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Pen Tablets

Pen tablets are probably one of the most sought after pieces of hardware among the digital artist crowd. And while you would be highly mistaken if you think that a pen tablet will instantly make you an amazing artist, it is a very handy tool. I personally use one, and while it took me a good year and a half to actually use it after I bought it, once I began using it I loved it.

Huion 8 ExpressKey 10 x 6 Inches Graphics Drawing Tablet

Price: $55.97 on Amazon
Pen Pressure: 2048
Size: 10'' x 6''
I am extremely intrigued by this tablet.  2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity, 8 expresskeys and 16 User-defined Keys that are all customizable, medium sized, a more than affordable price, and a little pen holder that looks mighty familiar. It seems to be a more affordable Intuos Pro Small. 
:bulletpink: Pen requires a single "AAA" battery 
:bulletpink: The pen does not have an "eraser", instead it's a button to turn off the pen
Other Versions:
:bulletpink: Huion H610 Pro Graphics Drawing Pen Tablet | $79.99 | Amazon

Intuos (Bamboo Pen) Small

Price: $99 on Wacom
Pen Pressure: 1024
Size: 6 x 3.7 in
This is my current tablet, and I use it in every piece of art I make. It's sturdy, very sleek, and I really really like it. If you don't do heavy digital painting, the small size is not an issue at all. The pen is very comfortable, the "eraser" on the end of the pen is handy, and the nibs last ages for me. The tablet has 4 customizable buttons, and the pen has two. Frankly, I use these buttons very rarely, and when I do use them they feel a little slow to respond. There is a panel on the back of the tablet that contains, and holds extra nibs - they are super easy to miss but they are there. If you want to stick with wacom, but are tight on cash I 100% recommend it. 
:bulletpink: Overpriced
Other Versions:
:bulletpink: Intuos Medium | $199 | Wacom

Intuos Pro (Intuos5) Small

Price: $249 on Wacom
Pen Pressure: 2048
Size: 12.6 x 8.2 in
Probably the most common tablet amongst professional digital artist, the Intuos Pro is pretty top notch. It's completely wireless and does not require batteries. On the tablet's side It has 6 buttons, and a radial trackpad that are all customizable. The pen itself also has two custom buttons on it, along with an "eraser". And, it comes with a nifty little pen holder, that also holds your extra nibs. It's incredibly sleek and sexy.
:bulletpink: Overpriced
Other Versions: 
:bulletpink: Intuos Pro Medium | $349 | Wacom
:bulletpink: Intuos Pro Large | $499 | Wacom

Computer Monitor Hoods

This is something I picked up from a photography buddy of mine. If you have to take your monitor outside, or your computer is located in a bright sunny room then a monitor hood is for you. Monitor hoods block out glare and helps you see truer colors while also removing side distractions. 


My advice is to make one yourself! It's cheap and as stated in the DIY article, while they are using plastic, you can also use foam which will be much easier to work with!


This is a trick I picked up from Turing numpads into "photoshop controllers" so you can simplify and more effectively use keyboard shortcuts! It's both easy, and relatively affordable. Read more here.

As I mentioned above I use a wacom pen and touch tablet, and while the tablet is great the buttons are slow to react. So very recently I decided to try this out with a Logitech G13  ($64) and I love it! I highly recommend giving this a try. You can find USB numpads for as low as $10 both in store and online. Though if you have the money, go for the ones designed for gaming!

Gaming Mice

Just like a traditional painter needs a steady hand and a stiff paint brush, you need a steady hand and a mouse that isn't shaking like an old woman trying to pick up a gallon of milk. Gaming mice offer a much higher level of precision than an average no-name 5$ mouse will, they are also built to last and take abuse. 

Red E-3lue E-Blue Cobra
Price: $14.00 on Amazon 

Anker 8200 DPI High Precision Laser Gaming Mouse
Price: $39.99 on Amazon 


:bulletpink: Do you use a tablet? If so how often do you use it?
:bulletpink: Are there any other tools you use to complete your digital art besides your computer?

Skin by SimplySilent

Why I Can Take Feeback

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 9, 2014, 5:24 PM
And why being critiqued doesn't hurt me, even when the person providing the critique is out to hurt me. 

While all feedback is appreciated, it's not all weighted the same. 

I appreciate all feedback I get. Even if it's "This is shit, the shadows look like garbage!". "But Abbey that was really mean and not constructive at all!" I don't care. It tells me to take a second look at the shadows.
"But what if it's just "This is shit!" offering no indication as to why!?" Then I think to myself "Is it shit?". "So you just listen to every asshole who says something to you?" 
That would be INSANE. Why would I care if someone with scribbles in their gallery thought I was garbage? The more dickish the feedback the more talented you better be. But the thing is, people with talent don't tend to run around throwing petty insults.
I always welcome it. I always appreciate it.  I don't always consider applying it. 
And I certainly don't interact with trolls.

Now this does NOT mean if you aren't talented/knowledgeable that you shouldn't give feedback.  That is also insane. I can't cook but I can appreciate good food, and explain why something to me is gross. I can't act but I can tell you why someone is a good actor, and why someone to me isn't. 
The whole mindset of "If you can't do it you have no right to comment on it" is dumb. You have opinions, and you have insight. Just because they aren't on a technical level doesn't mean they aren't incredibly valuable.  

The idea of some opinions meaning more than others may seem harsh, but think about it this way: Your car is busted, so you have you cousin Tommy look it. He's a super manly man, knows a thing or two about cars. Then you have a certified mechanic with 15 years experience look at it. Then your shitty second cousin Larry comes along and calls you a moron for breaking your car. While you appreciate your cousin Tommy's time you are going to listen more to the mechanic in the end, and you are going to ignore Larry because he's a loser. 

All I am saying is that you need to considered people's opinions appropriately. Consider what was said, what was shown, who said it, and how many times it was said. Ask yourself "Are my shadows shit?", and be honest. And then respond accordingly.  Frankly, usually just a "Thanks" is fine. Why people feel the need to defend their artistic actions, when receiving an asshole comment, like they are in courtroom is beyond me. 

And you can go on about how "People shouldn't be mean" "People should do this" "People shouldn't do that", but you can't control other people's actions. You can only control yours. 
This isn't about letting dicks get away with being dicks. This is about preserving your feelings, your ego, your passion and your enthusiasm. While also not coming off like a know it all  brat who can't take criticism. 

TL;DR: Know when to listen and when not to. 

s k i n b y p y e k

The Wow Effect: Wrap Up

Mon Apr 7, 2014, 12:00 PM by AbbeyMarie:iconabbeymarie:

What Makes Great, Great?

Aeirmid laid out the various aspects that great art holds. Including great composition, consistent lighting and shadows, and interesting perspective! And, for me, the most important aspect a great photo-manipulation  can have is a story, meaning, and purpose. 

City of Dreams by Helga-Hertzwhisper in the wind by whispyrrWhat they deserve by cunene
Beneath the Tulips by kuschelirmel
The Untold Story by xetobyte

Off Site Tutorial Feature

I scoured the internet and found a plethora of top notch photo-manipulation tutorials offering unique and versatile effects! My three favorite being:

Paint with fire

Type: Fantasy
"In this tutorial, we’re going to take a simple model shot and transform it into a spitting, crackling beacon of fire. Using some of the most common Photoshop tools (like Smudge, Dodge and Burn) Neville D’Souza shows how to create a complicated artwork without relying on third-party plug-ins."


Stitches Tutorial

Type: Dark
"Part 3 of our 4 Weeks of Terror tutorial series, in which we'll create torn flesh effects with basic digital painting techniques. My Wacom tablet has been gathering dust in the wardrobe for a couple of years now, so it’s great fun putting it to good use again. This walkthrough is written with tablet users in mind, however all effects can be achieved with a mouse also."


Create a Fantasy Girlbird

Type: Fantasy, Surreal
"What is more fun than mixing people with animals? The results can often be cute, funny, or even a bit disturbing. In today’s tutorial, I will demonstrate how to create a fantasy bird girl illustration using digital painting and photo manipulation techniques."


Why It Rocks

Aeirmid showed us 4 of her favorite photo-manipulation here on DA, sharing with us why they are some of her favorites! 

Venus by MichaelO
No "best of" collection is complete without something from MichaelO. This incredible creation is a demonstration of how good manipulation skills, some imagination, and some craftmanship with painting can go a long way to tell a story. I like the fact that the hues are complementary here; it helps add depth to the image and also to bring it together cohesively. I also like the way texturing is used to add a bit of depth and drama to the piece; I really think it adds a nice flair. Here, too, the way the lighting is done is consistent and not heavy-handed.


As we wrap up our second themed month here at WHP, I am honestly thrilled with how well everything has been going! Participation levels are great, and are encouraging us to continue to provide content that people hopefully genuinely want to consume, and more importantly, participate in!
Next month's theme is Tools of the Trade where we will talk about the different hardware, software and resources we use.

We are currently looking for gimp/non PS users to join our staff! Note the group if you are interested! 

:bulletpink: What do you look for in a tutorial? What makes a tutorial truly effective in teaching?
:bulletpink: What are the photo-manipulations that take your breath away? Share them with us below!

Skin by SimplySilent

True Detective: A Fan Art Feature

Journal Entry: Fri Apr 4, 2014, 3:30 PM

True Detective  Rust Chole  - Birds edition by norbface

True Detective Rust Chole - Birds edition


True Detective art by shwedoff True Detective by Waleria True Detective - the Taxman by obywatelsowaTrue Detective - Rust Cohle by p1xer
True Detective - Martin by norbface

True Detective - Martin


True Detective by APetrie74 True Detective : Rust Cohle by p1xer True detective poster by Melaamory
True Detective 'Cohle' Character Poster by Circusbrendan

True Detective 'Cohle' Character Poster


True Detective - Martin Hart by p1xer True Detective by SecondGoddess True Detective 'Hart' Character Poster by Circusbrendan True Detective by ArtsyAndrew

lost carcosa. by Czaritsa Time is a flat circle by ladynlmda Rust Cohle by AriellaColdheart

True Detective is both gritty and breathtaking! Highly recommended! 
Created for this contest! 

s k i n b y p y e k

Our Lovely Members #1

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 12:17 AM by AbbeyMarie:iconabbeymarie:

Art from we-HEART-photomanip's  amazing  members! 

Celestial Warrior Leah by Carlos-Quevedo

Celestial Warrior Leah


Till death do us part by neverdying

Till death do us part


A Siren's Song by SignHermitCrab

A Siren's Song


Kitsune by tamaraR



Doppelganger by guruakki
Hope by SignHermitCrab
My Immortal by k-i-mm-i-eWhite Swan by Essilou-ArtMesmerized by ivorytowers11Deep Ocean by PlaviDemon
Evil by aunx-fsAmidst dreams by tamaraRGloomy Day by CrystalClear-ArtPure Art by MelGama
Shattered by Birdsatalcatraz

Skin by SimplySilent

A Tutorial Feature

DA has an amazing tutorial section, but it's always good to gather resources from more than one place. So, here is a list of some outstanding tutorials I have stumbled upon. Some are old, some are new, but all of them are worth giving a look at!

Free Tutorials

Giger Style Photoshop Tutorial

Type: Science Fiction, Dark
"For the final installment of our Sci-Fi series, I thought it would be good to up the ante and do something real crazy. The following walkthrough outlines the techniques and resources used to create a Giger influenced ‘Biomech’ piece. Many of the processes are very similar to our previous walkthroughs, however this type of work requires an important added ingredient: patience!!"


Texture for Beautiful Composition

Type: Abstract
"In this tutorial we will be taking a look at masking and how you can give your work a sense of depth using this technique, as well as layering textures and elements to help lift your piece – in this case using paper to create rock and mountain-like elements. This tutorial is an example of how a few simple techniques can be used to create more elaborate illustrations."


Amazing Space Battle Scene

Type: Science Fiction
"In this tutorial I'll show you how to create a sci fi artwork with spaceship, planets and galaxy. You'll learn how to compose and manipulate some space elements together as well as blend them correctly and effectively. You can also learn to create some different kinds of lighting, work with group, use brush, masking and more."


Design a Rusted Metal Face

Type: Abstract
"In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Design a Rusted Metal Face Manipulation with Abstract Falling Lines in Photoshop. The Aim of this tutorial is to cover some interesting techniques when it comes to applying textures to human skin, as well as creating simple abstract lines via the Warp Tool."


Stitches Tutorial

Type: Dark
"Welcome to Part 3 of our 4 Weeks of Terror tutorial series, in which we’ll create torn flesh effects with basic digital painting techniques. My Wacom tablet has been gathering dust in the wardrobe for a couple of years now, so it’s great fun putting it to good use again. This walkthrough is written with tablet users in mind, however with a bit of patience – all effects can be achieved with a mouse also. Let’s go!"


Advanced Composting Techniques

Type: Abstract
"In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to incorporate all these elements into one image and get a dreamy, surreal atmosphere inspired by nature. Becha explains how to make ceramic facial masks that match a model’s face and how to give vector lettering a three-dimensional look. She also looks at how textures can be used to enhance an atmosphere and how adjustment layers can integrate unusual elements."


Surreal Gothic Artwork

Type: Fantasy, Dark
"Learn how to create this creepy gothic artwork in Photoshop! In this tutorial, you will learn how to create create a symmetrical background, add reflections, and warp a face so that it looks like a child. Try it out!"


Create a Fantasy Girlbird

Type: Fantasy, Surreal
"What is more fun than mixing people with animals? The results can often be cute, funny, or even a bit disturbing. In today’s tutorial, I will demonstrate how to create a fantasy bird girl illustration using digital painting and photo manipulation techniques. Let’s get started!"


Removing Objects

Type: Surreal
"Content Aware Fill, Spot Healing Brush – you name it.. there’s tonnes of snazzy ways to remove objects in Photoshop, and every tool has it’s uses. In this tutorial we look at three techniques for removing elements from a photo, including Content Aware Fill, the Patch Tool and Digital Painting techniques for trickier tasks. All serious Photomanipulators should have these powerful tools in their repertoire."


Dynamic Art with Lighting Effects

Type: Abstract
"Kervin Brisseaux shares his techniques to create a super-powered athlete within an atmosphere that draws on the traditions of sci-fi art, as well as religious iconography such as stained glass windows. Some of the key techniques we will be using include adjustment layers, blending modes, and even Illustrator to create some key elements (though it’s possible to follow this without using Illustrator). "


Create Awesome Planet Explosion

Type: Science Fiction
"In this tutorial, I will show the methods you can use to create this awesome planet explosion effect in Photoshop. We will use a few simple manipulation and selection techniques, mixing with custom brush painting and finally, adjustment layers for adding colors."


Paint with fire

Type: Fantasy
"In this tutorial, we’re going to take a simple model shot and transform it into a spitting, crackling beacon of fire. Using some of the most common Photoshop tools (like Smudge, Dodge and Burn) Neville D’Souza shows how to create a complicated artwork without relying on third-party plug-ins."


Intense Fallen Angel Composition

Type: Fantasy
"Read this tutorial to learn how to create this dramatic fallen angel scene. This tutorial will cover essential photo manipulation techniques such as painting, complex masking lighting effects, and more!"


Create a Snowy Landscape

Type: Fantasy
"Photoshop is a great tool because it allows us to be creative and produce imagery that would be impossible to create otherwise. In this tutorial, we will create a snowy landscape from desert photography and photos of sand. Let's get started!"


Paid Tutorials/Courses

While "free" is great, paid resources offer a more in depth and higher quality level of learning. All the things they skim by, don't mention, or don't spend time on in free tutorials get thoroughly explained in a paid for course/tutorial. They are also much more focused, rather than just being a bunch of random tutorials stringed together making them much more easy to comprehend.  

Spending some money on refining your skills is not a decision you will regret!

Art System Photoshop

Art System Photoshop focuses on the fundamental skills of putting together a photo-manipulation. Right now, it's 87USD and the course that will most likely suite your needs the most. The main course contains 25 different videos, along with 2 different side courses.

Phlearn Pro Tutorials 

Find in depth tutorials on retouching, compositing, special FX, coloring and basic PS training for around 25USD a course. They also have specialized packs that are 4 courses for 75USD (4 for the price of three).

Alexia Sinclair Courses

Alexia Sinclair is a pro artist who heavily uses PS in her works. She has two different courses available, "A frozen Tale" which is a breakdown of her post-production work in her series "A Frozen Tale"  and "A frozen Tale - Beauty Retouch" which is 4 videos walking through the beauty retouching techniques in the same series.

Looking Ahead

The month of The Wow Effect will be going on from MArch 17th - April 13th

Week One: What Makes Great Great
Week Two: Offsite Tutorial Feature (current)
Week Three: Why It Wows
Week Four: Wrap up

Always feel free to request a certain theme or subject!

Skin by SimplySilent

Artist of the Month #1: Gejda

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 12:18 AM by AbbeyMarie:iconabbeymarie:

Marta Dec aka Gejda


Hello Marta! Why don't you tell use a little about yourself? 
Hi! I'm a self-taught digital artist from Poland, currently living in a rather small town - Piła. I've been here on dA for... well, around 8 years now. In real life I'm a flutist - I'm currently preparing for entrance exams to Music Academy. Other than that? Well, I adore books, cats, and history. I'm also severely addicted to tea.

How would you describe your art and your style?
Well, one of the first things you'll probably notice if you have a look around my gallery is that I like intense colours. Most of my works fit either into fantasy or sci-fi category; I have a weakness for all things magical and different. Another thing is that I rarely use many photos in a manipulation - sadly I don't have a good eye for details, hence the reason my works are rarely very complex. I usually focus on trying to create a memorable atmosphere, catching the viewer's eye with colours or lighting.

When do you discover your passion for art? What are your motivations for doing art? 
Honestly, I don't remember a time when art wasn't my passion. It's always been a big part of my life in one form or another - music, writing, drawing, then when I got a little older - photomanips and painting. When it comes to visual things, I've always wanted to make characters and scenes from books or my own stories more real - so I started drawing, found dA, then got interested in photomanipulation... 
As for my motivations? Art has always been about escape from reality for me - the world gets a little less bleak when you see (or create) something beautiful. 

Do you have any tips for someone just starting out in digital art?
Don't get easily discouraged - I think all of us have looked at someone else's artwork and sighed - "I'm never going to be as good". Sure you are, but it takes time and determination - everything that's worth something does. And don't be afraid to ask questions if you need help - there are tons of really helpful people out there.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? Still doing art, or do you have other goals? 
Definitely still doing digital art - it's a hobby I'm not planning on giving up anytime soon! I do hope to be a lot better at painting by then, though. I'll also have hopefully finished my education and fulfilled at least a part of my goals and dreams - but I guess we'll see how it goes! ; )

Thank you for the wonderful interview, Marta! 

Artist Links

Commission Info | Shadowness | Behance

Morning angel by Gejda

Don't remember me by Gejda

Morning by Gejda

Solitude by Gejda

Breach by Gejda

Skin by SimplySilent

Dark Photo-manipulation Tutorials

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 12:47 AM

Dark Photo-manipulation Tutorials 

Deviantart is filled to burst with tutorials that will satisfy the hunger in any budding dark photo-manipulation artist. When fallowing a tutorial, if you want to get the most out of it, make sure to mix, match, experiment, and make it your own. Look past what a tutorial is and start looking at what it could be and you'll be creating people's nightmares in no time!


Demon Eyes Ps Tutorial by LadyEvilArts Rise from pixels - Tutorial by Drake1024 Fang and Blood tutorial by JoeleneyBeaney Broken Glass Tutorial by AbbeyMarie Raven eye tutorial by bloodspit Bloodshot Eyes - Photoshop Video Tutorial by conzpiracy Possessed Glossy Eyes - Photoshop Video Tutorial by conzpiracy Removing Objects Photoshop Video Tutorial by conzpiracy

Light and Atmosphere

"Creepy" Skin by BrittanyManuel The Lighting Tutorial - Part 1 by kuschelirmel-stock The Lighting Tutorial - Part 2 by kuschelirmel-stock Tutorial Light and Mood  (Photoshop) by nova63 Day Into Night Tutorial (PART ONE) by SteveWackenKing


Making Ghosts (tutorial) by zummerfish Disintegration Effect Tutorial by zummerfish Manip T+T - Creating Fire by kuschelirmel-stock Dark Wings Dark Words Evolution by kuschelirmel-stock Zombie tutorial by mai-coh The key to Her Heart | PSD File Tutorial by Essilou-Art Hallow Face Tutorial by AbbeyMarie Tutorial Evil face by starscoldnight by StarsColdNight Rage Virus - Photoshop Horror Tutorial by conzpiracy


Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial by conzpiracy B-Movie Title Tutorial by conzpiracy Blood Type Photoshop Tutorial by conzpiracy

What Makes Dark Art Dark?

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 2:45 AM

What Makes Dark Art, Dark

Dark art is an incredibly versatile genre. It can be mixed, mashed up, and paired with several other different art styles whether it be surreal, conceptual, science fiction - the list goes on and on. Not only that, but's it's often directly associated with and compared to other art genres, mainly the emotional art genre. So then, what makes something dark? What makes dark art so unmistakably it's own genre? Let's find out!

The Screaming Sea - PRINT available by nina-Y Corpus Delicti - Disquisition II by fantasio The Strain by neverdying Fallen by michellemonique

A Sinister Feeling

Sinister, giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen. For me, the word sinister describes dark art the best. While there are certain colors and subject matters that are often associated with dark art, I believe it transcends visuals. All you really need is that feeling of "there is something very wrong here". The colors can be bright, the subject can be beautiful, and the atmosphere can be calm but the overall feeling of evil, danger or malicious intention is what makes the piece of art dark.

And while not popular among photo-manipulators, the killer combination of creepy and cute can't be denied. It's the sweet and salty of the art world! 

Community Thoughts

I asked some of my fellow deviants to share with us what they think makes dark art dark.
"I think dark art always carries a cold feeling. Also the color pallet you would use over all in a dark artwork is mostly either cold colors or dark colors. It's good if there's a little splash of something bright, just to give it all some contrast. But to me I would say a dark work is consist of one or more of the following elements; The feeling of death, dread, fear, depression, anything a bit more to what the masses believe to be the negative side of things. I say what the masses believe, because for a dark artist dark works is beautiful. Or to me at least. Dark works are much more beautiful in my eyes than 'happier' artworks. I think every dark artist finds relief and solace in the darker side of life." - mippieArt
"Dark art, to me, is that which explores the macabre, or delves into the side of human nature that is usually hidden because it is uncomfortable. Gore may be a feature, but it is certainly not essential, nor is dark art limited to the bloody. That which makes us squirm, that forces us to face the less attractive elements of our psyche are the quintessential elements of dark art." - Nolamom3507
"I've always viewed dark art as unsettling or disturbing in some emotional or imaginative regard. There is certainly a haunting aspect to it." - Emerald-Depths
"For me, it's the mood it creates. The mood should be somber or even shocking. A lot of people confuse dark with emotional, so I want to distinguish between a dark mood and, say, depression. Decrepitude, emptiness, decay... things that hit you in the pit of your stomach rather than in your heart... things that make your spine tingle.... these are darkness. The difference is practically visceral."  - Aeirmid
"1) Sad emotions
2) Gothic elements used like skulls, Gothic architecture etc
Personally for me is very hard to distinguish dark and emotional genre (depicting sad emotions), they are really very similar.
Dark-fantasy is combination that can't exist to my mind, all I've seen under this category was fantasy not dark, these two genres exclude each other, total opposites.
Considering other mixes, if I need to find out which category the particular piece belongs, I start to count percentage of elements used, but with mixed genres no one can be 100% sure." - LadyEvilArts
"There is always a 'story' behind every 'dark' art. I create 'dark' art that doesn't even look dark.. until you notice few things. Mine look peaceful. Your first look over them is like oh such a lovely mood in this piece, and then you see it. A falling person, a corpse or something. I think 'dark' means different things for people." - Nephire
"How the artist uses color (whether a dark or light palate), ambiance or story.
A chubby little boy licking a lollipop on a chubby crocodile he mistakes for a stump could become many things with depending on even the smallest nuances.
...but even then I think I really depends on if the artist thinks their art is dark." - itznikki530

 Between life and death by Aegis-Strife Paint It Black. by daunhaus Swamp mermaid by inSOLense Aurum Exigo. by hybridgothica

Emotional Versus Dark 

Personally, I believe dark art and emotional art are miles apart. Sorrow, love, longing, and lust are what define the emotional art genre for me.  There is nothing inherently evil about what's being portrayed, it's more depressing or desperate than sinister. Though, it's easy to see why the lines between the two are blurred for some people, or why some consider them almost the same thing. Right now with the current trends, they both share a number of common elements, colors, visuals and cliches, but that wasn't always the case. While looking for art to feature in this journal, I noticed that the dark art from 5 years ago was much more surrealistic and conceptual. Go back even further and they are grungy, crude, and very horror like. 

While right now it might be the gorgeous Gothic girl with a focus on killer atmosphere and lighting, a couple years from now it could be something completely different visually. The feeling of dread, decay, and evil are what stick around. It's the common thread that ties the whole genre together. 

Symphony of Destruction by Lady-Symphonia Butterflies and Ravens by Whendell Elegy of Decay by BigBad-Red Depression by alnour

Dark is In the Eye of the Beholder

When we look at something we are looking at it through a lens that is specific to us. The visuals and feelings I perceive as dark could be completely different than your own, and because of this it's pointless to draw lines in the sand about what is and isn't dark art. When there are people who can look at a painting of rainbows and puppies and turn it into a twisted tale, or people who can create a nightmarish monster and make it have a sense of hope and happiness, trying to enforce any strict definition of dark art is pointless because it's completely up the the viewers interpretation.

And like with so many other things in the art world, what makes dark art dark is completely and utterly subjective. How unsatisfying, or it's extremely satisfying. That's subjective, too!

Last Rite V by BigBad-Red Angels Emerge by ChisSweetArt Birth of the Saviour by Wesley-Souza [PLAGUE] by Technochrist

What are your thoughts?

- What do you personally think makes dark art dark?
- Do you think there is a clear line between emotional art and dark art?
- Does dark art have any limits in terms of what genres it can be paired up with?

Hallow Face Tutorial - Feedback Needed!

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 13, 2014, 1:41 AM
So I finally got around to writing a tutorial for a hallow face effect. I have been saying I was going to do it for ages now!

Hallow Face Tutorial by AbbeyMarie

I absolutely hate making, and reading, those giant image tutorials so I have been thinking about a way to avoid making them, but still providing tutorials.

I decided I would create a HTML document. A little faux webpage that host the tutorial. That way it will still be in the tutorial section, you can still save it to your computer, and you don't need the internet to view it.  And I won't need to make those god awful images anymore. The only down side is that you do have to download it in order to read the tutorial, but that's not a big deal. 

In order to do this I had to dust off my web development skills that I haven't used in a good 2 and a half years so I need feedback on two things:
  1. How does the page look? Does it look wonky? Is it easy to read?
  2. How does the tutorial seem? Is it easy to fallow?
I already know the images have loads of spelling errors! I forgot to spell check them, and now I have to redo them completely because I merged the text and images together. 

Anyway, any feedback is highly appreciated. Also feel free to suggest tutorials. I won't promise I'll do them but I like knowing what people are interested in seeing.!

s k i n b y p y e k

Lessons Learned: Wrap Up

Mon Mar 10, 2014, 12:38 AM


For the first week we focused on Advice and how valuable it is (or isn't)! We talked about advice we don't agree with, advice we have ignored, and advice we would personally give. Some pieces of advice given include:
If someone critiques your work, don't get insulted - constructive critique can really help a new artist! but also don't be afraid to disagree - people comment on different things, and some are a matter of opinion.

My first piece of advice would be to always think about what you are going to do before you start it : I have a tendency to rush when I find a stock image that inspires me or when I get an idea and most of the time it ends up in a work I cannot finish. No need to rush, it will make you waste time !

MippieArt's response to a piece of advice that is overrated:
Mmm, hard to say. I think it would probably be people who say that just do what you love doing and everything will be fine. Yeah do what you love doing, but with it come a lot of shlep work that might be not so fun to do but are worth doing. You need to put a lot of work in to get anything out.

Past Mistakes

The second week was all about our Past Mistakes! I shared how I got into digital art(and DA) by using less than legitimate stock, and through the humor of the cosmos mistakenly deleted the original journal.

I asked "Do you think public shaming is a good way to teach someone a lesson?" and while nobody was completely for it, no one seemed to be particularly against it either, I am always interested in people's thoughts on the subject of public shaming, if you want to share your opinion on it please do!

Our Greatest Achievements Feature

And lastly, I asked people to share their Greatest Achievement! Almost everyone shared more than one piece, because they are awesome, so I choose the ones they stated were their favorite!
Secrets Await by CrystalClear-Art
"This is the work I'm most proud of. It can be hard, for me at least, to blend images together, adjust and match color details, and create good light and shadow using my iPad. I feel like this was the first time that everything I was trying to do just came together."

Skins Crawling by mippieArt
"And of course my first and only DD. Very proud moment this, because my mentor Aeirmid (who gave me a lot of grief with my work, she was tough but brilliant at teaching me) gave this to me, and I was just so happy that she finally thought my work was on THAT level. Lov her too bits, don't get me wrong."

Ocean Soul by DemonikaDemise
"Thus far Ocean Soul is one of my biggest achievements to date. I had this idea for about 2 years and I kept pouring over it in my head and no idea of hot to execute it would come. Jade and I got into a discussion and I threw this idea at her, and she basically said to me (paraphrasing here) "Why not just try it, what do you have to lose?" I sat down and it just all fell into place, she was right. I truly like how it turned out."

Never Dying by sylor41
"Never Dying was my first piece to use a relatively large amount of characters in a scene some-what cohesively, so at the time I was really proud of that. While it has a TON of flaws, it still holds a special place in my gallery."

Dreaming of magic by Gejda
"I don't have one particular piece I am the most proud of, but my first (and only for now) DD would be one of these. Other than that - "Grey" - first time I ever won something in a contest, and "Morning Angel" - probably my first deviation that got over 100 favs. I also learned a lot while making "Dreaming of magic", and I still consider it one of my favorites."

Freedom - The carousel by SignHermitCrab
"The oldest but, far away, the most popular. I did it in a moment of my life when I was very bad. I never succeeded to give such an emotional feeling again since I did this one."

Way to My Inner Self by itznikki530
"This is definitely my favorite as of now. I put so much thought into it...more than I ever have in the past. I made sure each stock I used could be explained, and that's something I usually stink at doing."

LoseYourself by debzdezigns-lamb68
"Lose Yourself. This is one of my faves (and my profile pic) because of the magical feel. I believe this is one of my more popular ones too. I was learning about lighting when I made this one."

Farewell by amrgalal7
"Mainly because I can touch an improvement with colours!"

Terra Vulgaris by brietolga
"This took me a lot of power, a lot of time (many days), a lot of imagination and a lot of PS knowledge."

Regina Noctis by Nameda
"Because this redo showed how much I have improved over the years and it is so much better than the old version"

spam! by SoulcolorsArt
"It was a lot of work, but I love how it turned out!"

The Golden Hour by areemus
"I put a lot of ENERGY and thoughts on this one...The surreal feelings inside this artwork make me love it even more!"

Wrap Up

Thus ends the month of Lessons Learned! I want to thank everyone who participated in the journals - you are the BEST!! The next theme will start on the 17th of March and will be The Wow Effect. We will talk about how to wow, what makes something wow, and other wow related things!

If you have any opinions or ideas for the journals, the group, or anything please share them! What would you like to see? What wouldn't you like to see? What did/didn't you like? Overall, did you like the journals and how they were presented? Anything! Negative or positive - I want it all!

Written by AbbeyMarie

Lessons Learned

The month of Lessons Learned took place from February 17th to March 16th.

Week One: Advice
Week Two: Past Mistakes
Week Three: Greatest Achievements
Week Four: Wrap up (Current)

Always feel free to request a certain theme or subject!

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Under Loved #1

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 12:11 AM

Under Loved Artist:


Autumn anxiety by miggidi-mort Almost Human by miggidi-mort Bloodbrother 2.0 by miggidi-mort
Mein herz brent by miggidi-mort Infinite calm by miggidi-mort

Under Loved Art:

Adulterium by b-lackdante

City lights by Gejda

Fowl Samurai by FlewDesigns

The Wasp Factory by Cakobelo

The Knowledge of The Rejection by LenteScura

Rituals by Forjani

Vampires Princess II by kitkat523

*** by Anithka

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Lessons Learned: Greatest Acheivments

Mon Mar 3, 2014, 12:04 AM

Share with us a piece of your art you are most proud of!

And tell us why! We all have a piece in our gallery that we love. Maybe because while making it we finally figured something out, something in our brain just "clicked" and we had some sort of revelation. Maybe it was one of the first stepping stones to a style that you felt was truly yours. Or maybe you won an award, or someone you look up to acknowledge and praised it. Whatever the reason may be: achievement unlocked! 

It may not be your best piece, or even you most popular, but you know while making it you learned, you grew, or you achieved something you hadn't before,

You can share one, or ten, or twenty - I don't care! Just tell me why you choose the one(s) you choose!
War Pestilence Death, and Firefly remain my favorite pieces in my gallery. I wish I could recapture what I did in them. Right now, I have my fingers in so many different genres that I like to look back and remember that that's what I want to go back to. I especially like Firefly. It was made Sep. 10th, 2012, and has yet to break 75 favorites, but I still love it! ...Even if I am the only one who does!

War Pestilence Death by AbbeyMarie War Pestilence Death by AbbeyMarie Firefly by AbbeyMarie
Then of course my very first, and only, art DD!

Ordeal of Glass by AbbeyMarie
I shared mine, now you have to share yours - them the rules! You, your art, and your reasons will be featured in this months Warp Up journal!

Written by AbbeyMarie

Looking Ahead

The month of Lessons Learned will be going on from February 17th - March 16th

Week One: Advice
Week Two: Past Mistakes
Week Three: Greatest Achievements  (Current)
Week Four: Wrap up - Feature and summary of all that went on during "Lessons Learned".

Always feel free to request a certain theme or subject!

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Magnificent Marvels #1

Sat Mar 1, 2014, 12:25 AM

Elysian Citadel by KarimFakhoury
Queen of the hill by kidy-kat Forgotten Melody by obereg Bloody Zodiac. Scorpio. by Vasylina <da:thumb id="423386737"/> Honey by megan7
It All Needs To Stop by BossLogicFamiliars by Autonoe Singularity 2.0 by streetX222 Angel In The Making by MichaelO 'Nachtmar' by J-u-d-a-s Futurum by MachiavelliCro
Botanical bird 1 by MarcelaBolivarMedusea by Alcove Aeon Loop by conzpiracy AmalgaMATE 7 by MichaelO Twixt by LadyEvilArts Amber by Whendell 
the Cover Up by alltelleringetAriel by ErikShoemaker Darling Violetta (Commission) by MizzCarnage Wandering by Iskander1989 XIV Temperance by fantasio Self corruption by Iskander1989
Keeper by Drake1024Frozen (Elsa) by AllaD8 Mechanica by MachiavelliCro Briar Rose and her bittersweet nightmares by nina-Y ABBEY by SHUME-1 Bloody Zodiac. Virgo by VasylinaLet's Paint by FlobelebelebobeleArgus, The Hundred-Eyed Giant by RusalkaD The lost dust,.. by RAichy Stubborn by Aegis-Strife Enyo by m4gik Estasi di santa Teresa d'Avila by IgorVoloshinLost Legends by Tri5tate

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The Voice of Manipulation

Thu Feb 27, 2014, 12:04 AM

What is it?

As a lot of you undoubtedly know, The Voice of Manipulation is a video podcast hosted by mippieArt that was made by manipulators for manipulators! And, to my knowledge, is the first of it's kind! Segments include reporting on the current news going on in the community, featuring both new and old artist, and promoting contest. It's released on a semi weekly basis, and stands to be a very digestible 10 to 15 minutes long.

It's an very clever idea that, with a little help from the very community it caters to, can become something incredible.

The Voice of Manipulation - Episode Two

Interview with mippieArt

Hello mippieArt! Please introduce yourself!
Hey there! I am Leana, or on DA known as mippieArt. I have two huge passions in life; ART, and helping others. DA is where I create my own reality and it's my home in that sense.

This seems like a hefty project to take on. What made you want to start The Voice of Manipulation?
Well I actually got the inspiration from a game review show I saw on YouTube, and thought that it might be a interesting and new idea to do something like that for the PM community. If there's one thing I have learned in my life, is that a new idea is a mostly a good idea.

What's your main goal in starting this project? What do you ultimately want it to become?
Thing is I am a bit of a lazy reader, and this show is for other people who are also a bit lazy with reading. The aim is to give people a round up of everything going on in the community. But it will only start working exactly as I envision it when I get more involvement from the viewers. Ultimately I would like to get at least 1000 views every time I post a new video. Later when it becomes more popular I will be selling advertisement spaces on the show also, but this will only happen if I get a lot more involvement and viewers. It's suppose to be a HUGE platform for PM members to promote themselves on.

Right now you have 4 segments on the show: news, new artist, contest, and great artist being great are there any other segments/ideas you hope to add in the future?
Yeah, like I mentioned above, I would like to have an adevertisement segment also. But right now I don't think it would be very beneficial. It is something that will come as the group and show grows in popularity.

Other than yourself, who else works on TVOM?
I have a team yeah who help me with the group submissions. Each one of them are in charge of a segment also, although in the end I still have the final say. Contest is nikkidoodlesx3, New artists is Shedboy68 and Great artists is SweetDA Although these are my helpers, it doesn't mean that members of the public can't send us suggestions of things to feature in the show. If you know of a popular artist doing great things, or a contest going on that we haven't featured yet, or a new or unpopular artist who's doing great in their work, please note me or the group. I really want people to get involved with this. That's the aim of the game!!!

Any final words? Maybe advice to other people looking to start a large project?
Mmm, I think you need to have the passion for something like this if you want to do it. I don't think you can ever start a huge project without really wanting to do it first of all. Also I would say make sure that you will have means through witch to promote your project before you start with it. Many websites and projects fail because the person who started it had no contacts to help them with spreading the word. And on the internet it's all about how many people are speaking about you. Also make sure you know what it's going to take to make a success out of it. And then finally, PATIENCE!! If you are very lucky it will be an instant hit, but most likely it will take time to grow. So just nurture it, put the work and love in, and eventually it will pay off!!

Fallow Them!

You can subscribe to their YouTube channel or join their group TheVoiceOfManips.

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Lessons Learned: Past Mistakes

Tue Feb 25, 2014, 8:18 PM

We all make mistakes. Sharing our mistakes not only helps other people avoid making the same mistake, and reminds us all that none of us are some shimmering spire of perfection (though some will claim to be), but it's also satisfying looking back on what you have learned since then or how much you have improved.

“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

A Little Theft Here and There

It was 2006, Myspace was at it's peak! I got into designing DIV layouts - layouts that completely overhauled the default Myspace look. I quickly picked up HTML/CSS and was on my way to success. Then a couple months in I stumbled upon a little site called Deviant Art, and it had the prettiest photos you have ever done seen, perfect for making DIV layouts that all the cool Myspace scene kids would love. I doubt I need to spell out the rest. I quickly gained popularity and never got caught. I'd say I used illegitimate "stock" photos from DA in those layouts until about 2008.

Why did I eventfully stop and go legitimate? Surely it was because I started respecting the sanctity of copyright, right? NOPE. Of course I eventfully did, and now do, but at the time it was strictly because I knew how unforgiving the art community was and it was a hell fire I had no interest in tasting.

That was my mistake. All done in the quest for popularity. Doing anything strictly for popularity is a mistaking in and of itself.

Just because I never got caught doesn't make it any less of a mistake, and while I won't ask you to share your mistakes and regrets...I would love it if you did. ;)

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

Forgiveness, and Consequences. Or Lack there of.

How easily do you forgive people's mistakes?
Are you a never forgive never forget type of person? Or are you more interested in helping people correct their mistakes rather than punish them for it?

Do you believe people easily when they say they are sorry?
If not, what does a person have to do to prove they are sorry and learned their lesson? Is there anything they can do, or are you just done with that person?

Do you think public shaming is a good way to teach someone a lesson?
It's a popular method here on DA. Particularly with theft.

Mistakes In Our Art

Let's bring this into a more artistic direction. One of the most satisfying things about being an artist is looking back on an old work and being able to see all the mistakes you made. "What was I thinking?" "How did I not see that?!" It's concrete evidence of improvement, and reassurance that we are indeed getting better.

Share with us a piece of art that is just ripe with mistakes.
Whether it's the composition, composting, color, concept or a combination of all three, You loved it at the time, but it's pretty horrible and you see that now.

What's something you are currently working on correcting in your art life?
Is it a technique? An attitude? A state of mind? There is always some way we are trying to improve ourselves.


Mistakes mistakes mistakes. We should learn from them but not dwell on them, so onward to bigger, badder, and more positive things! As always feel free to also leave any feedback concerning the group and the themed months.

Journal written by: AbbeyMarie

Looking Ahead

The month of Lessons Learned will be going on from February 17th - March 16th

Week One: Advice
Week Two: Past Mistakes (current)
Week Three: Greatest Achievements - Our breakthrough moments! Nailed it!
Week Four: Wrap up - Feature and summary of all that went on during "Lessons Learned".

Always feel free to request a certain theme or subject!

This was accidentally deleted and then re-uploaded. Past comments can be seen down below

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Lessons Learned: Advice

Mon Feb 17, 2014, 12:21 AM

The Month Of Lessons Learned

The month's theme Lessons Learned was suggested and planned by AbbeyMarie! I don't know who she is, but let's hope she produced something worth participating in! If not we can all laugh at her, It'll be great.


Sometimes it's from a friend, a colleague, a mentor, or from some guy that died 500 years ago and you happened upon a quote of his on Tumblr. Whether the advice encourages or warns - it's absolutely invaluable, even if we don't always agree with the advice given, we choose to ignore it, or we simply can't apply it to our situation - it's still a glimpse into each others delicious delicious thoughts, opinions and experiences.

And yes all that still applies to people who give downright stupid advice. "Will Smith is a national hero! Getting his face tattooed on your face is a brilliant idea!"

Be delusional. It’s okay to tell yourself you’re a genius sometimes.
Jerry Saltz, Art Critic

The Questions

What are the 3 pieces of advice you would give to a new or young artist?
We all have something we value so much that we encourage other people to value it as well. We have all messed up so hard that we want to help other artist avoid making the same mistake. We have all seen an artist crumble due to one fatal flaw that we don't want to see another artist fall to.

What's one piece of advice you were given, ignored, and then regretted ignoring?
Whether it was because your ego had swallowed you whole, or because your intense levels of optimism were cringe worthy, you foolishly ignored the advice of someone who knew what they were talking about. Maybe it ended up causing you to miss out on a great opportunity, or you wound up in a big ol' pit of drama - you can now look back on that experience and go "Mayyyybe that person had a point"

If you've never experienced this, have you experienced the opposite? You did something ill advised and it worked out wonderfully?

What's one piece of advice you constantly hear, but don't agree with? Or are sick of hearing?
You hear it over and over, and you never quite agree with it. If anything, you think people should do the exact opposite!

Me, Myself, and I

It's only fair I answer some of my own questions. My three points of advice would be:
1) Keep your head down. Focusing on what everyone else is doing is just a waste of time. All it will get you is a mixture of jealousy and envy and your art will slowly die because of it. "Why does she have this and I don't!" "Omg this person sucks! Why is he so popular?!" Stop. Put your head down.  Work. One day you will look up and you will have what you have been working for IF you were working for it. It's hard to do work when you're too busy sniffing other people's asses.

2) Be sincere about your skill level, I run on self doubt and anxiety. I don't have a bone structure, it's just pure anxiety running through me at all times giving me my shape. I was told several times that the line between ego and confidence was thin and blurry. I grew up fearing "ego", and because of this I constantly belittled myself to keep my "ego" in check because it was the worst thing ever. BULLSHIT.  The line between the two are rock hard and miles long...:stare:...Don't cripple your confidence like I have. It's annoying and off putting. To both fellow artist, and even more so, to potential employers.

3) Experiment. Now and forever. Never stop. Ever.

Don’t go to a museum with a destination. Museums are wormholes to other worlds. They are ecstasy machines.

Being critical of art is a way of showing art respect.

There are many, many art worlds. Art contains multitudes.

My advice, other than making art every free minute of every day, is show up. Go to galleries. Go to openings. Be around other vampires.

Warhol changed the way the world looks and the way we look at the world. That is fucking revolutionary.
Jerry Saltz, Art Critic


I have been told "You want my advice? Don't listen to advice; all advice is shit. That's my advice." And while the irony is not lost on me, there is a point to be had. The more specific the advice the less likely someone can really apply it to their situation making it useless. Too broad and the advice turns into generic, fortune cookie garbage - also useless.  Most of the advice you receive wasn't even MEANT for your situation, you're simply forcing it to fit. Does this view hold true for any of you?


I hope I did't bore you all to death, or alternatively confuse you all. I tend to do that sometimes. The first couple themed months will be kind of a "test" to see what people dig and are interested in. We'll change things up accordingly. If you simply have opinions  about the group, the themed months and what we should and shouldn't be doing please feel free to share them as well!

Journal written by: AbbeyMarie

Looking Ahead

The month of Lessons Learned will be going on from February 17th - March 16th

Week One: Advice (current)
Week Two: Past Mistakes - Oooooppps...
Week Three: Greatest Achievements - Our breakthrough moments! Nailed it!
Week Four: Wrap up - Feature and summary of all that went on during "Lessons Learned".

Always feel free to request a certain theme or subject!

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A Group About Community

Journal Entry: Wed Feb 12, 2014, 3:41 PM
Not the TV show, but the PM community! I recently took over the group we-HEART-photomanip and decided to mix it up a bit. Personally, what I think our dear dear community needs most is discussion. Discussion about the good and the bad. And especially about the ugly. 

I also want to encourage unknown artist to make a name for themselves rather than waiting  for DD's, or various artist features. And you make a name for yourself by being involved. Having thoughts and opinions, and not just trying to hawk your wears to anyone and everyone.  

Anyway, at the end of the day I want  it  to be a high activity group full of sharing, learning and complaining. Talking, helping and bullshitting.  All the 'ings. All of them. Every single one. 

s k i n b y p y e k

Girls with Hats: a Feature

Journal Entry: Mon Jan 27, 2014, 9:12 PM
No one wants to see your naked head. Cover it up, you heathen! 

Corpus Delicti - Disquisition II by fantasio
The Queen's Return by WojciechFus  Species by alexnoreaga  Singularity by streetX222
Star Princess by Qrumzsjem
Amber by Whendell  Summer 1 by AlanWind  Pestilence by Autonoe  Rinascimento by Wen-JR
Blood Sugar by FlexDreams
Lady Le Fay by rafa-insane  She draws crosses on the walls. by daunhaus  Sanctum by The--Kyza
Horus by WojciechFus
The War Fairy by GeorgeLovesyArt  Martini Rosso 2012 (V2) by ilona-veresk  Zyklon-G MK1 by BossLogic  THE LOOK by Sallow  
Queen of the hill by kidy-kat

PS. I'm totally not procrastinating right now. 

s k i n b y p y e k

3 Sites I Can't Recommend Enough

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 17, 2014, 7:22 PM
I never liked tutorial sites. All they seemed to offer was a slew of cheap tricks and what ever lame effect was trending at the time. I believe tutorials should be singular effects that can be built upon, used across different genres, and most importantly timeless. That is what SurrealPSD offers, along with articles concerning freelance work, and photomanipulation (as opposed to graphic design). It's a shinning gem. Plus it's ran by conzpiracy, so you know it's legit. 

The Realities of a Freelance Digital Artist

Phlearn is geared towards photographers and more conservative edits so it will help you incorporate realism and subtly into your art.  It also showed me tools I never looked twice at, but now use in 80% of my manips (such as "Blend If") and furthered my obsession for the curves adjustment layer. God damn do I love the curves adjustment layer. 

As one photomanipulator to another I strongly advise learning the basics of photography.


This is just an insane free digital painting resource. I can't speak much on it yet since I haven't had time to really dig into the videos but I sure as hell intend to. 

Again, even if you don't intend to incorporate a lot of digital painting into your photomanips, learning the basics is highly suggested.


Do you have any sites that you fallow and recommend? 

s k i n b y p y e k