The Rembrandt in You

In elementary school I was nearly expelled because my sketch of our house cat more closely resembled an anatomically correct dairy cow. I’ll never forgot how my artistic ambitions were snuffed at that early age by an ignorant teacher who couldn’t see the deep meaning hidden within the natty brown-and-orange crayon rendition of a chocolate-point Siamese feline.

I’m making this all up, of course. I scarcely remember elementary school, let alone any creative drawing attempts (although I do recall a fair number of ignorant teachers). During my youth I consumed so many sheets of manila paper in the weekly art classes that I thought all of the Philippines must be one giant pulp mill. Globs of thick white paste hastily dabbed on a half-folded brown paper towel by a well-meaning art teacher who used a wooden ruler as if it were a spatula—now that’s what I remember about art education in the Indiana public school system. And the paste didn’t taste bad, either, until someone told me it was made from cow horns—which takes us right back to that damned Guernsey I mentioned in the first paragraph.

But I digress.

I can’t paint. I can’t draw, either. But I can produce artwork that I can be proud of, thanks to SnapArt 3 from Alien Skin.

I must admit that I had to Google “impasto,” and it took awhile for me to understand the more subtle differences created by applying and adjusting the various options and tools. But this software is addictive! Start with one simple digital image and let the transformations begin. SnapArt 3 runs as a standalone application or a Photoshop plug-in. Summoning its power is exactly the same as using any other Photoshop filter except that when the new window opens, the number of variables and alternatives is pleasantly overwhelming. In other words, you can diddle with an image over and over again for as long as you like and get different results every time.

If you’re long on artistic ambition but short on psychomotor skills (i.e., hand-eye coordination) like I am, SnapArt 3 from Alien Skin may liberate the Rembrandt hidden in you.


—Jon Sienkiewicz