I ran across a video blog recently that really got my attention. It put into words a big picture theme I’ve been pondering lately… mastery.
What does it mean to ‘master’ your craft? Is it possible? Is it necessary? Are we even focussing on the right issues?
Because—where Photoshop is concerned—I’m not sure we are.
The blog was posted by David Duchemin and like David, I too believe mastery is possible—and desirable. But what I see in our industry is folks who believe mastery is found in knowing EVERY quick key or 100% knowing Photoshop.
It so isn’t.
Trust me. After nearly 28 years in this gig, I still discover new things daily. A single new way to colorize an entire piece or one button illustration solve.
And discovery is FANTASTIC. But it’s NOT the Holy Grail. Rocking the quick keys makes you faster, but it’s vision and creativity that set you apart from the crowd.
Sure, we ALL need to keep learning. Keeping up with the technology is critical… but it isn’t enough. It isn’t mastery. Memorizing keystrokes and shortcuts isn’t what makes our work sing. We need to relax. We need to have faith that if we keep doing the work, keep creating, keep experimenting, we’ll arrive.
I think believing that knowing every in and out of Photoshop can FEEL like mastery. It’s measurable. You can feel your progress, while mastering the art… ah, that’s so damned elusive. …And how do you even begin?
David has some fantastic suggestions:
Turn down the noise -
Do the work.. create.
Ask better questions
Now that being said, in my world there are a few things you HAVE TO MASTER in order to do your job. None of them include mastering the whole wide world of Photoshop.
I hear from lots of folks who feel frozen. They don’t believe they “know enough” to get out there and work in their field.
You do. I’m here to tell you. You do. I discover new things everyday in photoshop, and I’ve been hard at it for 25+ years.
And after all those years, I think I’m entitled to suggest a list of must-masters:
changing color and tone
file size management
Seriously. Get a handle on these skills and you’re off to a great start! Add artistry and vision to the list, and your business will explode. I mean that in a good way….
Happy Retouching one and all.
Check out David too see what you think: