Monday, November 28, 2011

Photoshop | Hyper Realistic Manga

I was looking for something challenging to try to do the other week, when I stumbled on another book on Advanced Photoshop techniques. Saw this tutorial and had to give it a whirl. 

First thing was to purchase this shot of a model from

Next was to adjust the head to give it a more rounded look.

Followed by shaping the jaw line a little :)

I selected her eyes and on a separate layer, enlarged them to start really changing the look. At this point she is starting to remind me more of a Mark Ryden painting. Which might be a cool post down the road when I think on it.

I apply a similar technique to the nose and mouth and desaturate the lips.

With the use of a layer mask, she gets a new doo and some ribbons. The new look is just about achieved. Time for a cool background. 

I really had a hard at this point settling. It was too much fun and really wanted the piece to be more than just a run through a tute. Something more original. But due to the amount of projects on my plate, I just went with it. The piece was a little dark and wanted to do something a little different, so I added one of Renata's necklaces to her, adjusted the color some and here is the final result.

I am working on an original piece for a friend, author Sam Kirshaw, taking one of her publicity shots and well, I will save the idea for later :)

Any questions on this, I would be happy  to answer, technique-wise.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beauty | Luxe Metallics Look | Phillip Lim Inspired

Lim, photographed in the New York loft that will soon be his new HQ | Photo by Jake Chessum
Phillip Lim: "We Live by the Dress and Die by the Dress."
Excerpt from Bee Shyuan-Chang's great article in Fast Company's United States of Design

"I WANT MY WORK TO SPEAK FOR ME." Phillip Lim says these words flatly, much as he says everything when you first meet him. It's really quite a fashion-designery thing to say--rather predictable, a tad pretentious, and not meaning much at all. Except in Lim's case, he's not kidding, because he doesn't seem to want to speak for himself.

"Phillip is elusive," says Wen Zhou, CEO of Lim's company, 3.1 Phillip Lim. "It's shy," Lim clarifies. Elusive, shy, even distant and aloof--he does not seem like a designer for these times of red carpets and paparazzi, social climbing and social media. "If you're giving all the time to the flashbulbs, to the people at the parties, it's exhausting," he says of his choice to stay mostly off the circuit. He avoids Facebook and Twitter. In conversation, he often deflects prying questions with one-liners that seem direct but are cryptic in retrospect. He once defined his style as "classic but twisted." What does that even mean?

Whatever it is, shoppers have loved it. Lim's style has, in just six years, fueled a fashion engine that is on target to drive $60 million in revenue this year. Along with his original womenswear collection, he now does menswear, childrenswear, swimwear, accessories, even lingerie. But the genius of 3.1 Phillip Lim isn't found only in the design of the clothes; you can also spot it on the price tag. Tomoko Ogura, women's fashion director of Barneys Co-op, says,"He's a pioneer in terms of bringing a level of sophistication and a true integrity to design at the contemporary price point." In other words, the clothes are made well, look good, and won't cost you a month's wages--a troika in fashion that's all too rare.At 38, Lim finds himself both a commercial and critical darling. In 2007, the Council of Fashion Designers of America presented him with its Swarovski award for womenswear; this year, he was a finalist for menswear. And on September 2, a day after his birthday, GQ Chinamade him its 2011 designer of the year. Fashion-criticism doyenne Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune has praised the "careful craftsmanship" of his work, calling it "dynamic" and "energizing." And, of course, he has his requisite celebrity following. "He designs so beautifully," says actress Rachel Bilson, who last year cohosted, with Vogue, a first-anniversary fete for Lim's L.A. store. "There is always a brilliant nod to femininity with a touch of edge."

For the more of the story, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beata Synkiewicz | Fashion + Art

Beata Synkiewicz was born in Krakow in 1986 under the shadow of Chernobyl. She began writing as a child and was inspired by fashion even then when she started drawing. 

Despite her obvious interest in art, Beata’s parents decided to send her to music school since it was discovered she had perfect pitch. Beata loved the violin but the school only had a cello available… she didn’t like the school to begin and that was the last straw. She rebelled. She transferred to a new school and focused on athletics since a child she was always a little bit chubby. With her art ability, she got involved designing posters and such for school activities. When she turned 14, she discovered graphic design and computers and was hooked for life.

During high school, Beata got her first computer and scanner. Her creativity blossomed… Creating digital collages using trial versions of design software. When they expired she would then reformat her whole PC to use them again. Playing piano and singing along with designing filled her life with inspiration. Songwriting also became another huge form of self-expression. The piano became another of her best friends.

In her own words

It all started when I had the chance to go to medical school but fell in love instead and soon became a single mother. My daughter, Kinga, changed my life completely. She motivated me to become a better person and strive to be someone she could look up to.

So I decided to follow my father’s footsteps in agriculture and studied animal husbandry in college. As my child grew so did my ideas despite some financial difficulty. A scholarship enabled me to buy my first camera and I never went anywhere without it. It became my passion. Shooting anything that captured my imagination; photography empowered me even if I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. I could use my camera and computer to create a world of my very own. My interest in shooting people began when I realized I need actors to populate this world and began seeking out the players to inhabit my creations.

The owner of M&M Studios in Staszow then discovered my work online. He wanted me to photograph evening gowns with the freedom to do it any way I saw fit. The location was Wawel castle. It was exciting. Working with professional models, makeup artists and directing them was a wonderful experience.

After that shoot, my career truly began. Fashion shoots of anything from a line of blouses to bikinis, I discovered others appreciated my work and soon was doing wedding photography as well. I felt became a true photographer. Enamored with old black and white photography, the glamour and mood they had spoke to me. Vintage clothes along with distressed textures also worked its way into my own work.

My music still helps keep me balanced and compliments my photography and continues to help me express myself.


R&J: We are pleased to introduce you to photographer and artist, Beata Sienkiewicz. While we are here to talk a little photography, just couldn’t help share some of her art work and the scene at her first art show.

R&J: First we want to thank you for joining us today, Beata, could you tells us a little about living in Krakow as an artistic, creative person.

Beata: No, no… Thank you for taking an interview with me. Your blog seem to be one of the most interesting I’ve ever visited. About the question… Krakow is very unique city. A place where art is created at the speed of light, it is in the air, where you can meet professional artists playing guitar, singing or painting on the streets at night. We all feel the freedom in creating. It is our reality. It’s wonderful. I don’t really feel like an artist at all… I have passion… a love for imagery, for light … I also love drawing (especially old humpbacked men with birdcages ;) but not on the streets - I draw whenever I can find the time, usually on buses, during my way home/work.

R&J: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your work, it has a wonderful edginess, intensity and the occasional a dash of mystery, especially your black and white shoots, do you prepare differently for a black and white shoot compared to color? What does fashion mean to you?

Beata: My understanding of word “fashion” differs from most. I feel it’s like a picture, which is created by each person and placed into her environment. A composition of colours and form, a kind of a collage representing a piece of your style, yourself, even your soul. Fashion is kind of language I have only just begun to learn. In my work, I try to make a dialogue with the people expressing it. Fashion inspires, but I still feel more inspired by fashion photographers (like Richard Avedon, Paolo Roversi, Annie Liebovitz) than designers. Of course, the world of fashion does influence my life, but not as much as the photography itself, catching the moment, light and beauty.

When taking a photo, I already know if it’s going to be in black and white or color. It depends mostly on nature of the shapes sculpted by light. I prefer black and white because I always felt, that colour is only illusion but the sharpness, contrast and structure are always constant, and that’s what black and white shows – truth.

R&J: What is your favorite camera? What advice would you recommend for someone starting out in photography?

Beata: I love all of the cameras I’ve ever had. I began with Nokia 3220, then I went with a Panasonic FZ7, I think my favourite one was and still is the PENTAX K100D because of the M42, and the sound of shutter, its also quite heavy – you feel the iron and glass in it. It was my first reflex camera and I still use it sometimes. For beginners, I have only one piece of advice. Don’t pay a lot of money for the camera until you understand your own needs as a photographer. Buy something affordable, learn how to use it, find out what your needs are then invest in the next one – make this choice wisely and try to rely on your own experience.

R&J: You are a parent, a student, an artist and photographer, how on earth do you manage to do all that and still sleep?

Beata: Sleep? What does that strange word mean? ;) No… I was juggling. ;) It’s gets easier when you doing all the stuff you love, that you’re really interested in. I relax while taking the photos, I feel wonderful while creating some graphics – it’s similar to a moment with good book or listening to your favourite music (my favourites are Bjork and old swing bands) and I love being a parent – so this is perfect situation for me. I don’t feel I just do all these things. I’d even take a risk in saying, that without these all these things I’d be uncomfortable, sad and I’d miss each one of them.

R&J: Beata, what advice would you give to a single mother out there, who also has a dream, but maybe not sure where to start?

Beata: Hmmm… would it be unkind if I told them just to make their dreams come true and that’s all? It has to be something like determination. Every day should bring to us something new and special. Don’t go asleep if you can’t say, that today you learned something new, you did something special… And try to do everything to make your loved ones proud of you.

My biggest inspiration is my daughter, I love her with all my heart – and all I do – I do for her as well, so she will be proud of me.

You can see more of Beata’s work HERE. If you are interested in working with Beata you can reach via phone @ +48791860509 or email her at Thank you all for joining us. xoxo

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beauty | Rebel | Freja Beha Erichsen

"The queen of cool. Probably one of the most-requested models of all my clients. She is the perfect old-school clothes-hanger with a little eighties androgyny thrown in." Kendall Herbst New York Magazine

Freja Beha was one of the inspirations behind one of 105 LOOK's latest issues, REBEL, so be sure to check that out. Discovered in Denmark in 2005 by an agent in a passing taxi, Freja has been turning heads ever since. On the runway and in print, her work for the likes of Gucci, Chanel and others is just incredible.

With that in mind, I am happy to share with you our choice for an incredible weekend look. Inspired by Freja and a rebellious spirit and made possible by 105 LOOKs. We hope you enjoy and rock this look. XOXO

Friday, November 4, 2011


A nice easy autumn look for the weekend. Enjoy!

For more great looks, visit our friends at 105LOOKS

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

PHOTOSHOP | Advanced Techniques

The other month at Barnes & Noble Books, I discovered the UK's Advanced Photoshop Magazine. It has amazing tutorials. I was hooked. Looking through these pages I was inspired. The whole creative process is intriguing. The behind the scenes bit, the effort that goes on behind the door, stage or screen, design, photo, painting, etc. Those mysterious steps that lead to the elusive magical, amazing or just plain wow moments.

I really have been wanting and needing to raise my game and decided to give challenging looking tutorials a go, come what may. This was my first attempt and the steps I took to complete it. Be most happy to answer any questions but if you are seeking a straight tutorial, you will have to get November's AP 87, the latest print issue and following along. The downloadable tutorial for this project isn't quite online yet. In the future, I will to try and choose projects that are.

This was a lot of fun, like when trying to cook and actually follow the recipe, once I got started I started adding a few of my own ingredients and hoped for the the best.

The start was a model (courtesy of and the first step was to remove the background forever more to be known as BG via the PEN TOOL and LAYER MASK and touch up the water with the CLONE tool.

I originally thought to keep her right forearm and hand (deviation numero uno) but as you will see later I ditched the idea.

Next called for a few ADJUSTMENT LAYERS (color balance, hue/saturation, vibrance and exposure) It was really cool seeing how the ALs worked together and the variations created by the order in which they are stacked.

Then inserting a new BG texture from a site I never heard of and glad I did. STOCK.XCHNG Highly recommended for free stock files and much appreciated for the completion of little Pygmalion here.

Working in the LAYER MASK of the model we begin to blend her in with the BRUSH TOOL and tweaking the over all color with the ADJUSTMENT LAYERS and playing with opacities.

First try at creating depth by creating's where it stated getting kooky, fun but KOOKY and at the same time felt like I was breaking new ground for me, so exciting too.

Now for for some serious retouching, never tried to to such an extent. The tute included a file of a statue bust to replace the bikini top. Then cloned out the bottom remaining strap. I think this stage was very pretty.

Getting close to a finish, I added a second texture for more realism and a carved from rock feel takes form.

One last texture and assorted noodlings... still very ethereal and decided to go for more contrast for the final

On an end note, I worked in Photoshop CS4 and pretty happy with the results here, definitely learned a thing or two, please let me know if you have any specific questions, I will try and be more detailed next time around. Hope you enjoyed this. Look forward to your comments. :)