From art journal to digital photo artistry canvas

Hi art friends! I’m pleased to introduce a new digital photo artistry series where I share my process from start to finish. I personally love tutorials jam-packed with tips and tricks that take less than 20 minutes to watch or read so I can jump in and experiment with what I’ve just learned.

Extreme close-up of a pink flower about to bloom. An example of digital photo artistry with faint textures and text in the background

I’m going to re-imagine a favorite art journal page “Lost in the Woods.”

Mixed media style portrait of a red headed young lady with her eyes closed. This is the inspiration for a new digital photo artistry canvas.

As a self-taught photographer, I spent many years (long before the Interwebs) experimenting with camera settings, film stock and subjects. Without a plan in mind, I was rarely happy with my images straight out of the camera. Then I found Stampington & Company’s “Digital Inspirations” and I was enchanted! I had no idea such complexity was possible using photographs!

For many years, I used Gimp to try to create my own digital photo works, but this was the Age before YouTube so I flailed around. Some images worked out, some didn’t.

When SmartPhones became a thing, I found Pixl-o-matic and fell in love with overlays. This image of Ginger is still a favorite Pilxr-O-Matic era image.

Doll with black and white hair looking at the viewer.

In 2017, I discovered Sebastian Michael’s Photoshop Artistry Grunge class and my artistic life was forever changed. I was finally producing the works I saw in my imagination.

For quick studies and composition tests, I use my Apple iPad and Apple Pencil in Procreate, which has the most useful 20% Photoshop features.

What I’ve learned as a digital photo artist: photo editing apps such as Photoshop and Gimp have way more features than most people ever use. Twenty percent of the functionality takes care of 80% of your digital photo editing needs. Unless you know this going in, these apps can feel overwhelming which can lead to creative blocks or procrastination. In this series, you’ll learn simple, powerful techniques to take your images to a new level of digital photo artistry.

Digital photo artistry from start to finish

For this digital photo artistry series, I’ll walk you through my creative process and provide detailed, practical tips to help you create your own unique canvases. We’ll start with the photo shoot, process images, create a custom background, work with layers, textures, Photoshop actions and more!

Each post will be zoom in on one particular editing aspect that you can use immediately in your own images, regardless of your photographic style or subject matter.

Additionally, I’m creating a new category, Digital Photography Basics to make finding related posts quick and easy.

For this series you have

  • basic photographic knowledge
  • a device to capture digital images
  • photo editing software or app
  • no attachment to the outcome

That last item may seem odd, but to learn any new skill, you just have to work at it. On this site and in my shops, less than 20% of my creations are worthy of sharing. I have so many abandoned images and images I think I finished but don’t carefor. And that’s ok. It’s all part of the creative process.

What this series does not include

Lastly, if you’re looking for a lot of technical information, this is not the series for you. There won’t be explanations of the physics of photography or technical jargon about photo editing apps. My artistic workflow is playful and experimental: adding, removing, testing, adjusting.


Additionally, with the launch of this series, I’ll be sharing free, high quality, original backgrounds and overlays you may use as part of your digital photo art journey.

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I don’t just photograph dolls

Ok, let’s face it: dolls are a big part of my photography. However, I also enjoy shooting other subjects. Check out my Portfolio to see more of my work.

Looking for inspiration?

Check out Living the Photo Artistic Life, a free monthly digital creative photography magazine edited by the talented, international Photoshop Artistry instructor, Sebastian Michaels.

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