Thursday, January 29, 2015

Off To A Good Start - The Photoshop Baptism

Welcome back to my small corner of cyberspace!

As you all know, I have fun with this graphic design stuff. But one of the things I enjoy most is when my students have just as much fun as I do, simply by using basic tools and techniques in the programs that I teach. So, with that being said, what I am gonna share are some samples of what some of my students have cleverly created in my Photoshop class.

Now, before I proceed, I must let it be known that these are all just fun, mock up pieces, nothing professional nor to gain any kind of monetary compensation. These are school projects. Simple, sweet and to the point. The best part of doing stuff like this is that you gain some knowledge of basic Photoshop tools... and crack up or cringe along the way. So, the instruction was to take one of your favorite musicians and superimpose them into a different background by using a clipping mask to edit the subject in question, bring them into a new PSD file, tweak the colors and eventually make it all a cohesive unit where it all looks as believable as possible. Something that would make people say 'Hey, is that Photoshopped or is it real?'

Well... with that being said, my class had some fun with some musicians...

... and upon seeing them, I was amused to the sheepish inner laughter that makes me think, wow... this is friggin' funny. Now, some projects created were very thoughtful, nothing really humorous about them, BUT that's beside the point. I am very proud of what my students did and with that being said, here.. lemme share some of these Photoshopped-Mocked Up-Thingamagigs with all of you.

As you can see, first we got Mr Ritchie Sambora, of Bon Jovi fame, doing his 'Guitar God' pose in front of the Grand Canyon. Dude... where the heck did you disappear off to? Seems like you and Jon Bon Jovi had enough of each other as to who was the better singer and you disappeared into oblivion, didn't ya? Well, no... you are soul searching over in Arizona right? Yeah, I thought so...

Then we got none other than the almighty Metallica with their true muse of inspiration... Mr. Barry Manilow. Hmm... now that I come to think of the latest trend in Metallica's music, ever since the Load album, it only comes to make sense that Barry Manilow had a lot to do with their songwriting procedures... It would only please me to hear Metallica cover Can't Smile Without You a la style of Ride the Lightening or hear Barry croon Enter Sandman with a nice lounge act sway... kinda like Richard Cheese and Lounge Against The Machine. Beautiful. hehe, I can hear James Hetfield now...
'I write the songs that make the whole world sing... YEAH!'

Next up is Parkway Drive. On stage. On a frickin' stage. Do you see them? Yep. They are performing. Hmm... who are Parkway Drive anyway? lemme check...

(insert Jeopardy theme song here)

Ok according to Wikipedia, Parkway Drive is an Australian metalcore band from Byron Bay, New South Wales, formed in 2002. That's in Australia. Yep. Hence Australian metalcore. I guess they give Midnight Oil and Silverchair a run for their money cuz I am sure they cannot touch AC/DC. But what the heck do I know... I don't listen to AC/DC anyway. They kinda lost my interest after The Razor's Edge. But I digress...

And last but not least... Method Man. Doing what he does best. Which is... Rap. And have the young maidens offer him praise for his nice poetic love stories. Ah, the joys of romance via spoken word, to the beat of a hip hop war machine. I wonder what the crowd is thinking well cuz that dude up front has fainted, the guy behind the chick at the podium is getting ready to pull out his sword and do some damage, and the dude behind Method Man is really glaring at him like he did something bad. Very... bad. Hmmm. Make me wonder what was in Method Man's words to cause such grief at the courthouse.

OK! So this is it. There were other pieces but they were not sent to me... oh well. next time.

See? Photoshop can be fun and it can be soothing, under the right circumstances... and last but not least it can sure get some people into a lot of strange predicaments.

See ya next time, and for now... you all be good.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Year, New Classes

Welcome to the year 2015, and welcome back to my small corner of cyberspace.

Yes, this is my blog. You know... the place where I log in every now and then and write a whole bunch of things related to creativity, teaching, and the occasional blurt of personal stuff. Of course, I am not a professional blogger, this is just a fun means for me to share my stuff.


The new semester at the Nossi College of Art will be in full swing starting on Monday, January 12, 2015. I will be teaching two classes this semester... Adobe Photoshop and Basic Drawing. After the experience I had the past two semesters teaching Adobe Illustrator all I can say is that I am very excited and looking forward to more opportunities to teach and inspire.

Now, when it comes to Photoshop... this will be a basic class covering basic tools and putting them to practice with basic exercises. Simple, sweet and to the point. But what are the possibilities with this program? Well, I'll tell you what... let me take this time to show you some projects I did when I was a student. Yep... I still have them. So.... here we go...

Ok, so as you can see from the samples above, the options are endless... and the above compositions were done while I was still a student of graphic design at Nossi. Actually, the first one at the top... the Guitar Maelstrom, was the final project I turned in during my Photoshop class in 2006. Looks complex right? It really isn't. I will be showing my class how to create stuff like this, but catering it towards their vision and design style.

Now, I am also gonna be teaching Basic Drawing. Lots and lots of opportunities in this class, and plenty of ways to express oneself with pencil and paper. BUT, this isn't about teaching y students how to draw... no, this is about nurturing their talent and helping expand their knowledge of different mediums. So... how about some samples of what I created while I was in college... heh hehe... sure, why not...

All the above images were created during my time as a student as well, the majority during my Basic Drawing class. The main thing I want to show my students is how to use different techniques and mediums, expand their views on creativity without changing their own personal style. Y'know... help it evolve.

It's all about having fun with design. You'll get out of it what you put into it.

So, this is it for now. Not a very detail oriented blog, mind you, just wanted to say HEY NEW YEAR STARTED AND GUESS WHAT I WILL BE DOING!! Or something like that.

I'll be updating this blog periodically. Hope it is fun and entertaining.

See you guys around.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The New Year


So I have definitely been slacking at my blog... something I told myself I would not do this time around. Yet... I did.

Ok so here is the deal. As a new years resolution I plan on truly devoting time to this little corner of cyber space as I had intended it to be. A way to share, not only my teaching and professional aspects, but also my personal creative ventures. This medium can not only be a good way to share my artwork, but also connect with like minded creatives, in all senses of the word.

Art is such a powerful medium, but we all know that. It's not front page news. Yet, there are times, that we, as artists can reach a creative slump, or feel a lack of motivation due to life and it's responsibilities. Is that an excuse? No... it's a reality. So it is up to us to find a way to surpass and overcome the down times.

So, what is gonna happen...

First off, next semester I will be teaching Photoshop. Oh yes... that program in which creatives take a photo and retouch it, manipulate it, ad texture to it, animate it... make it something better (or worse, ha ha) It's a beginners course and I plan on teaching beginners techniques. It's all about showing how this program can be used. Just like my Illustrator class the past two semesters, I will have my obligatory 'Welcome to Hell' session because, well let's face it... Design programs will not make you better designers on their own, and it is my belief that design programs are only as good as the flexibility in a designers wrist. It takes practice and application. So... we will have 15 weeks to get comfortable with Photoshop. What happens after those 15 weeks is entirely up to the individual.

Also, one of my favorite creative mediums is the use of charcoal. I would say that beyond the digital artwork I do, charcoal is one way I love to explore my creativity. Mostly via shapes and shadows. Contrasts... light and dark, and a whole bunch of smudging and smearing. Heh heh... to see what actually gets created. I normally do not plan a design when it comes to charcoal illustrations. I just go with the flow and see where my hand goes.

In any case, I do not plan on offering 'tutorials' on how to use this medium, I just want to share my art.

I guess this is it for now. I am looking forward to the new year and all it may bring.

See you guys soon.

Wax on... wax off.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

Yes, I know I have been slacking at this blog thing... comes with the territory of those of us who work more than we know we do.

ANYWAY... So, we got this Mid-Term thing coming up at college and of course, you all know what that means.

Time. To. Study.

I was asked about a study guide... hmmm, well... I am not gonna cover anything we have not already covered in class. But I will give some pointers cuz I am cool like that.

The Mid-Term will be divided into two parts... An Hour time limit each, and yes I will be timing the test. Written and Illustrated.

Part 1:
First off... Tool Bar. Study that. Could be 'fill in the blank' or could be 'multiple choice'
Second...  Tool Shortcuts. Those would be helpful. Also could be the above aforementioned.
Third...     Basic Shapes. Know how to draw them and with what tools. Cuz I may ask you to write out the procedure to doing it, and it has to be in the correct order. (Can't make everything easy can I?)
Everything from the advantage of making guides, using smart guides and the best ways to protect your art in progress (like locking layers so you don't mess stuff up... heh heh)
and Fourth... Back to our first class... I gave you a hand out that explained the difference between Vector art and Bitmap Art. You will explain that to me in your own words. Yes, written with a pen. :-)
Do NOT plagiarize. That will not help you.

Part 2:
Get ready to put all those tools we have covered into practice with a basic vector art that you will duplicate. Remember the importance of using a template, and the advantage of using multiple layers.
Everyone will get the same illustration to duplicate, you will all be on the same level playing field.
I want to see just how much you have all retained from our classes together... I will not tell you 'how' to duplicate the artwork... I want to see how you guys duplicate it on your own. What I WANT to see, is how you use the tools.

Simple enough, right?

Review your previous projects, The Mid -Term will be a based on them. Only this time I am gonna keep my mouth shut and stroll around, whistling the tune to 'The Twilight Zone'...

Remember, this is fun ladies and gentlemen.

Do not look at any exam as merely an 'exam'... look at it as a 'Job Application'.

See you guys Monday, if you have ANY concerns whatsoever please do not hesitate to email me. I check it periodically and all I get is spam...

...and that makes me sad.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

After Day 2

Yesterday we had a fun day filled with the excitement of monotony.

Repetition... doing things over and over and over again. Why? Well, practice makes perfect. It is one of the things that we have heard ever since we were kids. The more you do something, the better you get at it... plain and simple.

As I walked through the classroom yesterday and observed everyone's progress I could see that some students had a tad bit of difficulty while others grasped the procedures very quickly. That does not make anyone better or worse... that just means there are different levels of comprehension. Yes, Illustrator tools can be testy, difficult to learn or cause the immediate reaction of 'W.T.H...' Grins. That is why we do repetitions. To find out what we are doing and perfect the method.

Yesterday we started the class walking down memory lane and revisiting a fun movie called 'the Karate Kid'. Why? Well, because it is the best example I can think of when expressing the importance of repetition on something that many may find pointless. What the hell does 'washing a car' or 'sanding a floor' have to do with karate? Nothing really... but it definitely helps you develop the skills of discipline, muscle endurance and strength. the same applies to repetition with tools in Illustrator.

Draw guides, click and drag, scale it up or down... dot... dot... dot... oops, erase, over and over again... grrrrr... frustrating... ok wait... try again... grrr... click and oops... oh wait... lemme try this... HEY! It worked! Now, how did I do it again? Lemme see... hmmm... click... drag... WOAH! It worked again! Excellent! I am gonna be great at this! I HOPE I remember how to do this next week!

That is what it sounded like last night, but not once did I see anyone with the face of frustration... it was more like looks of determination to get it done right, and that was very comforting to see. A student can only learn if he or she is taught the right way. That was one of the other lessons The Karate Kid taught us...

'There is no such thing as a bad student... only a bad teacher.'

So please, if you're having trouble with something, do not hesitate to ask for help. That is what I am here for. I, in no way, shape or form, expect anyone to be a master of Illustrator in 15 weeks. But I sure as hell would like to know that you are comfortable with the basic tools and enjoy creating with it. You'll eventually develop your own style and technique, and that is a good thing. My job as a teacher is to show you how to use the tools, not teach you my style, nor change your style. My job is to help you develop your talent and make great things with this program called Illustrator. I will show you how to use the tools.. and how you use them afterwards is entirely up to you.

Now, I want to share some examples of Illustrator projects I did in the past. Remember when I said to never thrown anything away? heh heh... The following images are Illustrator projects I did while I was in college back in 2006-2008. And remember, you can only get out of it what you put into it... listen and learn... take notes, practice over and over again... repeat steps over and over, time and time again, until you find that which makes your artwork pleasing to yourself first.

Once again, remember, these illustrations were done during my time as a student at Nossi... repetition is a good thing.

Anything is possible if you set your mind up for success. And that can only happen if you are passionate about what you do. Remember, nobody is forcing you to study graphic design; that was your choice. So... make this decision the best one you have ever made.

See you guys in a couple of weeks... study the Illustrator Tools and their shortcuts... and if you have time (which I am sure you will), practice what we covered in class on May 19th. There are plenty of
Open Source Illustrator Programs that are similar to Adobe Illustrator that you can use to practice. So feel free to check them out.

See you guys in a couple of weeks.

Practice makes perfect.

Wax On... Wax Off.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

On A Side Note...

When it comes to finding the absolute right photo for a project, it take a lot, and I mean a LOT of digging through files, web pages and references to find that which fits your project perfectly.

It has to be an image that reflects that which represents your vision perfectly, and sometimes if the image you are looking for is impossible to find, you need to plan and schedule a photo shoot in order to complete your vision... and believe me, it is not an easy task.

But is it impossible? Heck no. It just takes time and effort... dedication to your craft.

BUT.. when in a time crunch you have no option but to use stock photography, and that can be a blessing or a hindrance, so be sure you take the time necessary to find that which represents your creation perfectly.

Don't settle for less than perfection in your creation. In the end you need to remember... your name will travel with the piece you create.

Make it worth a damn.

Be proud of what you design and say 'Yup, I did that...', then sit back and smile as you hear people offer their praises.

It's what every designer wants... to hear people say 'Wow that is awesome!'

No better feeling in the designers mind, believe me. It's not always about the monetary compensation... it's mostly about evoking the emotion you wish to achieve which separates a good design from a great design.

Been there. Done that. And I am still learning.

Monday, May 12, 2014

After Day 1


So let's do a recap of what happened today.


Yes, that is the number of students in my class. All ages and walks of life, and it was awesome to meet them all. So, what did I do? I stood up there, did my thing and talked the talk as well as walk the walk.

And what was today's first class purpose?

To get to know each other and to get to know a tiny bit of what Illustrator is about by just pushing a few buttons and doing a few design tricks... just to show the versatility in a few of the basic tools used to create vector art.

We briefly touched base on the difference between vector art and bitmap art... key word 'briefly'. The first day of class should always be to get a feel for everyone who is there, show a few things, but mostly get to know one another, and by what I could see and hear, everyone in my class is eager to learn how to use this program, which is gonna be awesome to teach. But today was a very relaxed atmosphere, no big words, no technical terms... just pushing buttons, repeating a few commands and voila... yay for Illustrator.

It reverts back to what I discussed on my first post... desire and inspiration.

So what is next? Well... the actual classes to be exact. Now it came to my surprise that this course does not call for a textbook, which my students quickly brought up as I asked if they had their textbooks... so hmm... what is to be done? Well, there are plenty of online resources that cane be of help. For example You can download the Adobe Illustrator CS6: The Professional Portfolio eBook and the Student Resource Files that accompany the text... or you can get the most updated Adobe Illustrator CC: The Professional Portfolio eBook. Now, none of these are free downloads, nor am I expecting anyone to purchase a hard copy of the book, BUT, this can be extremely helpful when wanting to study at home.

So what will be happening next week? We will be focusing on creating basic artworks. So here is what will be covered... the Tool Panel and another thing that will be helpful is knowing about keyboard Shortcuts.

Hope these items come in handy. Save these links because they will be used quite a bit...

See you next week.