Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In praise of Photoshop...

I recently saw a call for entry for a big Illustrators and Graphic Design competition, and there was a graphic 'blurb' on the prospectus that said 'No Photoshop?!' I am assuming that was a joke (?) or some other sort of poorly planned 'statement,' as the exhibit does not forbid the use of Photoshop in it's entry requirements. How stupid! Photoshop has become one of the most reliable and best used tools for illustrators, graphic designers, and designers and artists in almost all media! It has been used to amazing and stunning effect for the past 20 years by those who have taken the time to learn how to make the most of it in their studios. It has, I believe, gotten somewhat of a bad rap, due to it's misuse, mainly by amateur photographers. The general public is most aware of Photoshop as it was used by the Iranian government to fake an extra missile to their news photo. Or by those who take a photo like this:

and do something hideous like this to it:
But Photoshop has so many uses for an artist! I have it open on my desktop all the time. I have come to rely on it for so many things, both in my painting, and most especially in my tapestry design. With Photoshop, I can crop photos, rearrange elements and/or make them larger or smaller, more or less significant in the composition. When I design a tapestry that begins with a photo, I can take a somewhat uninteresting photo like this:
and crop it; enhance the contrasts and simplify the shapes, taking out some I don't like and rearranging others, and come up with a design I want to weave, like this:
Then I can even use Photoshop to make my cartoon, by having it 'find the lines.' I then can print it out, actual size on several pieces of paper, and tape it together to stitch behind my warp to weave from.

Before Photoshop, I'd have done all of this by hand, with markers and paint, taking much more time and effort.

When I paint, I use Photoshop to pick the composition from a photo, perhaps combining elements from several photos. I also, when 'stuck' at the easel, will photograph the painting in progress, put it into Photoshop and try different paint effects without having to make a mess of my canvas by experimenting directly on it. When I see what is needed to proceed with the painting, I go back to the easel and can pick the brush up with more confidence.

I have come to consider Photoshop as useful a tool to my art making as my tapestry beaters or my brushes, and I would not like to create without any of these useful tools!


OzWeaver said...

Thank you for these photos showing just how you work. I work virtually the same way, but you did such a eloquent job of describing it in both words and photos!

Anonymous said...

photoshop is brilliant. I have used it minimally for years, and am now taking the time to learn it properly. I love your tapestries and the trees are beautiful. Right now with the full moon I look outside and see similar effects and think of your work. Thanks! Evelyn

Twisted in Texas said...

I am inspired to take up Photoshop and let it help me with my sketching and design work. Thanks for this