drawing was not a fun part of the creative process.
3. Scanner/printer - Bring home those sticks, leaves, flowers that inspire and scan them! Not only can you record inspiration this way but use these as digital elements in your digital artwork. And the printer these days is not just used to print on paper. You can print on transparencies, Jacquard's printable organza, Golden's digital grounds, transfer paper! Talk about possibilities!
4. Use Big Huge Labs.com - to make your own photo mosaics, CD art, movie posters, calendar or generate your own color palette from your photo. And you can do much more, check it out!
5. Okay now for some hands-on tools to create textures with your art work - toothpicks, bottle caps, bubble wrap, sequin waste, corrugated board, wine corks, palette knives, tape roll holders, petroleum jelly, stencils, foam stamps, used credit cards.
I made this collage in a watercolor Moleskine book. And I have used some cheesecloth in this work, my first time ever doing so!
What tools or technologies will you share?
Next week's topic - Big and Small Ideas. Things that I have come to learn along the way - like not trying to force a style of work that doesn't come easily to me.