my huge breakthrough

tammie bennett dinner platei don't even know where to begin. well, yes i do... i'm taking lilla rogers' "make art that sells" class in hopes of finding out exactly how to get art directors and manufacturers to buy my work. but it turns out i'm learning SO. MUCH. MORE. two of my june goals were to work my buns off in class and to create something in photoshop without fear. so far so good. well, almost. that's where the personal growth comes in.

in class each week lilla chooses a few assignments to talk about. last week she chose 33. and none of them were mine. i was a little sad, but i listened carefully to everything she had to say about the art she chose to talk about. i took notes about what worked in each piece. i looked back at my work and realized that most of those things she talked about were nowhere to be found in my piece. instead of feeling sad, i felt really powerful. for one, out of the 400-something assignments turned in, i had chosen about 40 of those that i knew were good. 27 of those were on lilla's list. so i know i can spot what's good even i can't create it yet. (by good, i mean good for the markets in which i want to sell my work.  obviously what i think is good isn't the same for everyone.)  i also felt strength in the knowledge that i can work on the things lilla pointed out to make my art better. there is something refreshing about knowing that if you simply keep trying and keep pushing yourself, you WILL improve.

we received our new assignment on wednesday and i wasn't thrilled. we were to design a set of dinner plates for companies like crate + barrel or anthropologie. i love those stores, but i don't usually think of my artwork as a perfect fit for them. i got an instant image in my head of what kind of plates i'd love to create. but there was a huge problem....  i didn't even begin to have the skills. because they require photoshop.

i opened up photoshop and about a zillion online photoshop tutorials.  i didn't even know how to select an object, people!  i spent hours and hours and hours learning the simplest tasks, like creating new layers, selecting new objects, changing their opacity, etc.

i drew with pencil, pen, colored pencils, and markers.  i sketched on over 20 sheets of paper.  i broke out my gouache and watercolors. i colored some icons in illustrator.  i scanned pages and pages of my art into photoshop.  my studio looked like it had been vandalized.

in the midst of it all, i started feeling JOY.  absolute and utter bliss.  why, oh why have i been so scared of photoshop?  don't get me wrong, it's still a formidable beast, but i'm embracing it.  i'm having a blast getting to know it.  i look at the finished piece above and my stomach does a little flip.  i love it so much and i wish it were on plates right now so i could buy them and eat off of them every day.

i am so, so proud of how hard i worked for this one.