I don't know about you, but unless I have a specific reason for learning to use a 'thing' and (perhaps more importantly) an 'active' context in which to practise the application of the new skills, I usually don't manage to make much headway.
Using digital/image manipulation software has always seemed like one of those 'no-brainer' things that I really should know how to use, but one way and another I've never managed to get to grips with it. I've dabbled on and off, briefly and unproductively, with various software systems, and even have a wacom 'tablet' thing for digital drawing that has knocked about the house pretty much unused for years.
But suddenly I want to get some cards printed, and ta da! There it is, a good, solid, concrete context providing a strong motivation to figure things out. Which, somewhat haltingly and with much room for improvement, I have actually managed to do.
All of which means I've been able to go from this - essentially a sketch page of experiment/practise:
To this; a rather noble looking brussel sprout if you ask me...
And this; big burly brussel's smaller, but no less dignified, sibling.
And finally, to these! Actual, proper, really nicely printed cards (many thanks to Redcliffe Print who did the job incredibly quickly).
There's a good way to go in getting a propr handle on all of this - not least on the actual painting side of things. But, as they say, it's a good start.