Use your traditional drawing skills and learn to implement them in the industry-standard vector draw program. Illustrator has evolved over he years and has an abundance of tools that allow you to make illustrations that are exciting, colorful, dimensional... that really pop off the page.
Manipulate existing images and create wildly imaginative new ones using the industry-standard program, Photoshop. This pixel-based program is practically infinite in its possibilities. This is what makes it extremely attractive, but also a bit daunting to the beginner. With expert guidance, though, you can be up to speed very quickly with the basic tools, and get ready to let your imagination run wild!
Building up images using layers, effects, transparency and fun tools like the Magic Wand, Rubber Stamp and all kinds of Brushes is just the beginning...
I've worked on Macintoshes since 1990, and I know my way around Windows as well. I've taught classes on both platforms and have worked in staff design positions using both platforms.
The first programs I started learning on a tiny Mac SE were Pagemaker 1 and Photoshop 1. Today, in 2012, I'm an expert with Adobe's Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, AcrobatPro), and an expert with QuarkXPress as well. I'm proficient in other graphic design/layout related applications such as Microsoft Office, ArtText, Suitcase Fusion, etc.
From simple business cards, to postcards, brochures, magazine design, annual reports, book covers, website design, and web banner ads, to corporate identity and logo design, I can create virtually any kind of design using a top of the line computer and related design and layout programs.
I've been exploring drawing since as early as I can remember. My dad was an architecture major and could draw quite well. I remember the day he drew a cartoon on a napkin for me, and at that point I was hooked. I was maybe 3 or 4 years old.
I majored in fine art at the University of Nebraska, and loved first year drawing. We drew large still lifes and nudes with dramatic lighting, using charcoal. I was already pretty accomplished by the time I began college, having illustrated professionally throughout high school doing work for local radio stations and rock posters for the big auditorium downtown. Being exposed to the traditions of drawing, and observing form, light and shadow first hand in college courses literally opened my eyes to what the possibilities were.
Throughout my career as a professional illustrator, fine artist and art instructor I have seriously elevated my abilities and my craft as a draftsman. I've taken graphite to a very high level in terms of what it can do - from a technical standpoint, and in terms of how well it can create the illusion of three dimensions in the eyes of the viewer. My current graphite works are literally "paintings," as the medium is built up in countless layers. I use not only drawing pencils, but powdered graphite, various kinds of erasers, tortillon blenders and other methods of applying the medium to paper. I've evolved my craft in graphite over decades now, and the technical aspects of my craft are things I can fully articulate. In other words, I can clearly teach a student exactly how I do what I do. I'm a serious advocate of observing form, and light and shadow first hand, as opposed to using photography as a reference in creating fine art.
My drawings have appeared in magazines, books, on book covers and album covers, and have been shown in fine art galleries.
In the early 1980s, personal computers were first conceived and created by a handful of visionaries and tech-savvy engineers... two of the most notable to have done this were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the founders of Apple Computers, also known as "Macintosh" or "Macs." Of course, the earliest models were very primitive. Jobs and Wozniak (and others like them, such as Bill Gates) had concrete ideas as to how people would use personal computers in the future, but even they didn't fully realize what forms the machines would take as they evolved, nor to what extent the machines capabilities would be. However, in their minds, that was exactly the point.
What they began developing made possible Word Processing: based on what simple typewriters could do; and creating a Graphical User Interface (GUI) with a TV monitor: which made it possible for designers to recreate methods used to prepare documents for printing... has led to our present day digital programs such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.
I've worked on Macintoshes since 1990. The first programs I started learning on a tiny Mac SE were Pagemaker 1 and Photoshop 1. Today, in 2012, I'm an expert with Adobe's Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, AcrobatPro), and an expert with QuarkXPress as well. I'm proficient in other graphic design/layout related applications such as Microsoft Office, ArtText, Suitcase Fusion, etc.
I also am an expert using Mac's Operating Systems, back to Systems 7, 8 and 9 to the current, very powerful OSX. I've troubleshooted all manner of crashes with Apples, and with third-party recovery applications have restored many Macs back to fully operational. Part of what I would offer a student who wants to become proficient with Macintoshes is a fully working knowledge of the OSX Operating System, Navigation, System Preferences, Administration, Backup Solutions and System Maintenance. By the way, my current workhorse is a Dual Processor G5 Tower with 4gb of RAM; I also use a G4 Tower and a Powerbook G4.
The earliest forms of painting date back to our earliest ancestors, who used burned wood (charcoal) and natural earth pigments (for color) to depict imagery on cave walls. In early civilized cities, murals were created on walls of churches and cathedrals by applying color into wet plaster. When dried, the paintings became part of the actual architecture. This is the method Michelangelo used in painting the Sistine ceiling in Rome, Italy, at the request of the Pope. From that point, from egg tempera to oil to modern mediums like acrylic, to massive paintings that appear on billboards and sides of walls using airbrushes, the history of painting is fascinating.
My personal experience as a painter goes back to working with chalk, crayons and colored pencils as a child. Layering color upon color, whatever the medium, is part of learning to paint. I studied fine art at the University of Nebraska, and had some fantastic painting professors. After college, opportunities presented themselves to me to make a living doing commercial illustration.
Over the years, doing realistic paintings for publication as a professional illustrator led me to want to understand and articulate for myself technical issues that would make me a more knowledgeable and proficient painter and illustrator. I spent time on my own studying and experimenting with new mediums, such as egg tempera, and using an airbrush. I explored and mastered color theory. These were things that were not taught in my college studies, partly because my professors, although inspiring, were abstract/color field painters. I needed to embrace disciplines that are essential and particularly important for a realist painter. I did this on my own time in the early 1980s... basically I put myself through my own graduate program!
I've painted professionally now for over 20 years. My work has appeared in magazines, books, on book covers and album covers, as well as having been shown in fine art galleries. Painting to me is a combination of science and imagination. To successfully integrate both into one's craft requires discipline and practice. Having learned traditional disciplines has given me the benefit of being able to articulate what I do technically, and teach it. Another way of saying this is that I'm not just a painter, I'm a craftsman, and an expert instructor.