Computer art could be an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence. Never
the twain shall meet. Jane Ashfordís book will dispel any reservations
you may have. Computers and art, far from being an oxymoron, are a natural
The last art class I took was in sixth grade and I donít have a lick
of inborn artistic talent. Ironically, my computer skills have turned me
into a designer by default. I started desktop publishing in the mid-80s
with Ventura Publisher ver. 1.0 and began designing Web sites when merely
inserting a photograph elicited oohs and aahs from an adoring public. Iíve
had to learn design to remain sane and employed. Books like this have been
The first half of The Arts and Crafts Computer: Using Your Computer
as an Artistís Tool By Jane Ashford, Peachpit Press, 2002 set the scene
for creating art and crafts with your computer. Ashford covers digital
tools (software, types of graphic files, resolution and printers); working
with photos and scans; using type and design, and gathering art supplies,
including paper and adhesives. Her examples are awe inspiring, and in these
pages alone I came up with a hundred new ideas that I want to try, from
some playful ideas for manipulating photographs to the confidence to experiment
with unusual papers in my printer.
The remainder of the book contains detailed instructions for specific
projects and inspirations that use these techniques in innovative ways.
Other projects include making cards, envelopes and several kinds of
small books; making gifts and decorations, including mouse mats and coasters;
working with special media, such as magnetic paper and cloth; making gifts
for children, including paper dolls, puzzles, board games, masks and pinwheels
and making small decorated boxes.
The instructions are clear and lavishly illustrated in color. Templates
are included for the more complex projects. There is an excellent list
of resources in the back, including sources for exotic papers and high
quality clip art.
This book is not for the computer novice. To get full use of it you
should have a working knowledge of a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop
or Corel Draw and have access and know how to use a scanner. Some projects
are easier than others but even the ones beyond my abilities were an inspiration
to learn more.
I was intrigued by the small books, and made a tiny accordion book,
not much more than an inch square, to give to a summer intern when he returned
to college. Much to my surprise it was a hit and now everyone wants one.
Iíve created a monster. One of the unusual papers Ashford uses is a gold-embellished
Chinese joss paper, and I was serendipitously given some for my birthday.
My next project will be doing something with that. And I really want to
try to do something with the backlit Mylar paper Ė perhaps a lampshade
or a holder for a votive candle. I want to make a small box out of transparency
film. And . . . well, you get the idea. This is a book teeming with possibilities!
The Arts and Crafts Computer: Using Your Computer as an Artistís
by Jane Ashford
If you canít find this book locally, it is available for purchase from
Amazon in the Alamo PC