What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
My name is Sebastian Bleak, I am the Training, Support, and Social Media Lead for Astute Graphics. Each day is different since we’re always coming up with new tools, testing them, and training our users how to use them. Most days I respond to tech support issues, coordinate with User Group teams so I can do presentations at their events via webinars or in person, record video tutorials to train our users, edit written tutorials submitted by writers from around the globe, test new tools prior to release, and run our various Social Media accounts.
All mentioned above is what I do for Astute Graphics. For Sebastian Bleak, I study the Adobe Creative Cloud for several hours a day and run my own various Social Media outlets. Most of the week, off hours, is dedicated to my Never Stop Learning weekly blog. I’m currently on week 139 (when written). I also have my #WacomWED project that is on week 24 (when written).They keep me busy but MAN is it fun 🙂 I learn a lot and it keeps me sharp.
What inspired you most to become a Graphic artist? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I kinda fell into it by accident, some of my friends were going to design school and I wanted to join them – lucky for me I ended up loving it. I was always surrounded by talented friends that needed to promote their talents like Musicians, MC’s, & Graffiti Artist. I’m a natural promoter for people with talent so I’d spread the word via design. It took me YEARS to find my lane but once I did, I was hooked. I’m on the techy side of things, I like to find solutions to design problems. Once I find the solution, I MUST share it with others and that whole process is what keeps me going on my #AdobeGrind. Since I’m on the Creative Cloud, I have my hands full keeping up. If we needed a video, I tried to learn Premiere. Most of the time my friends needed flyers as hardcopies or for web. That got me into Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
All of this was done on the side while I had my regular day-job working at a department store as a Loss Prevention Agent – I liked pushing pixels and bending beziers WAY BETTER than fighting with bad guys for garments. I started working at a custom t-shirt shop mainly for the opportunity to work on Illustrator on a daily basis. The more I learned, the more I liked it.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
Each person has their own obstacles but one that I would bring up for myself would be confidence. It took me a long time to start trusting my “design eye”. I would lean on others and asked their opinions or I’d try to design with others in mind. Now when I work on projects, it’s me and my process and we go at it. Now that I’m trusting myself and doing what I like, I’m having a lot more fun/success. It’s good to get feedback from artist you look up to, but have the confidence to do YOU.
With all the new versions of Photoshop what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Photoshop is pure magic! I love it, even the stuff that doesn’t really make sense to me at first like Scripted Trees 🙂 The new Upsampling capabilities are mind blowing to me. Not only is it useful, but it works like it’s supposed to. I’ve been able to upsample images to 500-600% and it still looks great. It’s a big deal to me because clients are notorious for giving low-res artwork. Anytime Photoshop saves me time, I get happy. I can mention a bunch of other updates but the JDI stuff deserves special mention too. You can now change a Background Layer into a regular layer by single clicking on the little lock icon. That saves me at least 3 clicks and is very much appreciated because that tells me Adobe is listening to us users.
What Photoshop artists/creatives/Graphic artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
I like to jump around and follow different artist but my staples are guys like Von Glitschka, Bert Monroy, Jack Davis and Deke McClelland. These guys are focused on knowing your basics and knowing your tools. I feel like when I study them, I’m building a strong foundation. Since I am an evangelist for Astute Graphics, I also follow folks like Julieanne Kost, Terry White, Rufus Deuchler, and Paul Trani. They speak so clear and make learning a lot of fun. When I watch them in action, I am watching a show. Sometimes a magic show – Anybody active, I’ll check them out.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop and Graphic design the best?
The social networks that I like most are Twitter, Behance, InstaGram, Tumblr and Pinterest. The one I think presents the best examples, I’d have to say Behance is #1 right now and I hope to see it grow and stay that way. I use Pinterest and Tumblr a lot for inspiration. Behance is great because I get to watch the artists, that I follow, in action. Sometimes they even as for feedback. It’s great!
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
I think the existing social networks will stick around for a long time but they will evolve by creating cleaner and easier ways of displaying your work.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Graphic Design?
Photoshop will continue to be the gateway drug 🙂 If it wasn’t for Photoshop, I wouldn’t have tried out other apps. Since Photoshop gives you a little taste of what Adobe can do, it makes me curious about other programs. Photoshop is a wildcard! I can’t make any predictions but I will say I’m going to keep an eye out so I can enjoy the show.