Thursday, August 5, 2010

Beyond Photoshop On Sale Now!

Well, here it is! Beyond Photoshop is available right now. Writing this book was long haul, but I am very very pleased with the results. So, if you're ambitious enough to try combining Photoshop with some of the greatest software on the planet, you might want to check it out. You can visit the Beyond Photoshop website now for purchase options, a reader forum, sneak peeks into the content of the book and more.

New Work: Photo-centric and Austere

When I began working as an illustrator, almost all of my work was photo-based. It had a lot to do with me working in a photography studio at the time. But as the years went on, I drifted further and further away from photography in my work. I think I found that after a while, what I really wanted was to do some more drawing and build things entirely from scratch, digitally or otherwise. As a result of this, the subject matter became a bit more whimsical and in many cases, my work was not as dark and foreboding as it once was.

Also, I realized that I really wasn't interested in being a photographer. Whereas many see this as a creative outlet, I was viewing it as a necessary chore to get the resources I wanted for my illustrations. As a result of this, I think my photographic work was never all that good and I eventually drifted away from photography entirely. It has been years since I unpacked my camera and lights.

Fast-forward to this year and I find it ironic that a couple of recent projects were rooted in photography. They also have that dark quality that my earlier work used to feature so abundantly. What I really enjoyed about these projects was that although I did my illustration bit, the photography was taken care of by some serious pros. The top two images show the illustration I did for the recent Nachtmystium album. The photography here was handled by Jimmy Hubbard and was art directed by Seldon Hunt. They already had the creative direction nailed down so I simply put it all together and created the drug-addled bloody head fairy you see here.

The following two images are a book cover illustration for Shadows of the Redwood by Gillian Summers. The design here was done by Llewellyn's Kevin Brown. His direction was more open ended. Basically, he asked for an ominous forest scene with a jester creeping out from behind a tree. He wanted bloodshot eyes and the feeling that the jester was filthy and evil. I worked with photographer Vincent Lions to shoot the bits and pieces using a mannequin as a stand and then created the scene from all of the components in Photoshop. In both instances, it was fun revisiting my old photographic stomping ground with the assistance of some real pros this time around.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Beyond Photoshop cover model interviewed

Josie Lee has appeared on the inside pages, and on the covers of my last three books. This includes both editions of Creative Photoshop, as well as Beyond Photoshop, which is set for release this June. She is so versatile and great to work with that hiring a different model is never a consideration. Here is an interview clip with her from a recent appearance at the Wizard World convention in Toronto. In it you can hear her discuss the project and you can also catch a glimpse of her without tentacles coming out of her face.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Final chapter in progress

Okay, I'm feeling a bit excited as this chapter nears completion. This will be the final printed chapter in my new book. Well, final in the sense that it is the last one I have to finish. Not final in the sense that it is at the end of the book. It'll probably end up somewhere in the middle but I haven't worked that out yet.

Anyway, this chapter combines Photoshop with, you guessed it, Painter. There are some great new tools in the latest incarnation of Painter and I'll use some of them extensively in this chapter. One standout is the new Artists' Oils brush category that deposits a limited amount of paint, just like a real brush with oil paint on it would. The intuitive feel of this category of brushes is impressive and I'll use them in depth in this chapter.

As a matter of fact, Corel's inclusion of this feature made me feel so liberated that the process of working digitally became intuitive, freeing me up to discuss some core principles of observational painting and composition as well. This is something I've never really touched upon in detail in any other book. So, in addition to learning how to master the software, you'll get a 101 course in using colour to indicate value as well as how to compose naturally with the aid of divine proportion and the rule of thirds. This is just a section of the main image, and I still have a lot of blending to do, but I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at it in progress.