My Art With Christine-Art’s Hand-Drawn Kits

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I did several more layouts for Christine-Art, so, she posted them on her blog, Christine-Art.com. Click on image to go see her post with my art.

Thank you so very much for looking! Christine, thank you for allowing me to have such fun working with your kits!

Su

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On Learning More in Photoshop Than How to Load a Brush

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(A piece I did with Christine-Art’s beautiful hand-painted kits! Look for a related post soon!)

Greetings, fellow traveler, on this wonderful journey we call life! Well, it isn’t always wonderful, is it? But, we carry on, don’t we! We have to.

I have been learning Photoshop for the past 12-13 years. I am past the typical ‘basics’ tutorials, like installing pre-sets, how to use the Gradient Tool, installing a Brush four different ways, etc. Now, I want to learn how to use all those tools, filters, blending modes and pre-sets and all the other features of Photoshop. I want to learn techniques. If that is what you want, too, read on!

I have news for you. Be prepared to spend a few dollars, unless you are careful and diligent! I took the plunge and signed up for Photoshop Artistry, then, Awake, then Kaizen, all from the same dude, Sebastian Michaels. I must say, I think these courses were an excellent investment in myself! In addition to his course material, Sebastian has arranged, for us, a free membership to ShiftArt, a PS based artistic teaching site, as well. He worked with a site as a gallery for our works. The site, ArtBoja, is set up for art printing sales, too, where you post your own art and they do all the transactions and mailing, etc. Then, there is the magazine, “Living the Photo Artistic Life”, which features some of the best art images each month. We also receive, included in the fees, some of the nicest resources, from great photographers and designers, with artistic licenses on all but a tiny few.

Prior to Sebastian’s groups, to learn techniques in Photoshops, I searched YouTu.be. It is a treasure trove of great tutorials, but, you might want to go with some of the mainstream artists/PS Masters’ channels. Jesus Ramirez, of PTC, does a grand series of tutorial videos, as well as ColinSmith of PS-Cafe. Dave Cross is another top PS genius with his own learning site. There are so many others, but, checking the videos out is the best way to see who you like to follow. Check out ‘Marty’ from Blue Lightening TV! LOL He has the most pleasant voice and only speaks to give the steps and any explanation necessary.

Pinterest is a great place to find tutorials’ and the links to them. Many of the sites I list for resources have tutorials, as well! Sites like SpoonGraphics, Envato’s TutsPlus, PSD Vault, and PSD Box, just to name a very few, are great places to learn techniques that are a bit more involved than ‘how to install a brush’! Many tutorials will say whether they are ‘Beginner’, ‘Intermediate’ or ‘Advanced’ so you can pick your comfort/educational level. Some of these PS sites have a ‘Premium’ feature, in which, for either a monthly and/or yearly fee, you get access to premium-grade resources and/or tutorials, often with the resource files or the original .PSD file included. These range from around $7 to $20 per month, with a discount for the annual rate. It is well worth it to join the sites you get the most out of, if possible.

I must mention, too, the course sites, like Lynda.com, Skillshare, etc. are another way to learn special techniques, with a paid membership. CreativeLive doesn’t have a membership format, but, it offers some awesome courses – live, obviously! After the live course, you can purchase the course with the videos, resources used and even homework! (I have found many of my favorite ‘teachers’ on CL, then, found their websites and followed them from there.) These are priced based on the ‘value’ of the material covered. For instance, Ben Wilmore has been doing a 2 week course “Adobe® Photoshop® CC: The Complete Guide”.  There is a special price while it’s running live, but, then, after completion, the price usually goes up. The sale price on this course is around $130.00, but, trust me, Ben is a genius in Photoshop like you wouldn’t believe! These live courses are usually replayed immediately after for anyone who may have missed the day’s live version. This ‘special’ has ended now.

When I discover a new Photoshop design site/blog that I might like, I subscribe to their newsletter. Most of these sites have this feature. It keeps you abreast of new posts, which may be tutorials or resources, or both! I have done a lot of seeking! I have learned what I know from sites like these and YouTu.be. I like videos, but, reading tutorials with good screenshots can be uber helpful and you can go at your own pace.

With a background in Digital Scrapbooking,  I must mention individual blogs and/or websites. I have learned so much from them! I write a tutorial now and then. But, if your desire is to really learn Photoshop, it would take you ten lifetimes! LOL Some designers/Photoshop-users/artists know their stuff! Some have a sense of design where they have seemingly ‘invented’ techniques, which are their trademark style. These folks are priceless to have in your ‘Follow’ list! ‘Finnabair’ is one of my absolute favorites! And, Maggie Taylor!

I want to take a few lines, here, and say something on individual taught art classes. You know? Like a mini-course from some photographer or designer or another, on how to design ‘just like’ they do. You pay a fee and receive videos and .PDF’s and a dedicated forum, as a rule. I’ve seen classes involving Layer Effects, Blending, Masking, and every other feature Photoshop offers! Choose these courses wisely. One, do you really want to create ‘just like’ a certain artist/designer, or do you just want to learn their tips? Let me let you in on a secret, which brings us to number ‘Two’, most of the material in these courses can be found all over the internet, already! They may be in the designers’ main site or blog, or a dedicated tutorial part of a forum they frequent. Or, Google the term and find thousands of other sites that have tutorials on it. Think about it. How do you think they learned the techniques? I once saw a question in a forum of a shop that is no longer in business. The person was asking how the designer was able to get the brushes to paint ‘dynamically’. In other words, no matter where you paint on your document, the pattern is ‘intact’. The response from the designer was, “We designers can’t reveal all of our secrets.” I wanted so bad to direct the questioner to a tutorial! Um, check the ‘Pattern’ feature box in Brush Settings. That’s it! It is certainly not secret. You can find loads of tutorials on it!

I feel that part of the problem with finding good, helpful tutorials, for what you want to do, from my own experiences, is not knowing what techniques are called. (Do you want to know how long it took me to find out what those ‘dynamic brushes’ were called and how to create them?? LOL) Again, I learned most of the terms by reading.  Throw ‘luminosity masks’ or ‘dynamic brushes’ or ‘reverse layer mask’ into a tutorial and everyone is freaking out! “That’s too hard!” I know! But! All the latter is is a regular ol’ layer mask – inverted. Rather than white, revealing the layer’s image, it’s black, completely hiding the layers image. The beauty of this is that, often, it is easier to ‘paint in’, with a white brush, what you want to see, rather than remove what you don’t want, with a black brush on a white mask. If you lower the mask’s Opacity, you can see enough of the image to paint in what you want. Just be sure to raise the Opacity back up when done! LOL

I have to mention, too, there are some major classes put on each year by groups of designers who each offer their expertise on their given talent/feature, like real-life painting and ‘art journaling’, etc. Think ‘Photoshop Week’, but, mainly for journalers and artsy crafters. Actually, these are more ‘events’ than courses!  “LifeBook” is one that happens every year for the past several years. Scrapaneers does one, as well! Debbie Hodge has a learning website with special ‘Courses’,  loads of info and tutorials and resources. Hers is more from a designer’s point of view. Her site is GetItScrapped.

Word of mouth goes a long way, so, look at the side bars on blogs you visit. If you like the content of a blog, their links in the side bar should be a reflection of their tastes.

This is by no means a complete compilation of places to learn Photoshop. I tried to just touch on the different types of learning/teaching there is out there. I hope this helps someone!

Freebie – Gesso-Look Canvas Textures

Hiya!  I wanted to pop in with some things to share with you!  Yay!  One, right off, is my ‘logo’.  I ‘slipped’ it in on the first parts of the Dec freebie.  My friend, Su, from StarSunflowerStudios, actually commented on it.  Thank you, Su!  The two hands holding a card with my name on it was too big.  It covered too much of a preview.  So, I looked to do something else.  Since my nickname was one I picked up in my ‘hippie chick’ days, I thought about something along those lines.  The ‘whirling dervishes’, as they were referred to, were the chicks, and a few dudes, who would dance and spin around to the music at the live events.  Yeah, I was one of those!  LOL  I had seen the ‘gypsy’ silhouette at 123RF stock, so, I used one with some paint spattering and texture.  It takes up a lot less room on a preview, yet, I think, it still stands out.  I had hoped you would like it!

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Looking back, still, ever since my teen years I have kept some kind of journal/sketchbook.  With journaling, if I was in a dilemma over something, by the time I transferred my feelings to paper, I had usually ‘worked through’ what ever it was.  That happened a lot!  I think that, with me giving the matter(s) their due while writing, I would mull it over and, more often than not, find answers or, at least, some measure of resolve.

Journaling carried over to my adult years, writing about my children and the ‘occasional issue with my hubby’.  (What an understatement!  LOL)  Family, moves, jobs, schools, friends, I always had something to write about.  I know some of you can relate.  It wasn’t until I started learning digital art, though, that ‘art journal’ came to me.  That was just what I wanted to do!  I saw all the beautiful, impactful pages others had done and I liked it!  I love art anyway, but, coupling art with the written word was perfect!  Most of all, though, anything goes – just about.  Using bits and scraps of my life and the world around me is, to me, the greatest form of art!   Whatever is ‘relevant’ works in art journaling.  Hell, it doesn’t even have to be that!  LOL

The ‘free’ spirit in me has always bucked tradition and art journaling was built to order for this chick!  I just haven’t ever set out to do a ‘journal’, like in a book format, yet.  I’d like to.  So far, though, I have just been creating art, and only occasionally adding some prose or text expressing a feeling.  After my most recent drama, here, at home, I could really use the opportunity to work through some of it via my art and/or writing.  To get it out in an art piece, or, in a little journaling, I think, would do wonders for me!

  There are some awesome kits and sets available for journaling anything and everything.  One look at almost any scrapbooking site and there is a section on journaling.  But, they were designed by another for whatever use they had in mind.  They just aren’t my own.  I knew I wanted to use a ‘canvas’ for my base and went in search.  There aren’t very many available and those that are, well, they are quite pricey.  So, I decided to start totally from scratch and make my own.

The very first need was a canvas/page.  ‘Gesso-smeared canvas’ is a look that is really popular, perfect for art journaling.   I couldn’t find much along those lines, though.  So, that is what I made.  Five(5) of them!  They are free to use any ol’ way your little hearts desire!  Well, other than harmful.  LOL  Click on the preview to download!

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Here is a close-up of one of the textures so you can see what the canvas and gesso look like.

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Like the one above, the rest of the textures are all neutral, 3600X3600px in size, 300 ppi, and free to use, no credit necessary!

Have fun and enjoy!  Until next time,

Smile Graphic #9

Hugs,

Su

Freebie Brush Set – Assorted Text

Well, hello!  Long time, no, um, see?  LOL  I made it through my ordeal for the most part.  My little grandchildren mean the world to me!  We’re all back together now!  Since December’s kit was entitled “A Child’s Christmas’, I had found it difficult to work on.  I am happy to announce that I have managed to pull it all together!  I will begin posting my parts, this month, January, as planned in December.  Miss Edna will have some freebies for you while I get caught up.  She posted her parts to December’s kit in December!  LOL  My downloads will start next Monday.

In trying to keep busy, I got an idea for a project and have been puttering away on it for the past month.  I love text, from fonts, alphas and typography to written word.  I like vintage text especially – pages of newsprint, dictionaries, advertisements, ephemera, etc.  I have collected a bunch of text as well as found some great places online for ‘Public Domain’ images of text in all manner of type and handwriting.  I put together some brushes of some of my favorite texts.  They’re made at 300dpi, each around 2400px on the longest side.  They’re pretty large and hi-res.  As most of  the images are from Wiki’s Creative Commons, they require no credit what so ever.  There are two pages from the Vintage Moth, but, otherwise, the images came from the “Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary” at Wikipedia.  So, have fun with them if you can use them!

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I have another tutorial in the works.  This one will be more of a primer on the Layers Palette.  If you are new to Photoshop, hopefully I will help you understand some things.  If you and PS are old friends, well, maybe I do things a little different and you, too, might learn something.  LOL  I spent last weekend viewing a series of Photoshop videos at AdobeTV.  For as long as I have done some things in PS, I still learned another way of doing a lot of things!  I think what happens is, when you learn PS on your own, you grasp bits and pieces piecemeal.  You may learn to Copy a Layer from one tut or person, or, learn how to use the Liquify Tool from yet another.  In PS there seems to be 5 different ways to do anything, anyway.  So, once I learn one way, I will watch a video and see the same thing done another way.  It often turns out that the new way is better!  Maybe there are less steps.  Whatever!  I just like to learn with PS.  I hope ya’ll do too!  I’m going to try to get that posted in the next couple of days.

So, I shall see you next week, if not sooner!  ‘Til then…

The shortest distance between two people is a smile

Smile Quotes

Hugs,

Su

“The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out” – Freebie and Tut

Greetings, All!  I’m back to share a little more gross-ness with ya for the spooky holidays coming up!  If you saw the QP’s for this month’s freebie, “Goth-n-Gore”, last week, one of them had a dirt background with grub worms crawling throughout.  I meant to include just the background in the kit, but, I forgot it.  So, I am going to go ya one better!  I will give it to you here, plus, I’ll show you how I made it, complete with resources!

Here is a preview of the QP’s from last week’s post:

Click on image to visit post.

Here is a preview of the ‘dirt’ texture I made:

The ‘grubs’ are from an ‘.ASL’ file from Sonarpos at DeviantArt.   Here is a preview of what it looks like:

Here is a zip of the texture and the pattern:

http://www.suruha.com/download/su_oct12/su_DirtWorms.zip

And, finally, the tutorial for the wormy-dirt background!

1 – In Photoshop, open the 3600X3600px ‘Dirt Texture’ from above.  Load the ‘.PAT’, Pattern, file.

2 – Create a ‘New File Document’ at 3600X3600px, 300DPI, RGB, Transparent Background.  Copy and paste the ‘Dirt Texture’ into this ‘new doc’.

3 – Create a ‘New Layer’ in the Layers Palette and fill it with the ‘Worm’ pattern.  I increased the ‘Size’ of the pattern to 200% for a better look.  This pattern is not seamless, but, since we are only showing several of the worms, it won’t matter.  Just avoid any ‘lines’ where the patterns don’t match.

4 – Slip the ‘Worm’ layer down underneath the ‘Dirt Texture’.

5 – Add a Layer Mask to the ‘Dirt Texture’ layer.

(A Layer Mask is white when you first apply it.  The image it is fully visible.  By painting over it with black, it ‘erases’ those parts of the Dirt Texture the mask is on.  This allows the image/pattern beneath to show through.  The beauty of masks is that, if you mess up, simply paint back over the area with white and start again!)

6 – Lower the Opacity of the ‘Dirt’ layer enough to see the Worms underneath.

7 – Click on the Mask to activate it.  With a soft brush, using black, ‘paint over’ several of the worms to expose them.  I lowered the ‘opacity’ of my brush to 15% to let the worms peek through gradually.  Brush over the lighter areas more than the darker areas, following the highlights and shading of the worm pattern.  You can vary the strokes to achieve a more random look.  It will appear as though the ‘worms’ are coming through the soil.

8 – Raise the Opacity of the Dirt Texture layer back to 100%.

9 – Add any enhancements or adjustments to the overall image, merge the layers and save!  That’s it!

Finally, here is one background I made if you don’t want to make this yourself.  Click on image to save it full size.  It is 3600x3600px @ 1.6mb.

I hope you understand my directions.  If not, post a comment and I will get back to you.  Have fun!

Hugs,

Su