Posted in Drawing

Help I can’t draw!


A beginner’s story on a simple task……draw a coffee cup.

Photography and art are my passion but I have a confession—I can’t draw very well. I can do basic drawing skills and if I concentrate I can do a good job.  I am always looking for the easy way out. So the challenge I am going to give myself is this:

  • Learn to draw a coffee cup the “easy” way ie not hand drawn
  • Make it look artsy

Here is one the best sources of info and learning you are ever going to get online You can watch lessons for all creative endeavors for free but you can also buy the program and keep all the lessons if you wish.

So I stumbled upon the Creative Live  blog and found a great article on how to draw a coffee cup in Adobe Illustrator.

I have the whole Adobe CC program ( which is the designers dream program so let’s see if I can follow some simple Illustrator lessons.

Step 1 ……Start with The Cup

  • Draw an oval with a rectangle over it, then use the “minus front “to remove the top of the oval. I am nervous already, where is the pathfinder tool and what is “minus front”?
  • Found it! But quickly learned you must select both parts before you push the button.
  • Repeat action to make the bottom flat. To me it looks to short and fat so I make it longer. Easy peasy……so far.

minusfront 2minusfront 14cup

Step 2……Make a Handle

  • Start with a circle and fill it with same color. Sounds easy, right?
  • The instructions are to draw an oval and add a stroke and fill with same color. This is what I got but now what?
  • Luckily I am smart and researched “how to make a donut in Illustrator”.
  • Way too many complicated instructions and long videos. Decide to use the principle I just used and use the lovely “Minus Front” too. I place it behind the cup.


Step 3..….Add Foam

  • Make circles and fill with different color. Then pile one on top of the other. Got it!
  • Uh oh, they have strokes, they should NOT have strokes.
  • Figured it out! Select them all and click the stroke button to zero.
  • Now I must get it on my cup, not so easy. All the little circles won’t move together!
  • I Go online and find out how ie. use the “unite” tool. Done.
  • Now I can move the whole thing behind the cup.

6foam 7handlefoam

Step 4 …… Add a Shadow.

  • Not liking the shadow they show on this cup demo. Decide to free-lance and create my own.
  • Select bottom portion of cup, duplicate, flip vertically and transform! Should be easy no?
  • Tried to select it but the whole darn cup got selected, I am leaving it.
  • Struggling to do a basic flip, going online again.
  • Frustrated now, how do I REFLECT this thing?
  • Finally found the reflect tool but it refuses to flip and reflect to make a shadow.
  • Almost lunch time I cannot concentrate!
  • By a stroke of brilliance, I just flipped it using the anchor points.
  • Now I use free transform it to make it smaller and more shadowy shaped.

8shadow 9shadow 10shadow

Step 5 ……Laurel’s Final Touches

  • Now my favorite part! Make it look not so boring and more artsy.
  • There is a thing called “Pompadour” on the color swatch. I use it to fill in the foam.
  • I want to put my name on the cup on a curvy line but how?
  • Use the path tool!
  • First create the path and then use “type on a path”.
  • Add some flair to that boring cup!
  • I find a cool logo flower and add it on by using “place”.
  • I want steam! I am going to use the spray can as it looks like it can do the job.
  • I use the symbol “impressionism” and spray it on.

11foam 12name



  • It took me well over an hour to create a simple cup while looking for an “easier” route than drawing it.
  • I learned invaluable Illustrator lessons and discovered it’s power.
  • There are not a lot of simple instructions out there for the novice. Someone needs to teach beyond basics for beginners, like “where is the path tool?” Maybe me?
  • Drawing the cup would have looked more organic, taken less time and look less manufactured.
  • This vector image can be used in several documents, while a drawn image will not move and stretch like a vector.
  • Time for lunch!
Posted in Reviews

3 Mashable Reviews

1.  How to prevent your digital marketing strategy from getting stuck in the Stone Age


Link to article: – PpC4IV7ngkqH

  • This article is for those looking to promote business and build brand loyalty using future social media marketing.
  • The author is challenging marketers to up their game in the fast pace face of changing technology and social media marketing.
  • I believe the author is correct in saying personal experiences are key, but how does one enhance technology  to target the market and then deliver a truly unique and personal experience?
  • The questions I had after reading the article are
    • How does one keep up in such a fast paced environment?
    • Should we always give in to people’s insatiable need for stimulation and personal gratification?
    • Do good old fashion marketing techniques still work in sectors of our aging society who never grew up with computers?
  • The article is great! It absolutely states what needs to be done and in what direction this pattern of marketing is going, whether we like it or not.

This was put on by the Adobe Summit. To Read the live coverage form the 2016 Adobe Marketing summit  click here.

2.  Video Review of The Panono


Link to Video

  • This video reviews the pros and cons of a 360 degree camera you throw in the air called a “Panono”.
  • The audience for this is camera lovers, gadget lovers and those who want to shoot in 360 degrees panoramas.
  • The reviewer claims you can throw it in the air and shoot photos using the 36 cameras embedded in the ball. You later stitch them all together using an app, resulting in one big panorama photo.
  • The author clearly admitted to wait on the purchase, siting many pitfalls of this device.
    • Price point is high at $1500.00
    • If you throw it in the air and miss the camera could break
    • You need yet another gadget to hold it up in the air for still shots.
    • Photos take a long time to download and stitch.
  • The hope for the future of this technology was that it becomes cheaper and more functional.
    • The questions I thought of are “When can I afford to buy one?!”
    • Could this not interfere with privacy if the camera sees every angle?

This was a short video summary but the full review can be seen here:

3.  Time is Nothing… a Journey Around the World

This is a cool time-lapse video of one man’s almost year-long adventure across 17 countries. In it, you’ll see 6,237 pictures spliced together to create several montages of his journey.   Link to Video: – PpC4IV7ngkqH

  • Chosen by Mashable as a noteworthy video, Kien Lam quits his job and takes you visually around the world using time lapse photography.
  • The audience for this video is travelers, photographers and time lapse video aficionados.
  • He used my favorite Adobe products to make this video (Lightroom, After Effects and Final Cut Pro). For products see
  • Ken claims to want to inspire others to travel and I believe he has succeeded!
  • I do wonder again how this feeds into our need for everything fast and over stimulating at times.
  • I like that he includes music into his video that is home grown and available on iTunes Jan 15th. The name of the song is “Places and Faces”.
  • You can watch this on Youtube as well at





Posted in Photography Tips and Tricks

Presets Change The Essence of A Photo


Have you heard of presets? Major editing programs like Lightroom and Photoshop come with what is called “presets”. Presets are adjustments to a photo that are saved as one command. After loading up your photo into one of these editing programs, you can change tone, color, mood, clarity etc. with a one click preset. One can use a preset to adjust the photo depending on what you will use your photo for, and what mood or message you want to convey.

Several presets may be bought online. You can also endeavor to make your own….. That may possibly the subject of my next topic!


The following are examples of one photo with different presets used to achieve the outcomes.





Posted in Reviews

Digital Art Tools and Programs

Digital art is a creative process much like traditional art. Instead of the traditional paint, canvas and brushes you need to acquire some tools and programs.


I believe if you are trying to achieve that realistic painting look, look no further than the Corel Painter series.  The possibilities are endless with interfaces that let you get lost in creating your own brushes, colors etc and you haven’t even starting the artwork yet! I currently work with Corel Painter X3 but Corel Painter 2017 is now available.

Corel Painter X3  (newest version is Painter 2017)
by Corel Inc. Digital Software
Corel Painter Programs

The second program that is key is the Adobe CC platform. You have access to Lightroom to store your images or drawings, Photoshop to crop, edit and enhance with filters, Illustrator to create and promote and the list goes on and on. Every artist and photographer delving into the digital world must sign up for Adobe CC

Adobe CC

Adobe CC

The third program that has peaked my interest and those of photographers is Topaz Labs. They have endless programs to enhance photos to make them look painterly. You can adjust each setting to your liking and then work with Photoshop to edit further or paint on. Again, I stress that you are the artist and that creations be given thought and artistic flair using your skill rather than just plunking out a filter.

Topaz Labs

Topaz Labs


The best tools you are going to need are a tablet and pen. The best is of course the Wacom Tablet. Depending on how extensively you want to use your skills, there are several types to choose from. This is your brush artists and photographers! Invest wisely.

Wacom Tablets and Pens

Wacom Tablets and Pens


Now I am an Apple fan and so therefore preach about using a MAC computer. Any computer will do if it is supplied with the proper hardware and screen. You need to obtain the best and fastest hardware you can afford. The programs running on these computers take up a lot of hard drive space and energy. So just make sure you are equipped well. You would hate to have all those fancy software programs only to have them crash with a lesser quality computer. The best case scenario is a Mac desktop workhorse with a laptop for travel. A PC will do also.


This cannot be said enough! Whether it is cloud storage or external hard drives, make sure you have a LOT of space. The files made during digital art are huge and need to be housed. Also incase of crashes and blackouts etc, you need to have a back up. If you use Apple get the apple storage or the cloud subscription. Don’t mess with other external hard drives that have to be formatted unless you are skilled in this area. PC’s work great with Western Digital storage drives.

Apple LaCie Storage

Western Digital Storage




Posted in Podcasts

“What is Digital Art?” Podcast


Hello Everyone!

I have just created my first podcast relating to the definition and advantages of digital art. I talk about what entails creating digital art and the compare it to traditional art. I also promote the advantages of this type of art. In this ever changing technological age it is definitely time to get on the digital art bandwagon!

Have a listen here at PodOmatic:

Posted in Reviews

Digital Art is REAL Art

The digital world is upon us. This applies to art and all things artistic as well. People is it time……time to move into the world of virtual brushes, paint & photographic tools.

People have been shown  stunning pieces of digital artwork and they love it! When it is then brought to their attention that it was done digitally there is no doubt a little sigh, followed by the implication or bold statement that it is not real art or photography.

If there is one thing I cannot agree with is that digital art is “not real art”. People may get stuck in the idea that unless you take a paintbrush to paint and or a pencil to sketch you are somehow betraying the art process.

I have done art in all it’s forms of traditional (painting, sketching, etc) and non-traditional in the digital realm. I always come to the same conclusion “art is art” and “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  Artists abound everywhere from the stylish hairdress who can re-create your look to the chef who can create such dishes of beauty that you don’t want to eat them.

As long as you create in any form you are an artist—- and an artist creates ART.