Create uniform hand-drawn letters in Illustrator
Deke shows you how to create custom hand-drawn letters in Illustrator, with tips for how to repeat shapes so that they look like a cohesive font.

Photoshop Top 40: The Contest Results

Myyyy Photoshop, myyyy Photoshop, Top 40! Okay, so actually, it's the Top 3. That is, the Top 3 entries in our recent Photoshop Top 40: The Contest. I asked you to create a magnificent piece of artwork that celebrates no fewer than three of the features from my Photoshop Top 40 podcast. Happily, your response was overwhelming. Sadly, your response was overwhelming on Christmas Eve, while I and my sidekick Colleen were with our children. But eventually, we found time to review all 146 enthusiastically submitted entries. (Thank you, by the way! Nothing gets us going like a hot contest!)  From that, and with great difficulty, we have selected three winners.

I promised our choices would be purely subjective. And they are. But subjected to the things we love: Photoshop craftsmanship and creative ingenuity. And, go figure, we liked pieces that celebrated the theme of the contest, Photoshop Top 40. In other words, good art direction trumped precise execution, although our winners showed some mad skills. Read more » 

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Warmest Wishes for the Holiday Season

First, thanks those of you who contributed to the Photoshop Top 40: The Contest. I had originally planned to announce winners today (Dec 24), but we had so many entries and so many of them are great that I'll need a bit more time. Colleen and I have culled the list to the Best 40 or so. and now comes the hard part. I'll shoot for getting the winners announced this weekend.

Second, and probably more important, permit me to wish you the happiest of all possible Holiday Seasons and a sensational 2010. Here's a picture of me and my two thoroughly awesome boys (care of Target, of all places!). If there are two more beautiful or exceptional children on the planet, I would like to meet them and shake their fortunate little hands.

Best of luck and a bright tomorrow. Read more » 

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Martini Hour 045, In Which Colleen and Deke find out that the Dutch Are Gracious, Funny, and Enjoy Their Edgy Traditions

Well, really, this mini-episode is more like the Dutch and American versions of St. Nicolas waging a fierce holiday battle--a joyous, racous, Jenever and herring-fueled battle though it may be. This Very Special Martini Hour features two of our new friends from Amsterdam, Bob Van Duuren and...Sinterklaas! The former is Deke's Dutch publisher. (More on him next week.) The latter is the Dutch equivalent of St. Nicolas. In the States, we have turned this character into a jolly, grandpa-like figure with a particularly girlish name. And in the process, we Americans have taken away all his edge, forced him to relocate to inhospitable terrain, and turned his dark, possibly child-stealing helpers into innocuous pointy-eared makers of toys. During our visit this month to Amsterdam--on the very eve of the celebration of Sinterklaas' birthday--Deke and I recorded this exchange of cultural transmutation. Now we offer it before you, our beloved denizens of the dekePole.

This special (and short) episode is wrapped in good will and original holiday music. By way of extra giftwrap, Deke and I have each submitted a show graphic this week. See if you can guess which of us is filled with peace and gentle good will this time of year and which of us obviously has some dark Christmases Past in their closet.

For your consideration, this:

Or this (turn the page at your own risk): Read more » 

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #17: Layer Effects

Feature #17: Layer Effects

In reviewing the prodigious creative free-for-all that is Photoshop Top 40: The Contest, I've noticed how many entrants end their lists of Top 40 features with "plus much more." As if to say, the stuff not included in my Photoshop Top 40 countdown so far could fill a book. For example, only two videos--Feature #39: Layer Comps and Feature #18: Smart Objects--specifically rely on layers. Which is a little strange, given that layers go to the core of working in Photoshop.

This week, layer lovers can take heart: First, this is a reverse-order countdown, so one might imagine that layers will begin to take a larger role. Second, this week's entry documents a feature that relies on layers, specifically layer effects. And third, you layer fans who are waiting until the last minute can include Feature #17: Layer Effects in your entry. Read more » 

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Martini Hour 044, In Which Deke Contemplates the Solitary Life of the Artist (over Drinks With Friends)

Pour yourselves a Campari and soda, dekeOpolitans, it's time for another Martini Hour. This week's installation is the last of those we recorded in Las Vegas, in the VIP lounge we retired to after our live show at Photoshop World, with two compassionate, inspiring, life-affirming teachers of photography. On my right, fine-art photographer, teacher and all-around leather-sportcoat pony-tailed source of calm inspiration, JP Caponigro. On my left, photographer, art educator,  and all around cropped-hair SoCal surfer source of energized creativity, Chris Orwig.

JP and Chris Read more » 

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