Thursday, January 3, 2008

Obsidian Dawn Brushes with Stephanie Shimerdla!!!

Your name?
Stephanie: Stephanie Shimerdla, of Obsidian Dawn Brushes.
How long have you been in the photoshop business?
Stephanie: I started out about 4 years ago now, with my artwork. I would find little parts of my paintings that I just wished I had a shape that I could use over and over again to create the desired effect. Looking up that kind of thing, I learned about Photoshop brushes. So I looked up tutorials and started making my own. I found it to be quite enjoyable, obviously, because I've been making them and sharing them with the public for free now for over 2 years. I love making the brushes themselves, but I also love to give them away. I get quite a few emails now telling me that I really should be selling my creations! But there's SO many great free Photoshop brushes out there, and I really do LOVE to give my brushes away so that everyone can use them. There's tons of artists that just don't have the money to purchase brushes. I mean, Photoshop is expensive enough without having to buy other things on top of it, right? Not to mention that I'm a big believer in the "Pay it Forward" ideal. It's my good deed, so to speak, in the digital art community!

What is the best advice (Pay It Forward Style) you could give a photographer starting out in the business?
Stephanie: As far as photography goes, make sure that you have the right camera for you! Nothing too over-sensitive (unless it has a stabilizer type doohickey to keep your photos from blurring when you take too large a breath while snapping a photo!), something that will take large enough photos for references, etc. Take the time to reference it, try it out in the store if you can! As far as Photoshop goes... Tutorials! They are how I learned Photoshop, really (other than the playing around that I did myself). But there's some things you just can't learn by playing around. Check out a tutorial that looks interesting. Follow it through. Almost every single time that I did this, I learned something new about Photoshop. Now, the tutorials on my site are actually designed that way... to help teach people a new aspect of Photoshop with each tutorial, in addition to learning how to do what the tutorial itself explains!

Whats things do you have with you at your desktop while you work?
Stephanie: My camera and the photo references that I take with it, my Wacom Intuos 2 graphics tablet (6 X 8), Photoshop CS2 (CS3 if I'm making them on my Mac notebook), a bunch of iced tea, and a WHOLE list of people's brush suggestions for ideas. What is something you have learned in the past that you carry with you to the present?Stephanie: It's almost impossible to answer this, as far as life goes, anyway. I believe that every single event in our lives molds us into the person that we've become. So, in essence, everything! And I wouldn't change a thing. Because then I may not be who I am today. But as far as making brushes goes... hmm... some things don't make good brushes. I used to try to make brushes out of just about anything and everything. Because I'd seen other people do it, so I figured that it was wanted/needed. In my experience, I've found that hardly anyone uses brushes that aren't made to be able to be transparent. I've written techniques on "filling in" the transparency of brushes, but I'm not sure many people use them. In the end, it's better to make brushes out of things that can look decent transparent, or help add effects to something else.

One thing you just CANT live without?
Stephanie: In life? My computer. I spend waaaaay too much time at my computer. In business? My graphics tablet. I tried doing a lot of this stuff with a mouse for a year or so, then purchased a tablet. Now I couldn't make my brushes without it.

Your favorite quote?
Stephanie: Wow, I have several. I'll list a few. "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."-- Dr. Seuss "

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."-- William Wordsworth

"The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them."-- Stephen King
and I think my very favorite of all time is:
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Wildest Craziest Thing you have done?
Stephanie: Hmm. Probably going up to meet the man who is now my husband. We had met on an online game, and I totally trusted my gut instinct about the guy (although we'd been friends on said game for many months) and just drove up to meet him. After that, I pretty much dropped everything as soon as I got the chance (I was in college and finished the semester) to move in with him. Wild and crazy at the time (and my mother-in-law would KILL me if I did something like that now... erm, I mean meeting someone that I'd only known online, not moved in with another man - lol!), but totally worth it in the end! I wouldn't change a thing. Wildest and craziest thing that I would LIKE to do? (Yes, I'm adding this part of the question in here!) When the hubby is done with his military commitment, I'd love to just pack everything up and go travel the world. This will, of course, depend upon if we have kids and what ages they are, of course! So it may end up being delayed a few years.

Who is your hero?
Stephanie: My husband. While we have so many things in common, there are some things that he does that I could never hope to do. His writing is good enough to be published. He is a great leader - people really look up to him and admire him, I can see it in their eyes. He's in the military, and is willing to fight for what so many people take for granted... freedom. Being in the military also basically means that the government owns your life, and that's another thing I could never do! He works every day so that I can stay at home and do my artwork, make my brushes, and work on building our financial freedom in various business ventures. I respect him for those things and oh so much more.

What is your favorite technique in photoshop?
Stephanie: It changes, but I'd have to say using paths. I only learned how to use them well fairly recently, and wrote a tutorial on their usage... as well as some of the techniques that I use them for in brushmaking. Of course, paths are really the only "technique" that I use in Photoshop other than making the brushes themselves! Most of the rest is from photos or hand painted.

If you were on a boat, and stranded in the middle of the ocean, what would you do?
Stephanie: I'd look around for a desert island where I could crash and retire on a sunny beach for the rest of my days!
Scroll down and download brushes

P.S. Thank you to stephanie for the interview and pif on the blog, greatly appreciated!- Lindsay pif blogger

UPDATE RELINKED, Thanks guys for letting us know :o)


Steve said...

Hi Friends...thanks for the gift...the link seems to be dead.


JaneK said...

Thanks for sharing, but I can't get the link to work. said...

Stephanie...I just love your work...You have been paying forward for a while now on your site and the quality of your brushes are amazing!!!!

Julie Marie said...

Love your brushes... you are soooo generous !!