Ready, Set, DRAW!

So…Hi Everyone!

I’ve been doing a lot on photography and my photo journey here, but now I have something else to blog about. Illustrations! Which I will get to after I tell you my Photoshop story. It’s a BLOG. I get to do what I want :)

After my job folded last October and I decided not to work for totally crazy people ever again (not counting myself), I knew that in order to be successful in any kind of media field I would have to learn Photoshop.

Now really, how hard can that be? I have been using photo-editing programs since I had a 386. Or maybe they didn’t come out until I had the 486. (You all feeling a little older right now?) My daughter, who has a degree in graphics said “Of course Mom, you can do it….” She is an eternal optimist with an overly kind heart so I am sure she meant it and had full confidence in me and was not actually snickering.

One Friday I downloaded the PS5 30 day free trial, my daughter sent me some tutorials and I was off. My nightfall I was in tears.

Now, I am a person who was a police officer/firefighter etc. I can take dying people, and gunfire with no tears. No Photoshop. By midnight I decided I was never EVER EVER going to open that stupid program again and I was going to start looking for work immediately because everyone knows you can’t be a real stock photographer and not know how to use Photoshop. AND, I was NOT going to that camera class tomorrow because why should I if I can’t process the pictures for stock. ***Total meltdown.*** But…

…being Scottish means you can’t actually not go to the second half of a class you paid good money for, so I begrudgingly went to the class, which went very well until the end when the instructor decided to teach us how to do panoramas….and how do you process panoramas? Of course, in PHOTOSHOP uuuhhhhhhhggggg. (I might have actually made that sound out loud in class).

Sitting at home, in a folder, I had about twenty panorama sets of images from France that I had taken two years before hoping someday I would know what to do with them. By the end of the class I figured I might have to not eject the Photoshop program from my computer just yet. I went home, opened the box at 1PM and finished at 3AM. I was hooked. Photoshop would continue to gobble large sections of my life from then on.

Fast forward recently. I discovered how to make custom brushes from my photographs and drawings. I really did have plans for that day but now I have no idea what they were.

I started doing some research in the illustration sections of Dreamstime as to what is there, what is selling, what I wanted to do, and if they were compatible, which of course I would never really know until I sent them in and got a yeah or nay from the reviewers.

I went to town. (For our foreign friends that means I sat for twelve hours and played, not actually going into town). I uploaded some files that night for review and to my surprise by morning two were already accepted!


Am I hooked? Oh yes I am!

The ones that got rejected I learned a lot from. I did some blending of a sunrise from a photograph with some brush animals I made and I think the sunrise itself was not good enough to pass which is a factor to remember in blending art and photos, but I am going to ask on that one.

Okay about using/making brushes.

#1 You really must make your own brushes. This is a well-covered area in the boards. It is a very easy process to do and worth the small amount of time because you can use them over and over. Google it. There are tutorials everywhere on making brushes. If you are using any isolation clipping techniques you are already one step away from a brush.

When you submit the final image, in the Property Release section upload a jpg of what you used to make the brushes and connect it to the illustration, then let the reviewers know in the comment section.

For instance, I made this illustration using a brush I created from this image. I needed to upload that image in the PR section, and because it is still a person, the model release that I used for the original image had to also be attached. (I forgot about that part so this acceptance was a two-step one.)

Now, when I take animal photos I make sure and get some full body shots so I can make more brushes for illustrations. I’ve drawn some trees that come in handy over and over.

I’m out photographing more horses, donkeys and cows making my own sets. You can’t have too many horse and donkey brushes. Anyone want to lend me a camel to photograph?

#2 Make high resolution only which you do by making the original brush 2500px.

All brushes max out at 2500px. You have to work within that. If you expand them yourself with transform after that, they get bad edges and you get no upload :).

I cannot begin to tell you how much fun I’m having, as it adds a new dimension to my photography as well as a different level of creativity.

Not to say I am going to hang up my camera. It’s apples and oranges in difference, but sometimes between the two, you can also make some awesome fruit salad!

This image is a blend of photography and illustration and it has sold well…somewhere else :)

Play around and expand yourself.

I am off to watch a textures tutorial!

Photo credits: Ginger Sanders.

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August 31, 2011


Hi Ginger you are not alone, i am having a tough time with Light Room 3 trying to enhance my photos for stock. I will not give up.

August 24, 2011


Beautiful images !

August 23, 2011


Hey! I sold another illustration today!

August 23, 2011


amazing stuff!

August 23, 2011


Smart move, it's very useful to know how to use all this software. I've only got basic editing skills, hopefully one day I'll have enough time on my hands to give it a go - I'm sure it's very time consuming, especially when you get hooked on it!

August 23, 2011


Well done! Congrats!!

August 23, 2011


Well done. Congrats and keep it up!!!!!!

August 22, 2011


I sold one illustration just days after it was accepted....and now I am mixing it up a little more.

August 22, 2011


very nice blog and similar story as mine...I was laid off over one year ago and after a while I decided stock could be come an interesting hobby/if not more...
Like you I was scared and desperate of learning the editing basics in the beginning! Then it all becomes interesting and you improve.

Now I am trying to create some image with Inkscape...still at the basics but who knows in 1 or 2 years?

August 22, 2011



August 22, 2011


Well done. I have always wanted to do illustrations since they are supposed to sell better ie. vectors. .. than photographs.
I have training in art since I was a wee child, but never got into digital art as I developed a passion for photography in the late 80's. I've not done any art work since then, as my forte remained photography from then on.
And yes, in spite of my background , I am still not motivated enough to switch from photography back to my first art media. I suppose you can say I've had too much invested in photography, having been in that business since I started in freelance work and photo journalism in the 90's and then fashion, and commercial work in the early 2000s , till today. I branched out into stock photography in 2007, giving it 2 days a week as a sideline.

It takes a lot of guts, as well as time and effort to switch. I admire your move, and congratulate you with your illustrations. Good work, and hope you will see better sales for your illustrations than you have with your photographs. Cheers. Keep it up.

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