After I finished this owl painting about a week ago I decided it would be fun to do a whole series of different birds against interesting backgrounds. Although I kind of hate birds in an up-close-and-personal situation (you can reference this story about me being attacked by a parrot to understand why), they are really fun to draw. Besides, I love having a series to work on. That way when a project is finished I have a new thing to move on to without needing time to brainstorm.
I think I mentioned this before, but seriously, HURRAY for Photoshop and pen tablets and digital painting! There were many 10-15 minute sessions of work put into this, which would have been a horrible pain if I’d been using actual paint. When I’m painting I always feel like I should have at least a few hours to dedicate, because it’s such a pain to set up and put away everything (does anyone else feel this way? Or am I being dramatic and making it out to be worse than it is? Maybe it’s because I don’t have a dedicated studio and keep all of my art supplies in the garage). When I work in Photoshop and I’m finished, I can simply unplug the keyboard (because my daughter loves to “work” on my computer and has renamed/moved more files than I care to think about) and walk away.
I think that sometimes Photoshop gets a bad rap as an artist’s tool. Because of all the bad Photoshop work out there, a lot of people have the misconception that all you do is make some minor tweaks to an existing image, run a couple filters through it, and call it “art”. Of course, you can do that, but you can also play with it’s huge assortment of brushes and colors and create images from scratch. I have a Wacom Bamboo tablet (which I absolutely adore…so much that I’m asking for a bigger one for Christmas this year), which makes drawing on the screen much more natural and fluid than using a mouse. I can build up colors, smudge, erase, and add layers of patterns and textures…all digitally. Some people think the fact that you can go back in your history to correct mistakes is “cheating,” but it allows tremendous freedom to experiment without the fear of permanently making a mistake that ruins your piece. To me, it’s not cheating any more than using an eraser is cheating. Photoshop is just another tool to add to my bag of artist’s tricks.