Anthony Edward uses Photoshop to create amazing composites

This week we’ll take you all the way across the pond for ‘The Creative Ones,’ Anthony (@athinlinebetween) is a talented artist living in Manchester, UK and for the most part, he is what’s wrong with Instagram and he is what’s right with Instagram, let me explain. Have you ever been on someones account on Instagram and their work is just immaculate! just spectacular, then you look at the follower count and see that they may have way fewer followers than you feel they should have? Then on the flip side, you continue looking at their gallery and regardless of their follower count, you realize that its accounts like this that’s needed on the Instagram art scene. I chat with @athinlinebetween weekly, its always fun talking with other creative individuals, and the anticipation of waiting for his next post is how we measure and decide who should be included in The Creative One’s section on Launch Dsigns.

How long have you been using Adobe Photoshop to edit?

I have used Photoshop for a long time over about a ten year period at a medium level just for cutting out images and changing colors of things but it wasn’t until 31st October 2017 when I started to do the editing you see on my page today, I was so bad at it but really felt like I wanted to advance my skills because of the number of talented artists. Instagram has motivated me to find the time to learn and expand my knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom. I guess really I have been learning Photoshop to get to a good level for a year and three months in total because before I joined Instagram I didn’t really see the point of advancing in editing because I didn’t know about it, but I really wanted to learn photo retouching people which is something I learned at work but what I do now just lights me up inside, I live for it.

How did you get into digital arts?

I didn’t know what digital art was as a category of creating until last year, I make Christmas cards at work for clients where I take a standard photo of their building and then I make it look as though it has snowed etc, you can see one of these on my page but you will need to scroll to the bottom of my page.

When my friend from work Chris saw the type of work I was creating in the studio he said I should join Instagram and add my artwork on there because of the huge art community. I didn’t realize that Instagram had an art community until October 2017 and from there I was hooked.

I was massively driven to get my messages out there through my artwork and develop my style, which I am still working on one year later. I won a FFA competition that Visuals of Julius hosted in the Summer and the 7 courses I won helped me to grow my skills and my style. I have always loved art from a very young age, I used to draw a lot and I studied art in school and then went to college to study Graphic Design, it has always been an interest to me to create work that has an impact or a powerful message, I just didn’t know photo manipulation and digital art existed otherwise I would have started years ago.

What inspires you to create?

My life inspires me to create. My three-year-old son is a massive influence, I find my son fascinating, with digital art being my passion and hobby to be able to incorporate my son into my love of art is just incredible to me, to be able to see him in my work just makes creating art even more amazing. I am inspired a lot by music and reading. I love all genres of music but I love anything that has a powerful message in the lyrics, the message in the music to me is more important than the sound. I listen to podcasts on Spotify in work such as the School of Greatness and Secret Leaders among others that really make you realize that you always have a lot to learn and learning is for life.
I am inspired by wanting to inspire others. I want to create art with meaning, never for the sake of the creation. I want to connect with people and move them in a way that allows them to make changes and open their eyes to new possibilities or that will have an impact on people.

Who are some of the creative artists on Instagram that inspires you?

Visuals of Julius is a huge inspiration, to be so young and so determined to learn and teach the way he is, how can you not be inspired by him plus he is such a nice guy, if you haven’t bought any of his courses, I suggest you at least buy one. You will be surprised what you could learn. Joel Robison inspires me because he includes himself in his art and that is what I have always enjoyed doing when I discovered his page last year I was instantly drawn to his captions and started to speak with him over DM, he is so helpful, a brilliant photographer and an amazing artist. He is consistently posting inspiring artwork that really captivates people in a positive way, go Joel! Marcel Van Luit is an artist I only recently found, like the last few months and I have to say so much of his work is just incredible, I love how he includes his kids in his artwork too and his tones are amazing.

I am hugely inspired by Vanessa (the_life_of_aivax) to see how her page started and how quickly she learned Photoshop and managed to draw people in is just outstanding, I love to see what wacky and wonderful concept she will create next.

With Instagram being so saturated with talent right now, how are you able to stay unique and fresh?

Creativity has always been in me. I get ideas that come to me all day every day, I draw ideas on the back of my timesheet at work, the concepts just pop in my head. I cannot stress how important it is not looking at and copy other artists because if someone shares a unique piece of work it has a special meaning to the creator. Working in the advertising industry as a Graphic Designer it is nice to be able to spend time around other creative minds that allow you to stay fresh and inspired. In my opinion if you want to stay fresh and unique you have to bring your life experiences and your personality into your art otherwise you’ll do what you think people want to see and that is not what art is about, I’d take changing a person’s life for the better by inspiring them through my artwork than to get thousands of followers and likes any day.

How do you educate yourself and keep learning?

I have a very busy weekly schedule, I get up for work at 6 am until 5 pm but commute 1hr to work and back each day then when I get home I make dinner and put my son to bed three times a week so I don’t get much time after I have spent time with my partner to learn in the evening but I sacrifice sleep so from 9 pm – 3 am at least three times a week, I have a subscription to Phlearn, Aaron Nace and his team are amazing for anything Photoshop, there is also a lot of free videos by Phlearn too to take advantage of though. I have access to at work too so I am quite lucky to have those learning channels available to me and I do not take them for granted. I love to learn and grow my skills as often as I can. I also recently watch Nemanja Sekulic (@ns_photography) he offers amazing free videos to learn from free on his YouTube channel, check him out.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started editing using Photoshop?

That digital art was actually everywhere and that Photoshop’s capabilities only stop where your imagination does. If you have an idea, I promise you if you’re willing to sacrifice the hours to learn Photoshop will have the capability available to create it. Another thing is that there is so much I could have learned when at the time I thought I knew a lot, but what I actually now know is learning is for life, it doesn’t stop after school, after college or after you get a degree. After education ends in those places that are when the real learning begins. If you don’t go the extra mile you will quickly fall behind those that are willing to. Stay hungry and humble.

Do you use Adobe Lightroom? If so for what specific purpose?

I use Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw (same thing) I use camera raw to adjust some objects inside Photoshop to enhance them but I always end every edit inside Lightroom to finish off the edit.

Take us through your workflow from beginning a project to posting it on Instagram?

First of all, I have my concept written down and a few rough sketches of the layout to make sure the viewer will be focusing on my subject and not drawn to other less significant areas of the artwork. Then once I have the concept drawn I either take photos or look at my catalog of photos I have taken to see if I can use them or not then if not I have access to Shutterstock which I rarely use to find images, if I can find what I am looking for from free websites I always will. I use Unsplash, Pexels and Pixabay mainly to source my objects.

Once I am in photoshop I start by cutting out anything that needs to have backgrounds removed using whatever tool I think will do the job best that could be channels, pen tool or image range and once I have all my elements cut out I put them into groups and name them. I then match the colors using hue/saturation, levels, curves, selective color or color balance to get everything on the right tones.
I always try to make sure to check that my colors all blend well using saturation maps and luminosity masks. I will then create a lighting folder and add overall tones to the edit and create the focus points of my edit using the brush tool and use the layer effects to choose for example overlay to hone in on what I want the viewer to look at first. This is important. I then check for any errors and I merge stamp and make my final edit into a smart object because I like to work non destructively as much as I can then I open Camera Raw or Lightroom to do final adjustments. I then export my work to a folder on my  Mac and email it to myself. Open it on my phone in Lightroom CC for my phone and tweak colors that look different from the computer and finally I post it on Instagram.

What do you hope to achieve from posting on Instagram? Are you just posting for the fun of editing or are you hoping to use your Instagram gallery as a portfolio for bigger opportunities?

I hope to inspire people to create art or to change their life for the better or to make people feel better within themselves, art is so powerful, don’t underestimate how a person may view a strong concept if it is executed in a visually pleasing way. Last year I had two viral posts which were overwhelming for me. One was the post you will find where it is me and my partner standing on two separate rocks and I am missing lots of puzzle pieces especially my mind and I am passing that to her and she has her heart missing but is receiving my mind to fill her heart. There as so many ways to interpret the work that so many people were able to connect with it on a massive scale. It was a post on Narcissistic PersonalityDisorder and how these people take a positive, energetic, hardworking, confident person and break them down to nothing then discard them for being broken. I started out doing it for fun but now I want to make an impact and if any financial opportunities come with it I would be grateful for those opportunities for sure but as long as I am creating art that opens peoples eyes and that is visually pleasing I am happy.

I know from experience that photoshop files many layers can take up lots of space on a computers hard drive, How do you back up your original work?

I have a back up external hard drive that my work goes onto and I am saving to buy another one to back up my backups.

How important is getting likes and comments vs just posting as an artistic expression?

Likes and comments are insignificant to having a DM from one person that says, that post is incredible I can totally relate to the subject and I will look at it every day to motivate me to change. I had one user actually message me who said one of the posts gave him the strength to leave a bad relationship and that was amazing to me and better than any likes or comment.

If there wasn’t an Instagram, where would you showcase your work?

I simply wouldn’t, there is no better art community in my opinion.

Have you gotten any financial opportunities because of Instagram?

I have had a few,  but the main one was Visuals of Julius made me an affiliate for his courses which is an amazing opportunity.

Do you think that Instagram has helped or hurt digital artists?

I think it has helped me especially to get motivated to revisit my passion after feeling lost for so long and be driven to learn and grow my skills on a daily basis. So many people on Instagram want to offer support just ask and most will respond. There are a lot of people copying artists work and actually stealing concepts and artwork from other artists and posting it as their own on their pages and I really don’t think that is fair at all and Instagram should do more to support the artists.

What State/Country do you live in?

I live in Manchester in the United Kingdom. I was born here.

Is there anything else that you would like your followers to know about you?

I guess I would just like them to know that the sacrifice in sleep that I make and time I could spend going out socializing with friends in order to learn and grow my skills and share my artwork which is what I love but it is really hard work and for the people who say how good they think my artwork is and can I teach them or do a free edit for them, I would like them to know that if I wasn’t already sacrificing so much of my life to keep getting better I would but I just don’t have the time to but I am so so grateful for all the love I have received from followers and the support has been amazing from all the feature pages such as yourselves and lots of others that I’m so privileged to get my artwork onto, there are so many talented artists out there and I feel one day I would like to join them and thank you Stan Wesley and Launch Dsigns for the opportunity to do this interview, it is an honor to join the list of really great inspiring artists that have already been interviewed and I wish you every success with the new YouTube page and the feature sites, there truly is only best work featured on your pages and I love every post you share.