Welcome to the fourth edition of The Pulse -- The State of the Art -- a survey in words and pictures of the online artist community. Nearly 150 artists have answered a list of questions which make up The Pulse. Their responses will be presented as a series of online and print projects. Secret Sunday was the first project and the links to all the secrets can be found on the sidebar of my blog. The Book Guild is the second project and Chapter 7 starts right now!
All artists participating in The Pulse were asked to name their favorite art books. The Book Guild will present this list, along with links, book reviews, giveaways, and interviews with many of your favorite authors. And as members of The Guild, I am hoping YOU will participate by leaving comments related to the books in each post - for example thoughts, book reviews, personal experiences, or a link back to your own blog posts that include artwork based on a project in the listed book.
Thanks to everybody who entered their name into my True Colors book giveaway. With nearly 100 entries, the competition was tough. But one lucky person has won and that person is Ramona from Create with Joy. Congratulations! Please contact me via email with your mailing address. And if you did not win, this is your lucky day. Scroll to the end of this post for information about today's new double giveaway!!
Chapter 7: Two Thumbs Up
F+W Media has provided me with review copies of two, recently released art books so that I may share my impressions with my blog readers.
The Journal Junkies Workshop by Eric Scott and David Modler
This book, subtitled Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict, focuses on visual art journaling. I was eager to see this book, as it adds to the small group of books in the genre of journaling that are written by men. The first thing that struck me about the book was its layout. The entire book is set up as if it were itself a journal. The text and illustrative images are seamlessly incorporated into the visual background of each page. And in sections called "Photo Reconnaissance", many pages are dedicated to consecutive, double-page spreads of actual journals of the authors. They are rich in image and text and very inspiring.
The book is broken into three sections. The first, "The Munitions Dump", is dedicated to the requisite introduction to the materials used for journaling. This is the shortest section that will be of most interest to people new to journaling.
The second section, "Basic Training", is the main focus of the book and provides detailed information about using watercolor, acrylic paint, collage, transfers, drawing, and page altering as part of your journal. The info and images are clear, easy to follow, and take you a step further than just a basic introduction to these techniques. In addition, there are several sections which focus on layering -- and help you to easily combine many of the suggested techniques to achieve pages of more depth and artistic quality.
The final section, "Sharpshooting", highlights the written portion of visual journaling, with a focus both on content (e.g., journal prompts and stream of consciousness writing) and process (e.g., writing tools and writing on alternative surfaces). I personally found this section of the book to be the most intriguing and helpful to me.
I think this book would make a great addition to what is likely to be your already expanding book shelf. The book is easy to follow, visually dynamic, and has a bit of edge to it. You can read more about Eric and David at their blog Journal Fodder Junkies.
Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements by Susan Tuttle
Digital Expressions focuses on the ever expanding area of digital art. Susan takes what can be a very complicated and often daunting process and presents a series of projects using Adobe Photoshop Elements in a highly accessible manner. The books starts with a description of essential tools and techniques which, as a novice in this arena, I found to be extremely clear and helpful.
The majority of the book is dedicated to presenting 25 digital art projects, with step-by-step text and images used to explain the process. These projects are presented across 5 sections of the book: Manipulating Images, Painting & Drawing, Pasting Pieces, Seamlessly Blending, and Altering Art. In addition to her own projects, Susan also presents the digital work of many other artists, each of whom share a very helpful Technique to Try. The artwork that Susan has chosen to present is quite varied in style and approach and includes some of the absolute best digital creations I have ever seen.
The book ends with a very short section highlighting Susan's own work in which she has used a combination of the many techniques from the book. As a bonus, she has included a CD that holds photos, brushes, and textures, many of which were used in the projects from the book.
I think Digital Expressions manages to be one of those rare publications that will be useful for and inspiring to both beginning and more advanced artists in the area of digital art.
Susan has graciously provided the following personal reflection on her art and her book for readers of The Altered Page:
"There is magic to be found through the mediums of digital art and photography. When I create through these mediums, I am able to escape into the dreamscapes and "other worlds" that I create. With the use of Photoshop, I can fly across landscapes tethered to a red, heart-shaped balloon, visit places only found in fairy tales, walk through gardens bathed in white, shimmering light, or chatter with the birds that alight on my hand.
In addition to manipulating single photographs and creating digital collages and illustrations, I enjoy creating seamless montage scenes that have a surreal quality about them, so that when you look at the piece it looks like an actual photograph, but you know that it can't be, due to the surreal nature. I enjoy sharing my digital art and photography techniques through both my book and online classes, so that you may come to discover ways to create your own unique, enchanted landscapes."
You can find Susan at her blog ilka's attic.
I have decided to offer a giveaway to two lucky readers, each of whom will receive either Digital Expressions or The Journal Junkies Workshop which were provided to me by F+W Media. For a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post and include which of the two books you would like to receive. Comments will close next Saturday 5/29. Winners will be posted next Sunday 5/30 as part of the next post for The Book Guild. Please be sure to let me know which book you prefer to be eligible for in the giveaway. If you include no preference, I will randomly add your name to one of the two drawings. Good luck!