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Is it time to really learn Photoshop?

Is it time to really learn Photoshop?

Children’s book illustrators increasingly are using Photoshop to bring their images into the “final art” stage.

Photoshop files are the raw materials for building interactive digital books for the iPad and smartphones.  In a previous post Ezra Weinstein,  publisher of InteractBooks discussed the need for Photoshop layers from illustrators.

Here in the above video abstract artist Steve Connor discusses uses of Photoshop and different ways to learn the program that is fairly oceanic in applications and features and, Steve suggests, becoming a part of everyday work and life.

Yes,  the cameramen should be fed more tranquilizers — or go out and get a tripod for his Kodak Zi8 camera. (We’re working on the problem.)

Meanwhile, Steve, who teaches art and multimedia at ITT Technical Institute and other campuses in Austin does great in the interview.  Trained in the fine arts at Syracuse University and Pratt Institute, he worked as a designer and an art director for advertising agencies,  corporate marketing departments, and in his own creative services agency in the San Francisco Bay area.  He teaches a wide range of design, media-editing, and publishing programs including InDesignIllustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, 3ds Max, and Premiere. He also provides online training and consulting. You can read about him and the beautiful compositions (lyrical abstractions) that he creates on his website and blog.

Steve has put up a short and easy survey,  Learning Digital Media to determine what you would most like to learn from an online Photoshop class series and he’d appreciate any of your responses on it.

For participating,  you can watch his video lesson,  Bare Bones Intro to Photoshop.

Roughly 15 minutes long, it shows how to work with layers, the brush tool, shapes, and effects. This will help you get started — no matter what edition of Photoshop you have.

Actually, Steve says that even if you don’t answer the easy questions on the survey, you’re still welcome to see his video. You’re asked to register with your name and e-mail address to see the lesson. But otherwise, it’s free.  Watch the lesson.

Sign up to watch the replay of Steve’s 90-minute online tutorial:  An Intro to Photoshop Art-Making: Vector and Paint.  (It’s excellent!)

But your responses on the survey will help Steve put together a course that might be exactly what you’ve been looking for in a Photoshop education.

Here are those links again:

Survey:  Learning Digital Media

Video Lesson Presentation: Bare Bones Intro to Photoshop

 An Intro to Photoshop Art-Making: Vector and Paint

Then there’s WordPress

Speaking of tech training,  Erik Kuntz of Austin gave a fantastic presentation to our Marks and Splashes students last week.

He showed us different ways to build picture galleries on our WordPress and blogs.  He covered lots more in his offhand conversation and answers to our questions during the session.

A webcomics creator, writer,  illustrator, and website developer for small and large businesses, Erik has long championed WordPress as the most plausible web platform for artists and other creative people.

So there’s a survey up for him, too, because he’s considering putting together a series of training,  WordPress for Artists. Tell him what you’d like to see in informal training for WordPress and his other software specialties, Corel PainterAdobe Illustrator and Manga Studio for cartoonists, graphic novel artists, and children’s book illustrators. Take Erik’s WordPress survey.

Austin SCBWI Conference Photos

Books, Boots and Buckskin, the 2011 regional conference of the Austin Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators was a happy success, thanks to the many chapter volunteers, extraordinary presenters, and faculty and the wonderful historical campus with its intimate theater auditorium and state of the art presentation rooms.

The conference was hosted by St. Edwards University, which provided the gorgeous setting and wonderful support staff —  an Austin, Texas-based publisher of interactive children’s picture book apps and a developer of software building tools for iPad and mobile phone book and rich media content apps.

David Diaz

Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator David Diaz illustrates a scene from a manuscript by one of the conference attendees.  He’s illustrating on the back of a door bought from Home Depot.

He’s joined by Austin SCBWI assistant regional adviser Carmen Oliver and illustrator Clint Young.

David Diaz’s completed illustration on the back of a door.  See more photos from the conference.

About The Author

Mark Mitchell

Award-winning children's book author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell teaches classes in watercolor and children's book illustration at The Contemporary Art School in Austin, Texas.


  1. Kayleen West - Children's Book Illustrator

    I certainly could spend countless hours fiddling in Photoshop. When you start playing in Photoshop on a table you come up with things you never expect. I sketch at night while watching TV and often bring my sketches into Photoshop to play with. I often bring them to some conclusion for my entries on Illustration Friday to post on my blog.

    • Mark Mitchell

      Kayleen, I know so many professional illustrators who do the same thing you do, bringing their sketches into Photoshop to play with and color.
      One I can think of in particular refuses to paint anything with a traditional brush now!



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