I’m a writer. Well, yeah, duh, the blog isn’t called “Writing Possibilities” for my health. But what I mean to say is, I’m just a writer.
I don’t mean that “just” to imply triviality. On the contrary, I take pride in the time, effort, and dedication I put into my writing. I’ve come a long way as a writer during the course of my life, and particularly over the last few years. I’ve graduated from Rowan University with a bachelor’s degree in Writing Arts, I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree, I’ve worked as a professional freelance writer, and I’m working on a novel series that I’m going to publish starting this year.
While I know a lot about writing, however, I don’t know a lot about other creative pursuits, like any kind of visual art (from drawing to painting to photoshop and whatever else you can think of). I have studied visual arts from a philosophical and theoretical point of view. I can analyze a work of art to explain the symbolism, the techniques of visual rhetoric, the semiotics, and the way it communicates its message to the viewer. That’s not the same, however, as knowing how to make that type of art.
Art and writing go hand in hand in a variety of ways, so as a writer I do think it can be valuable for me to learn art. I doubt I’d ever become a skilled enough artist to make my own cover art (I’d far rather hire professionals like Ravven who made the cover for Radiance, and with far more skill than I could hope to achieve). Aside from cover art, however, there are other options, like incorporating images into blog posts. I don’t often include images in my posts, because I’m just not a “visual thinker,” but I do find that images can work really well to make a blog post more interesting. I don’t believe in adding images that don’t add anything relevant to the piece, but they can be properly integrated into a post so that they aid the post instead of just being decoration.
A good example of a blog that makes good use of images is Drew Chial’s blog. He has some pretty amazing photoshop skills (see here, here, and here for some of my favorite examples of his art). While I have no expectations of getting up to that level of skill, I’d like to start practicing in order to develop some photoshop skills of my own. I think it could add an interesting element to my blogging.
I have a free version of photoshop, which you can find here. You’ll need to create a free account to access the download site, and the site warns that the version of photoshop that can be found here is about 10 years old and no longer supported by updates. As a result, it might not run on Windows 8 or some other modern systems, and it’s generally obsolete. However, the main photo editing functions of this older version work just the same as the newer one; mostly what’s missing is features like being able to sync your library online and uploading directly to websites, etc. Of course, a professional artist would surely prefer the most up to date version with its superior image quality and so forth, but if like me you just want to play around and not have to pay $99.99 for the program, this works just fine.
And I suppose I can’t write a whole blog post about photoshop without ACTUALLY posting a photoshopped picture, now can I? So here’s a little “first attempt” practice I just did (following a YouTube tutorial).
Here’s the “before” picture, of Alison Scagliotti from Warehouse 13. She serves as the inspiration for Tock Zipporah from Manifestation:
And here is the photoshopped version, showing how Tock Zipporah would look when channeling her arcana (as described frequently in the novels, the energy flowing through a person’s body makes their eyes glow: