We speak to the Egyptian artist behind the Photoshop CC 2017 splash screen!
Every new update of Creative Cloud sees a new artist on the opening splash screen of the program, and 2017’s CC features Amr Elshamy, with his image Round Things!
An artist, illustrator, designer and filmmaker with a love for Photoshop, Amr is passionate about his work and seemingly inspired by absolutely everything. He has an eclectic portfolio encompassing different styles. But what does he enjoy creating the most, and what are the secrets of his art?
I had Photoshop on my first computer. I had no idea what it was or what it was used for. One day, I visited my cousin’s photography studio to pick up some photos and I was waiting in the editing suite. I watched someone change the colour of a subject’s eyes and decided I wanted to have a go! There was no internet in Egypt at the time, so I had to teach myself.
Yes, only in traditional drawing and art. One of my biggest artistic influences is van Gogh; his story was really amazing and though he wasn’t technically the most gifted artist, he created something no one else could. I’m inspired by his work ethic and passion.
It all depends on the idea itself. I always like to try new stuff, new styles and new tools, and I love photography and crafts. But it’s less a question of what I like to do, rather what needs to be done. Sometimes I feel it’s best to use 3D, sometimes illustrations, and sometimes, why not mix all kinds of craft? I didn’t always have an interest in 3D. I learned about it because it could serve my work.
I always use the Pen tool. I think it’s a must-use tool, and can help with everything, so that one would probably be my favourite. You need the Pen for sharp selection and making shapes, but one of my most-used tools is the Blur tool, as it can do the opposite and smooth your edges.
For me, there has to be a story. I like the viewer to ask themselves what’s going on, and how the characters have found themselves in this place. Filmmaking helped me understand the concept of storytelling; there are three parts in every story, for example. You can’t communicate that in a single picture, but you have to try to tell the viewer something.
These creatures are monsters, but they’re friendly. I started having dreams about these creatures; they would pop up and tell stories of the forest or the mountains. I wanted to bring them to life, and after just 24 hours, they’d already had a bit of buzz.
Yes, I created Adobe’s New Year Company Card, a low-poly, wintery deer picture. I was so proud to be involved, but also apprehensive that I wouldn’t be good enough – in the end they loved it! I like how Adobe gave me trust and freedom with my work. I think deer are both beautiful and cool. They’re great to use in art. For the Adobe New Year Company Card, I just made the connection between deer and winter, and the first sketch was approved.
Recently, I have been very interested in other-world landscapes, and my characters do need places to live, even if it’s a world with a completely different style to the character. It’s all part of the concept of storytelling: stories need characters and settings.
That’s a super hard one! I’d probably say The Family. I felt like I’d found my artistic soul, and it was at this point, I really started mixing styles and techniques to come up with something different. I’m really proud of the monsters!