If you think that Photomanipulation is an easy thing to do, than I can tell you, that you are very wrong. That's what I thought at first before I even started to practice. Like many other digital artists, I was hooked by the artwork I had seen around the web. And I thought, you just need to put few images together, and that's it. But it isn't. So where is the problem? Photomanipulation is a form of visual art that is not thought in any art schools or academies. So, you are pretty much forced to learn & practice on your own. Of course, there are plenty of tutorials and video files that you able to learn from, but this all won't make you a professional digital artist in short time. Not even if you have a bunch of HQ stock files and tools like Adobe products. Carlos Quevedo is one of my fave digital artist who has academic degree in graphic design. However, in one of his interviews, he reveals that he was going through the same learning and frustration process like any other photomanipulation artists.
I had started with digital art (if I can call all that CRAP that I was doing in the past a digita art) sometime in 2005 and have given up on it couple of times, out of frustration and disappointment, even just because of the fact that I was not able to master the pen tool, neither in photoshop or illustrator. Using the pen tool would remind me on manual suing or stiching that I really dislike so much. However, inspite the "drama" about it, I kept coming back to DeviantArt and other sites, collecting new tutorials and creating new PM compositions. It wasn't working well until November last year, when I decided to take a part in a short challenge which was offered by The Imaginarium, one of the PM groups on DA. The short challenge was about redoing one of your old works with the help from professional digital artists and volunteers on DA. With the guidance of my mentor, all of a sudden, I was able to create a better version of my old work. I had issues with right blending and light techniques. Additionally, I had figured out that I was not doing the process of digital painting (smuge, dodge & burn, matte painting, etc.) in correct order.
So, I had spent again many hours a day practicing & learning, creating mostly simple compositions. And my digital artwork has started to show better skills. I guess, that I had crossed the line between beginner and intermediate levels.
And last week, when one of my deviations was chosen as a Daily Deviation, I was really surprized and happy at same time. Surprized because I never thought that I'm a potential candiadate for a DD and happy while, after so many years of sweat, my art finally bears fruits. I was literally working my index finger off (still using notebook without mouse) and, right now, I feel so released. I'm looking forward to develop my skills and to reach the professional level (that includes the use of pen tool too, arrrrgh!). Inspite having so many different ideas, I'm curious about the development of my own style, but I'm not going to stress this too much. As long as I have fun and love what I'm doing I really don't care about it.