Part 3 – The new passion
As someone who was really creative, there was one thing that never really interested me in my work.
Being a more ‘big picture’ thinker than a ‘details’ kinda guy, I was always wanting to move onto the next thing. So my cartoons rarely exceeded beyond the immediate black outlines or pencil shading.
As John Dimitri the IT Teacher sat me down to show me how to use Photoshop, I had no real intention of following through on what he was showing me….
I guess you could say I was just being polite. ‘Sure, you can show me your computer stuff if you really want to…’
I’d watched ‘behind the scenes’ footage of how cartoons were made, looked like a laborious task, and being a people person, I was not ready for that lifestyle. There was too much to do in life to sit at a computer and fiddle with lines and colours.
“See here? Click this tool here, select your colour….. and click here…” John showed me how simple it could be.
For the first time, I had coloured a huge section of a picture, simply by clicking the bucket tool into a white area.
It was like splashing colour onto the screen.
I was shocked.
Aren’t you supposed to spend an hour colouring it in with a paint brush tool like I’d seen all the students do?
Is it really that easy?
I played and played with it so he asked me to colour the rest of the picture in for him, I was more than happy to. For the first time in my artistic life, a computer had actually made things easier for me…. well to some degree.
I thought ‘I need to do this with my own cartoons!’
I had the IT department put Photoshop on my laptop straight away.
There was a whole new world of creative possibilities out there, and I had some catching up to do.
The first night I brought the computer home to try out this new phenomenon…. for myself this was one small step for man, but one giant leap for man kind.
I scanned in a cartoon of a guy holding a flower.
Now, lets make this thing colourful!
I sat there, trying to work it out for myself.
After about 3 hours I had finally finished my image.
So much for making things quicker……
But I was happy.
I had done it.
The image wasn’t anyone else’s…. it was all mine, from start to finish. Colour and everything.
The feeling was very satisfying.
I had actually finished something.
So there is satisfaction in doing something until it’s finished?
I can be a ‘big picture thinker’ and a ‘details’ person at the same time?
I had found my new passion. I was going to become a Photoshop master!
Over the next few months I practiced and practiced and practiced!
I put a scanner/printer in my office, so after drawing a cartoon for a student I would scan it in and colour it for them…. then I started teaching them how to do it themselves.
Soon I was working with Students (who were addicted to graffiti) how to colour with photoshop. They would do the outline, I would scan it in and teach them how to colour. I would talk through how their craft is incredibly creative, but to people like me, who were paying taxes to have it removed from our fences and bus stations, their craft could be despised. I would then talk them through what they were really wanting by doing it…..
They were wanting to express themselves and be recognised as an artist.
I would tell them about the awesome opportunities they could have if they used it positively. Teaching others and being a role model, doing seminars and workshops, they could really have a career with it.
Another option is graphic design. Using photoshop, people will say “Wow look at this!” instead of “Bah! Annoying graffiti brats!”.
“Graphic designers can earn a lot of money you know?” I would tell them. If it wasn’t significance they were after, then surely money could allure them?
And so my passion for my craft continued, but like everything else I did, there was always that desire to teach others as well….
Often during my own school years my craft was not always accepted. I would draw cartoons of topics everyone else was talking about, but there was something powerful about an image that portrayed the discussions…. I confess I was not the most fun loving person in school, in fact after a really bitter and hard first year, where I was the subject of mockery, I developed a really bitter and toxic attitude towards others… a defence mechanism maybe?
My later years of school I would do cartoons for subjects like Design, one of them was so controversial that when it was on display in the Library it was actually stolen and I was later told…… my work had been burned.
The problem was, I would often draw something, and other people would add or change things to attack other students…. I was blamed… which didn’t help my cause.
My cartoons were the subject of much discussion…. unfortunately not always positive.
By the time I worked within the Education System, I had changed, I was no longer bitter or wanting to mock people with my craft, but rather lift them up and make them feel awesome about themselves.
As an adult I could put more messages into my work, in fact it was a book someone had shown me of a cartoonist who could convey powerful messages through his careens which inspired me to start drawing again. I was so used to explaining topics, needing long conversations, yet one simple cartoon could speak a thousand words. Hence my passion for creativity and education could become one.
The combination of my cartooning and Photoshop meant my images could pop out a little more in appearance. I learned to shade and was even selling cartoons on the side. People would send me photos of someone and I would turn them into a cartoon. It really made me start thinking…. I wasn’t the most amazing cartoonist…. I wasn’t amazing at photoshop…
But I had ideas…. I could kind of write… I could kind of draw…
What if this could take me somewhere?
To be continued