My daughter and I spent a half hour or so together working on a photo manipulation this past Saturday. I did most of the work – not because I had to, but because I’m trying to learn how to make better use of Photoshop.

She wanted to make a Frogator, but we couldn’t find the instructions for that. So we made the CatBird instead.


Of course, it didn’t turn out as well as the original, but it was my first try at this sort of thing, and I had a lot of fun. (I wish I’d made the head a little smaller and done less warping, but eh.)

Having so much fun with that, I decided to make a Frogiraptor too. I still didn’t have the instructions, but I sort of reviewed other tutorials and winged it a bit. Turned out okay, I thought.


The software is very powerful. You still have to have an artist’s eye for light and shadow, but aside from that, you can get pretty good results pretty simply by just using some standard filtering and layer blending options.

I’ve recently acquired Photoshop CS6, and while it’s newer and shinier, I don’t know what it offers that CS5 didn’t have yet. I guess time will show. And before I figure all that out anyway, CS7 or whatever will be available. So I guess I’ll just knuckle down and try to learn this one thoroughly. Plenty of people are still turning out great product with Photoshop 9 (which goes back to something like 2004).

Anyway, we had fun. I’m still experimenting, but it’s been a lot of fun. And I updated the cover for A Fine Cast of Characters on Amazon, too, trying to look at other covers and see what they did and whether I could imitate it somehow. I like how it turned out, though it still falls short of my vision.

AFCC Cover 3

The addition of the texture helped a lot, but I’m wondering if a stroke (which is an outline) around the the author name would’ve helped. The beveling effect on the title certainly helped, and the addition of the stage curtains was my loving wife’s idea…and darned brilliant, I thought.

So, we’re getting some mileage out of it. The Photoshop learning, I mean. And I’ve had some fun with it along the way.

Now, if I can just get my friend Elizabeth to show me where she gets her wonderful graphics so I can do some of the stuff she does…



4 thoughts on “CatBird

  1. Excellent work! I’ll bet if I sent you a pic you could make even me look pretty.

    Thanks! No promises on the retouching though. LOTS to learn yet. But my book covers are gettin’ better for it! 🙂

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