Embracing Digital Art

Have you been creating digital art for a while now? Yes? You might want to skip this post then because you’re probably not intimidated by such terms as digital brushes, fill layers, feather radius or texture layer, are you? That’s perfectly fine—go ahead and seek inspiration on another page; I will take no offense.

Now then, if you’re still here, and those terms above scare the living daylight out of you; if you’ve had Photoshop or Photoshop Elements on your computer for years, but have yet to use it for applications beyond cropping and adjusting the hue/saturation or lightness of you photos; if you wish desperately that you could join the Digital Art Club, but you simply don’t have hours to spend poking around on your own or paying to take a class at your local community college then you may want to read on about my good news that there is hope for you, just as there is for me.

And here is your secret weapon: Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements by Susan Tuttle. I cannot stress enough how amazingly easy this book is to use, to learn how to do those little “basic” things that “everyone else” seems to know how to do, but which you have always been in a fog about. Within one afternoon of browsing this book, I was stunned at how much I could do. No, seriously.

It’s helpful to read the book from start to finish. But, honestly, you can begin with any exercise in this book and get through it with success because the references to the basics in the front of the book are incredibly thorough and really provide all the hand holding you need. (I require a lot in this area.)

I’ll admit, I had been holding onto my copy of Susan’s book for months before I finally got up the gumption to be brave and just give it a go. I should have opened it way sooner because I could have been having fun months ago. This stuff really is fun!

I’m a little shy about sharing my experiments here (and I realize I need to keep practicing and exploring), but I want you to see that if I can do these simple manipulations with pixels, you can too. You can—trust me.  These first two examples were warm-ups for me and had me finally realizing what fill layers, opacity, brushes and a few other tricks were all about.

This last example shows you the original photos I worked with, plus the finished version.

Each exercise lists the skills you will use, complete with page references for more in-depth instruction on each one, as well as the tools you’ll use, with page references on the basics of those as well. This book is the “please just tell me what I need to know to get started and not feel foolish” guide you have been dreaming about! Susan knows exactly what you want to know and she does a great job putting things in such a way that you really do “get it.” Editing and manipulating photos is becoming increasingly popular and I know you want to be a confident member of the club, so please give yourself the gift of this book if you’re longing to increase your skills and if you already have the book, open it and use it!


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