Creative Photoshop - Digital Illustration and Art Techniques

Review by Mario Georgiou
Author: Derek Lea
Focal Press -
ISBN: 9780240520469
SRP: US$ 39.95 UK£22.99

Award winning illustrator Derek Lea has penned this excellent reference book for Focal Press. His illustration work is a unique combination of original photography, traditional illustration, and digital art. In Creative Photoshop, Derek uses his extensive experience with Photoshop to produce a series of tutorials which will give readers a nice balance of inspirational imagery and technical insight.

The book can be divided into four sections, the first which deals with traditional illustrative techniques such as drawing, painting and colouring. In this section Derek tackles the creation, definition and use of brushes, how to use Shapes and layers., emulating the look of graffiti and stencil art and how to trace photographic imagery to create illustrations. It also details several techniques for creating illustrations from sketches and retro art based stock. This section is completed by taking a look at colouring a comic based illustration.

The second section consists of coverage of unconventional illustrative techniques and methods. The first example uses thermal fax paper and a hairdryer to artificially age paper and also makes good use of scanned images and layering effects. The examples include the use of xerography, creating urban lowbrow art although a short section it provides some very cool solutions for creating effective and colourful imagery quickly.

The third section covers the creation of illustrative photography and includes one of his more famous tutorials which covers the blending of architectural source materials with a models face, to create a striking image. Subsequent examples provide solutions for emulating a 3D ribbon peel away effect, artificially ageing a portrait and creating a dark, moody and surrealistic image of a person peeling back their skin from a selection of different source materials. These images are a lot more complex than I have described, but you’ll just have to buy the book to see what I mean.

The fourth and final part covers the use of Photoshop in combination with other software. This primarily centers on the use and enhancement of 3D imagery. The last two chapters detail the use and editing of vector illustrations and details their use as elements in the creation of illustrations. My favourite chapter details the creation of a morphing pattern based upon the work of Max Ernst. All told Creative Photoshop is an excellent book from one of the best creatives in the industry.

Cons: Not for beginners.

Pros: Well written. Easy to follow. CD based tutorials and content. Creative and Imaginative.

Derek Lea succeeds with this excellent book, because he brings to bear his extensive practical experience with Photoshop and the other tools in his arsenal to create some very practical and creative solutions to tasks illustrators, imageers and designers will experience in their day to day work. Highly Recommended