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Foreword to The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book: Creative Techniques in Digital Painting Using Wacom and the iPad, 2nd Edition

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Copyright © Cher Threinen-Pendarvis. Excerpted from The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book, Second Edition, published by Peachpit Press.

This chapter is from the book
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PHOTOGRAPH: JEFF SCHEWE

The computer, in one way or another, touches every facet of our daily lives. Most households today have a computer. Usually it is used to perform the basic functions of today’s technology-driven society: email, access to the Internet, work and, of course, games. The computer also puts at your disposal the tools that allow you to be creative.

Whether we admit it or not, we all possess a left side to our brain. We all share a creative side. Some take advantage and pursue that calling in the form of photography, whether it’s taking photos with a simple point-and-shoot camera or with a truckload of expensive equipment.

If painting is one’s pursuit, the media choices can range from a simple pencil to a collection of the finest oil paints. The computer has opened enormous opportunities, with new tools that once we could only dream about. From an endless collection of paintbrushes to a piece of chalk in any possible color, every tool for the photographer and painter is available when you need them, at the touch of a button. All without the need for toxic darkroom chemicals or paint thinners or the smell that goes with them. Did I mention no clean-up afterwards?

For traditionally trained painters and photo retouchers, technology, like the Wacom pressure-sensitive tablet, has reached a point where the very tool that is held by the hand to interact with the computer looks and feels like a pen. Devices such as the Wacom Cintiq now let you work directly on the screen as if you were standing before an easel and canvas. Yes, there is a learning curve. All this great stuff, but how do you use it?

Standing in the computer graphics books section of a bookstore makes you feel like you’re standing in front of a haystack faced with the task of finding a needle. If you happened to pick up this book, then you can stop searching. Let me tell you what sets this book apart from the rest. One of the things that make this book so crucial for tackling that learning curve is the level of detail that Cher has gone into to help you master these tools. Most important is how she makes it easy to understand what is being taught.

Cher Threinen-Pendarvis is an artist who I have had the pleasure of calling my friend since the computer screen measured only nine inches and offered pixels that were either black or white. I have seen her talent and vision evolve through many years of dedication and exploration of graphics software and digital tools.

Many companies that produce graphics software and hardware have commissioned her to demonstrate the features of their products. Cher’s vast experience, coupled with her amazing talent for teaching, has produced a book that will be of tremendous help to you for mastering these digital tools. The many illustrations throughout the book clearly demonstrate the point being made and are beautiful to look at. It’s great just to have in your collection.

Many do have a talent but never had any training. Others might not have great talent but enjoy playing. In either case, a little education can make a vast difference in the end result. That’s where this book comes in.

Cher comes from a traditional background with training in the fundamentals of art. Composition and shading are terms that rarely enter the vocabulary of the average person, yet are so vital to the creation of a piece of artwork—these are the subjects she lives with.

What she is doing with this book is filling in those educational gaps that the average computer user is hampered by. Cher is an educator. But that is not the whole story. She makes each project a personal experience. She starts with the inspiration. What she sees and feels about her subjects. The steps she takes in preparing for the task ahead. She then takes you on a detailed journey to the finished product.

If you have ever attended any of her seminars or heard her speak at a trade show, you know how eloquently she can dispense information. She has a soothing voice, yet it conveys the excitement she feels about the digital medium. I see her as a female Bob Ross painting “Happy Trees” while eliminating the stress of everyday life. Somehow she has managed to transfer the patience and understanding she demonstrates as a teacher onto the words in this book.

As an expert in both Photoshop and Painter, Cher shows you the processes for effects from within either program or a combination of the two. She guides you through the nuances achieved by the use of pressure-sensitive tablets. Then she teaches you how to take your concepts beyond the obvious—to that realm where creativity takes on a life of its own.

As I mentioned earlier, there are bountiful illustrations throughout the book that take you clearly through the processes she is explaining. This book is the art class you never took and wish you had. It might not make you a Michelangelo, but it will give you an understanding of the basics of art. It will give you the confidence to take your doodles to the next level.

Painting on a computer with a tablet can seem complex, but Cher brings it down to a manageable level so you can use them to let your creative juices run wild.

I have no doubt you will refer to this book over and over again, not just for the techniques but also for inspiration.

Bert Monroy

Berkeley, California, 2013

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