You know, I like art. I do a lot of it in Photoshop - at least my visual art. Outside of writing, photography and design-work are what I love, so it's no surprise that I spend a lot of time online going through Photoshop tutorials. Over the past eight years that I've been learning photography, and the past five years of learning Photoshop, I've picked up some really awesome skills that I don't share much anymore since writing has kind of taken over my life. Still, today I plan on spending a good portion of the day learning some new techniques in my visual art category. Why? Because it's 100% relaxing for me. It helps me focus my creative energy elsewhere, and when I step away to do some writing, I can think more clearly.
The interesting thing about Photoshop, though, is that there are tricks to learn (I'm not sure there's really any true tricks in writing). There are so many things you can do in that program - in fact, I've heard even the creators don't know everything it can do. It's up to the artist to either figure out what works for them on their own or go online or look in a book or magazine to see some ways other artists get a certain look or technique in their artwork.
For instance, I just discovered Andrzej Dragan. His work is stunning, and there's a technique out there called the Dragan Effect named after his style. I want to learn how to do it, and that's what I'm hoping to today - or at least start. Here's some of his work.
It's hard to pinpoint what Dragan does that's so stunning, but it's the amount of detail, the way the picture pops that really seems to be the technique. As an artist, I know how much work goes into this - and it begins with a good photograph first and foremost.
Also, it's not that I want to copy another artist. It's that I want to master a certain technique so I can build it into my own personal style. I tend to do this with my writing, as well. There are tutorials out there for the Dragan Effect - clear, step-by-step instructions on how to achieve the effect, but it still takes the touch and skill of the artist to pull it off, which is why nobody can get that Dragan Effect exactly. His style is his own.
I think with writing, there are "tutorials" out there on how to write a specific way, but if you're a true artist, you'll realize there may be things that sound like tricks (in Photoshop, there really are some), but eventually you'll move beyond anything even remotely resembling a "trick". You will have learned your own skills and how to incorporate them into your unique style.
So, have you ever relied on tricks and tutorials in your art form? Have you done so in the past?