Last year I was black-balled from entry into a Facebook group of artists - condemned for being an "events photographer". I suspect it was also because I was unable to speak Artish and would not get a tattoo or a man-bun.
Whatever, it set me out on a quest to become an artist in spite of the critics. I thought long and hard about what art I would pursue. Making miniature scenes was all very well, and taking pictures of weddings and hot rods and pretty girls might be a good training ground, but something more was needed. Something that would say Art loud enough and in a condescending enough manner to allow me to sit in a coffee shop and fill out Centrelink forms...What to do...What to do...
Then I had it. Digital art. Prints derived from images that I have taken, suitably modified until either they resemble other media or I resemble other artists.
Armed with that determination I ordered this book:
Focal press books are generally good, though they have had some authors who seem to have spent too much time in coffee shops filling out Centrelink forms. But in this case, Susan Roddick Bloom seems to have hit upon just the right level of communication to help the novice. And fortunately , Camera Electronic equipped me with the rest of what I needed.
Of course, I needed the images in the first place, and I've a Drobo full of them. And a Wacom Intuous tablet - CE had those too - and a new iMac computer. I also had the Epson printer I got from CE and it is calibrated with the Spyder Express, so I was nearly all set. Final piece in the chain was the image editing program...and I went with my faithful Photoshop Elements 14.
It proved to be a good choice. Ruddick's book is several years old, but the basic procedures that she outlined in Photoshop itself are now quite do-able in the latest Photoshop Elements. There have been no procedures or techniques mentioned in her text that cannot be done in PE, and very few of the references she makes to specific things need to be translated to another wordage. Adobe have been decent enough to keep the same things in the same drawers in the digital desk.
Ms. Bloom covers sketches, pastels, cont, oils, watercolours, and illustrations. She has a chapter on some of the commercial plug-ins that also simulate drawn art...and she is not too prissy to admit that they can be a good jumping-off point for fast starts. I've tried a little from many of the chapters and found her advice to be excellent. it was money well spent.
The Photoshop Elements 14 program was also money well spent - and if you are at all interested in getting into digital shooting and manipulation I can recommend it.
Now it will be a case of experiment, practise, and time. One day I hope to be refused entry into ever more prestigious art groups. If I can be ejected from the Hermitage, Tate, or MOMA I shall consider myself a success.