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Interview with Gary Bradley

Gary Bradley is the author of Mastering Adobe Photoshop 2024; we got the chance to sit down and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What is the name of your book?

Gary: Mastering Adobe Photoshop 2024

Q: What are your specialist tech areas?

Gary: Design and digital illustration

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Gary: It feels like an ago now, but back in November 2022, I was approached by Neha, who suggested I write a book about Photoshop given my industry experience and knowledge as an Adobe Instructor. Writing about design and art techniques is something I’d done frequently in recent years on blogs and for my own students, but a significant writing project had long been a career ambition of mine. As such, I required no convincing to write a book, especially one on Photoshop, an application that fueled my passion for digital art back in the 90s. I’ve always admired books that effortlessly simplify complex subject matter with beautifully illustrated infographics and diagrams. Having spent the previous six years writing my booklets on Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, the Packt project presented me with a well-timed opportunity to push myself further.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Gary: Creativity awoke in me a thirst for knowledge I’d never experienced, so conducting research for this Packt project was a geeky pleasure. Since the days of running my own team as a senior designer, I’ve had to constantly develop my skill set to keep pace with emerging technologies and techniques, which often involved reading at least one technical manual each month. So, I already had plenty of first-hand experience of popular titles in the same market as our own. However, I looked at the top-selling books from the previous decade to see if I could learn from what worked well. I reached out to my industry contacts to gain insights into their design teams, asking them what they wished they knew about Photoshop when they first started out, and from their junior designers, I learned what pressure points they currently experience when learning new software.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Gary: I faced multiple challenges while writing this book. Throughout my career, I’ve always worked in InDesign to create layouts, so moving my production process to Microsoft Word was a considerable culture shock, so to speak. I had to write and illustrate with greater flexibility, staying focused on where page breaks happen, which you’ll often only discover once the book is in final pre-press sign-off. But given the editing process, Word remains the most straightforward option, given its ubiquitous nature and commenting tools. External factors also added to the pressures of completing this book as I found myself working on this project for nine months whilst also studying for a Master’s and starting a new job as a graphic design lecturer in addition to running my own business and supporting two children with autism. I can count on one hand the number of days I had off in 2023, but sometimes you can’t choose when suitable opportunities are presented; you have to take it on the chin and push through.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Gary: History often repeats itself. The creative industry is undergoing a similar upheaval as our counterparts experienced at the birth of photography. Artificial intelligence is changing many aspects of the creative processes we undertake. Take text-to-image creation; you can now type a handful of words into a search field, and AI will generate an image for you. Photoshop now incorporates this into the application, and its impact is recognized. The coming decade is going to be interesting!.

Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Gary: Most Photoshop books focus heavily on processes that start with capturing digital images with a camera, focusing on the perspectives of digital photographers. This Photoshop book is written for people across various disciplines with all the pressures of a modern creative studio. This book covers the essential skills to meet industry demands, from freelancers to multi-disciplinary design teams.

Q: What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?

Gary: I want my readers to find straightforward solutions to their digital editing challenges and confidently meet them head-on.

Q. What advice would you give to readers jumping into this technology? Do you have any top tips?

Gary: Be patient; Photoshop is the world’s most influential and complex digital image editing application. You’ll reach your potential with practice and determination.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Gary: I post on a range of topics at https://www.creativefrontiers.co.uk/news

Q: Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning? What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?

Gary: I’d recommend https://www.creativeboom.com/ and in addition, I post video tutorials at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCedvvsxtDoMgMskIk_UqAeA

Q. How would you describe your author’s journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Gary: Writing a book is an incredible challenge but one you will feel outstanding achievement and pride from completing. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Gary: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2022318/

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Gary: Creative Pro is a great resource for all things related to digital publishing

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Gary: Prepare excel spreadheets, and plan your time carefully as deadlines can be brutal if you are managing a busy life. Don’t write when you’re tired, you’ll probably end up rewriting at a later date.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Gary: Write about topics you are passionate about and take feedback as a form of improvement that you might not have thought about

Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, please share.

Gary: @bezierkid

You can find Gary’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Mastering Adobe Photoshop 2024 on Amazon.com