Interview with NAPP Guru Shannon Neilson.

Congratulations on winning a Guru Award in the Commercial category in Las Vegas! Let’s start by telling the NAPP members a little bit about yourself.

I’m the Art Director for four Larry H. Miller automotive dealerships in Tucson, AZ. And I am definitely a Photoshop geek;) I’ve had the opportunity to utilize my creativity in several different industries from illustrating children’s books and designing temporary tattoos, to travel & tourism marketing, and then on to ladies fashion and now automotive…having the passion to continue learning is what motivates me and being so fortunate to get paid to do what I love, you just can’t beat that! They pay me to make stuff, how cool is that? 

You recently won a Guru award, what was that like? 

It was SO amazing! I honestly still cannot believe it. I am so honored to be part of such a talented group of people, I’ve poured over the Guru Winners pages for years now never imagining I could actually be one myself.

What made you decide to enter?

I’ve had the opportunity to create some pretty cool stuff for my current job, these guys give me a LOT of creative freedom and I try to never take that for granted. This was my 4th Photoshop World conference and every year I would say I was going to enter and never did. So, I decided that this would be the year…and I won! Who knew? :)

Tell me about the image. How and why you created it.

This image is a 7ft tall banner printed on canvas standing in the showroom of the FIAT dealership I work for. It was created specifically for an event we had, a launch party for the 2014 FIAT 500L…the first 4 door FIAT. I came up with “Tuscany meets Tucson” to tie in the Italian theme (the party and the brand), it’s also a play on words because Tucson is frequently misspelled Tuscon, haha.


Are there any special techniques you used in creating this image that our members might find interesting?

I love to play with filters, blending modes, and layering different textural elements. I created the background using Photoshop and put the final piece together in Illustrator, placing all the vector art (logos and text). To build the background in Photoshop I started with an image of Tuscany, brought in a photo of the FIAT 500L and masked out the background for the top third of the pic. I used the content aware fill to repeat the brick floor, with a little clone stamp here and there and also copied and skewed the floor to create that edge. To finish off, I picked up the two main colors from the images and rendered some soft clouds to fill in the lower portion of the image.

Do you have any other images that you would be willing to show us? 

Here are a few of the more “photoshop-fun” website banners I’ve created for 2 of the other dealerships I work for.

Where would you like your work to take you in the future? Vocationally or Artistically.

I would love to someday work for the Kelby Media Group or Adobe:) Either one would be a dream come true! I am so inspired at Photoshop World, I hope to become a Photoshop instructor someday and share that excitement of “look what we can make with this!” You guys make it all look so easy and FUN! Thank you!

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