Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Day - 11x14 giclee print & 8x10 giclee print of handcrafted typographic collage - Susan Black

Shoptalk - uh huh ! literally & specifically Photoshop talk. Work talk. Love talk.

I was born a graphic designer many, many years ago - so long ago in fact that my early days as a graphic designer were pre-computer. ACK !! I know, shocking, pick yourself up off the floor - my 24 year old nephew Michael glazes over at this statement kinda of curls his lip a little & looks at me in complete shock & awe - there was a time before computers, iphones, ipads, the internet ? I know I find it hard to believe myself so I do understand his young stunnedness at trying to comprehend this fact.

Anyway skip ahead a few glorious years to the beginning of graphic design on a mac (hallelujah ! sung by a big chorus of angels & it really was a HUGE hallelujah) there were various programs all graphic designer's had loaded on their apple computers (the only computer any graphic designer used). In the old days for page layout, most of what I did (I worked for a time for a national magazine back in the days when I was a Toronto down town /up town gal) we used QuarkExpress & for tricky stuff (none of which I ever seemed to do) Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator were loaded on all our Apple computers. Then Adobe got wise and created a page layout program Adobe InDesign that would ultimately eclipse Quark Express as the go-to publication page layout program, allowing Adobe to package their 3 programs together, for oodles of dollars - they call it Adobe Creative Suite. Any and all graphic designers either copied pirated versions or coughed up the dough to own a serial numbered copy of CS(3, 4, 5 & now 6). You had to - everything we do is done with one of those 3 programs. Just at the height of all this Creative Suite business my career took a curve down a hand drawn product design road. I spent the next many years designing home decor items, jewellery and photo frames (with a pencil, kneaded eraser, tracing paper, etc). For 8 years I did little bits of graphic design (InDesign) work here and there but I rarely had occasion to touch either Photoshop or Illustrator - so I've never mastered learned how to use either program. Which lately really sucks because I need to learn them. I want to learn them. I know enough about each program to know all the amazing things that I could be doing with my collages & illustrations & pattern design BUT I don't know how to do the amazing things I want to do. That's the sucks part - I do know, definitely, what I'm missing.

My plan is to spend the last few weeks of this year (apres the Christmas/market/calendar season dust settles Dec 09th) and into early January signed up at a fantastic pay by the month site where for that monthly subscription fee you have access to zillions of tutorials - I am determined to teach myself the basics of both Illustrator & Photoshop. I can't wait.

Recently I've discovered the Magic Wand tool & just the tiny tip of it's potential use/ iceberg. OMG ! Prior to this discovery - paper collage pieces like the one featured today I would scan in my cheap but amazing Epson V500 scanner which works so well that it picks up the slightly off white colour of the watercolour paper that I create these collages on. Wanting always to have a pure white background I would painstakingly go in and erase or paint pure white background - with one touch of the magic wand tool in Photoshop Boom !  perfect white background saving me hours & hours of excruciating & fiddly time.

Bonjour ! ... here we come.

something's up with etsy - my Oh ! Happy Day listing the colour is w-a-y way off. True colour here (& above).


  1. OH Susan, we are two souls alike! I purchased PS CS5 this spring and have been obsessed with any tidbit of info I can glean online. I have learned quite alot, but I know there is SO. MUCH. MORE! I have checked out before, but I am too thrifty. I may end up biting that bullet though. Keep us updated on what you learn! I would love to see the value you get from the tutorials. Cheers! Dalyce.
    PS: I have moved over to Typepad. New URL is Please check it out! xoxo!

  2. hey girl,
    the offer of a tutorial still stands - and you don't even have to pay!
    if you can wait until the new year (when it's not so crazy busy around here!) we might be able to get together for a weekend or so. after years of slaving away with it, i know p'shop like the back of my keyboard-gnarled hand!
    xo n

  3. thanks n. a combo visit/reunion/photoshop class
    perfect, merci for the offer.

  4. Oh you want to play the "I'm so old I remember when ..." game.

    I learned to type on a MANUAL Underwood typewriter !

    I win.

    That web site sounds wonderful ! Enjoy !

  5. Also check out:

    or just email Mom and she will help you fee involved!
    Tail wags and happy tutorials.

  6. woof ... thanks Moose !!
    & thank your Mom too

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