Photoshop painting

It’s hard to know how to even get started with software as powerful as Photoshop, but I’m determined to learn how to paint with it. I’ve been working in Illustrator so much that I’m having trouble remembering Photoshop again. It’s time to refresh my memory.

Here is a drawing I did (digitally) in October. I just added a new layer of color to it. I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m having fun as I go.


Hours of writing

Okay, “hours” might be an exaggeration, but seriously. Have you ever written and re-written something, trying to make it look really good, but definitely hand-written? I thought I’d throw together a little quote poster. I saw one in a book I was given recently: Fifty Years of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegen and Caroline Roberts. It was by artist/illustrator Robert Massin. It intrigued me. (I started searching for it online so I could share, but it’s not coming up immediately and I don’t have the time to keep looking right now.) Anyway, I wrote the text over and over and over and was never satisfied. In fact, I gave up and then tried again days later, er… today that would be. So finally, in frustration, I just wrote and scribbled and wrote and scribbled. Not sure if it’s a look I’ll go for in the future, but it certainly is a breath of fresh air after what I’d been aiming for.

Typography graphic

I’ve been watching Graphic Design Tips & Tricks by John McWade on It’s pretty cool to hear him talk about what works and what doesn’t and why. Inspired by his video on just using typography, I made this for my daughter whose show choir, Amplitude, was going to their first competition this past weekend.

I printed it on card stock and stuck the postcard-sized message along with a personal note inside her shoe so she’d get it just before they performed. It looked so good, neither of my daughters guessed that I was the designer. They thought I just happened to find the perfect postcard in the store for the occasion!

Design Practice

For a little practice, I decided to design a new book cover for my all-time favorite book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Here’s what I came up with, after many ideas that quickly became too busy and complicated.

To be honest, I just changed it again after seeing how it looked on my blog. I’ve found that it’s very helpful to see it in different sizes and contexts.

More photo interpretation

I’m playing around a little more with interpreting the photos I’ve taken. It’s an interesting exercise in letting go of what you envisioned and just going with what you discover along the way. In art classes they always warned us away from working from photos, but I think there are some good things to learn from them.

This needs more work, but I have a goal of posting each Sunday night, so I will go with less than perfect tonight.

Black and White – back to basics

Sadly I’ve been neglecting my Wacom tablet. Part of the problem, I think, is that I was so jazzed about all the things Photoshop could do.

What is it that reminded me that limits are good? I believe it was Learning By Heart again. (Corita Kent and Jan Steward) A hundred ideas is just about as bad as no ideas at all. At least, this is true for me.

So, here I am, returning to some basics, working with the simplest of lines and shapes in black and white.




Video Intro/Outro

In my free moments at work, I thought it’d be fun to make a little video signature for videos we put together. I didn’t spend much time on font choice or color. Not even sure if my team would completely approve of the text (besides the actual name of the group).


Latest digital work

I am still learning and playing with my new Wacom tablet. I’ve been re-watching tutorials on Photoshop and playing around in the program so that I can recall how to do the things I’m learning. But oftentimes, I find myself drawn into whatever scribble I’ve begun and it gets more and more layers and more and more elaborate. Here’s the latest:

No Title

Working digitally is a bit like those boards that you can erase so easily: a little pen that draws black and you swipe something across it and it disappears. The good thing about it: you’re absolutely care-free —no fear of wasting art materials, no worries about mistakes.

As I’m looking at this piece, I have to admit, I’ve really not analyzed it at all. Does the easy spontaneity overwhelm good judgement? Or will good judgement come later? Honestly, I have no idea if this is “good” or not. At this point, it’s the process I care about, so I guess I’ll just have to trust that skill will come with more and more practice.