Parée Erica Interview
Tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia. We also had a holiday house in the Port Stephens area (NSW, Australia), so I spent a lot of time there on weekends & holidays. I have always enjoyed music and the arts. I enjoy anything that challenges my creativity. My Father was a musician & my Mother was a talented seamstress and was always challenging herself with new crafts throughout the years. I inherited these traits from both of my parents. I have dabbled in many crafts such as sewing, folk art, tapestry, macramé (when it was fashionable… lol), ceramics, knitting, scrapbooking and photography to name a few.
I am heavily involved in the Flickr community. I am an administrator of many groups at Flickr. I have my own group which showcases artworks created using my stock & textures. There are presently over 12,000 images in the group. I am involved in running groups that run regular manipulation challenges and one group that is specifically related to tutorials and learning. When I have spare time, I enjoy playing my digital piano. I’m currently learning some of Daniel Licht’s beautiful haunting pieces from the Dexter TV series. I love to cook, I enjoy trying new recipes regularly. I find that it is relaxing & also another creative outlet and again it’s a challenge to learn something new. I also enjoy movies and crosswords.
When did you first begin to make art?
I’ve been interested in graphic arts for many years. I started with some very basic desktop publishing in the late 80s.
When did you first start using Photoshop and how did you learn?
I started using Photoshop in late 2007. I am self-taught. I started doing a few online tutorials and mainly just experimenting with Photoshop to see what capabilities all the tools had and took the time to learn how to use them.
My emotions inspire me. Music inspires me, even a single line of a song can give me an idea to create an image.
What inspires you?
I find that different things inspire me at different times. My emotions inspire me. Music inspires me, even a single line of a song can give me an idea to create an image. I will see a scene in a movie and that can also inspire me.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Most of my fave artists are from the Flickr community. Jerry Jones (AKA Skeletal Mess/Shadowhouse Studio) is one of the first artists on Flickr that I admired and he has given me a lot of inspiration. John Wilhelm is an amazing artist, his composites including his family are simply amazing.
What is your typical process when creating a piece of art?
Mostly I have a mental image of the piece I want to create before I start. It certainly does evolve during the process. Often it will turn out completely different to the mental image I had to start with.
What is your favorite Photoshop trick/method at the moment?
I don’t particularly have a favourite one at the moment, although I have been using my Wacom Bamboo tablet more recently for work on hair and animal fur. I had it sitting in a drawer for a few years and didn’t take to it all, but do use it more regularly now.
I’m not a huge fan of a lot of tools or plug-ins. I have a very simple work space and like to work in that environment and I am the same with using Photoshop.
What is your favorite Photoshop tool or plugin at the moment?
I’m not a huge fan of a lot of tools or plug-ins. I have a very simple work space and like to work in that environment and I am the same with using Photoshop. I prefer to use the basics in Photoshop to achieve the effect I am after. I feel I get more gratification if I have gone through the process of creating an effect in it’s entirety, rather than using an action or filter to achieve the effect. I do use Topaz Adjust and Virtual Photographer at times.
What work of your own are you most proud of?
That is a very hard question. I am very critical of most of my work. I love the Alice in Wonderland theme and this would be one of my faves. There were so many layers, and so many adjustments to each layer to blend them in – e.g., hue/saturation, colour balance, brightness, contrast, levels and also shadows. So there was a lot of time spent on this one.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on some CD artwork, logo’s, band posters, a book cover and setting up a website.
What would you tell someone who is starting out making Photoshop art?
I would tell them to have patience, it takes a lot of hours to get to know your way around Photoshop & to master the tools. There are many resources available online, so try out some tutorials and don’t be afraid to experiment with your Photoshop.