This seems to be the time when ebook readers and very small portable computers are starting to really catch on, not to mention all the ways it’s possible to read content on smart phones.
I recently read an article, The End of Book Publishing As We Know It, on Michael Hyatt’s blog. In the article there’s a video showing a slim, portable, color-format reading device Time Inc has developed for magazine content. It allows for audio, video and normal text print content to be accessed very easily all in one place at the touch of a finger.
Time (no pun intended) will tell just how much these new devices and combinations of media will affect the conventional publishing industry, but it is already true that the publishing industry is experiencing tremendous changes.
There are many new opportunities available for the individual in this evolving technical environment. Software applications at relatively low prices have made it possible for individuals to learn how to accomplish things that used to only be possible for experts with very costly equipment. One such area is the ability to print a book using, for example, Adobe InDesign or even one of the applications made freely available by online book printers such as Blurb.
The tricky part that comes with having direct access to performing these highly specialised tasks is that in order to create quality products there’s a great deal for an individual to learn. It’s crucial to assess which facets will be important to forwarding one’s own work. There are a variety of reasons for limiting just how much you intend trying to learn to do:
- learning a little of everything results in doing most things in a mediocre manner because there just isn’t enough time to truly develop more than two or three things fully and deeply
- time spent on one thing means less time spent on another which could be more important in achieving your goal
- you might end up spending much more time than you intended doing something you really don’t enjoy very much
So it’s really important to pick and choose what to learn, finding the balance that allows you to move forward with your goals, but doesn’t drain too much from your primary ambition and passion.
My primary passion is stories. I think I could do without many things, but not stories, and stories with pictures, well, I just think that’s the ultimate. I love movies, but have no interest in being directly involved in the film industry. So I’ve been concentrating on understanding what it is about the visual elements that go into art that make it successfully communicative, and what elements are important to a story to make it really interesting and exciting.
I’m still experimenting with just how my passion will express itself in my art. To try to get closer to this, I’ve been delving more deeply into color theory, composition, technique, and all types of art from fine art to illustration, cartoons, animation — everything I can set eyes on. I’ve experimented with digital painting, and more watercolor and egg tempera painting techniques.
I have also been studying writing, visual storytelling and story-boarding, and am writing a couple of fiction stories to see where they go. For the more practical side of how to communicate the art, and possibly stories, during the last year I have completed courses in all of the Adobe Creative Suite applications. My year’s subscription with Total Training will end on January 1st and so this spurred me to complete the InDesign and Illustrator courses during these last few weeks. I have also studied web design, print design, composition, layout, and a little about typography.
So that’s it for the heavy-duty studying for me, thank goodness! Now I need to develop my artwork so that it expresses my passion – and I’m not quite sure what that is yet in terms of style or subject. I think it might be bound up in expectation, and if I can let that loose, my style should just be there. When I write I have no expectation and my writing style seems to be there just simple and unsophisticated, for better or worse. I haven’t yet reached that with the art.
So here’s to the New Year, bringing new discoveries and challenges. If you have any comments on what you think it’s important to learn in today’s environment, and/or if you have any advice on reaching your own style, I’d love to hear them.