Sharing Ripples of hope, inspiration, and encouragement.

Andrew Kavanagh and Digital Art Facebook Groups

January 10, 2023 Matt Meiers Episode 3
Andrew Kavanagh and Digital Art Facebook Groups
Sharing Ripples of hope, inspiration, and encouragement.
More Info
Sharing Ripples of hope, inspiration, and encouragement.
Andrew Kavanagh and Digital Art Facebook Groups
Jan 10, 2023 Episode 3
Matt Meiers

You can find Andrew Kavanagh here:


Andrew’s Facebook Groups


Photoshop and Lightroom Group  


Digital Art and AI Art Group

If you'd like to be considered as a guest for the podcast, please go here!

Join the FB Community here.

If you'd like to be considered as a guest for the podcast, please go here!

Join the FB Community here.

Show Notes Transcript

You can find Andrew Kavanagh here:


Andrew’s Facebook Groups


Photoshop and Lightroom Group  


Digital Art and AI Art Group

If you'd like to be considered as a guest for the podcast, please go here!

Join the FB Community here.

If you'd like to be considered as a guest for the podcast, please go here!

Join the FB Community here.

Matt: 0:06

The quickest way to learn something new is to find someone who is already doing what you're looking to do and learn from them. It's important to remember that the seemingly small actions we take today can have a big impact in the future. When we work to make a positive change in our communities, it can take time for that change to be noticed and appreciated. We may not see the results of our efforts right away, but that doesn't mean that our work is not, I. Little by little, our efforts to create positive ripples can have a big impact. Andrew Kavanaugh is a digital artist, photo C Compositor and Reto Toucher and Photoshop and Lightroom tutor based in Los Angeles, California. He is also the creator of various Photoshop and digital art focused Facebook groups. His Photoshop and Lightroom group on Facebook has more than 320,000 members. Hello Andrew. Thank you for joining us today. I appreciate it.

Andrew: 1:03

How you doing?

Matt: 1:04

Glad to have you here and glad to pick your brain and have you share some things today. let's jump right into it. Please tell me about your Facebook groups, the different kinds that you run, and just anything you wanna share about those groups.

Andrew: 1:18

I started the Photoshop and Lightroom group about 12 years ago and the original group started growing all the way up to almost like half a million, and became a little too much work for me and my moderators, so we ended up closing that group and starting it again a few years ago with the same name Photoshop and Lightroom. And that now has grown to about 323,000 members. And it's just a place where Photoshop artists and photographers can share their work. People can ask for constructed criticism and people in general, can be helpful. I ended up taking over the, Photoshop and photography group for a friend years ago, which has a similar focus. I created a group to let, the vir your virtual hair down, called the Strange and Surreal Art Group, so people can kind of post more kind of. Cookie and crazy work. and then in time I started a digital art group somewhat recently and then opened that up to change it to digital art and AI art, to try to embrace some of that world. Even though I am more of a digital artist, I like to, see what's developing in the AI art scene.

Matt: 2:31

So what was the problem you set out to solve with those groups first 12 years ago? Was there a problem? Did you just wanna run things differently? Did you take ideas from other people and, or I guess in the photography world, we don't call it stealing, we call it inspiration. so what were, what were you looking to get from groups that you might not have gotten from other groups? So you wanted to try to do something a little better?

Andrew: 2:55

which also kind of links into the theme of this, podcast as well. Um, so with the Photoshop Enlightenment group, there was a time years ago where. Many years ago, I guess you could say, where I was on a online forum and people were asking questions and the general population was kind of mean. They're kind of mean spirited. So I think I asked, you know, I've been using Photoshop since like the early nineties, but yet I asked like a different way to do something and everyone basically attacked me and tried to discredit me. And so in the back of my mind I thought if I ever run a group, I want it to be really helpful and you know, basically like helpful compassion. And so I started the Photoshop Enlighting group back in 2010, and that was kinda like my mission statement was to always keep this group focused on being helpful and nice. And so that means a lot of work for the moderators though. So you do have to go in and get rid of the mean and nasty comments. You have to, you know, mute people for a certain amount of time and if they, repeat offenders, then you will ban them from the group. But, we've been really good at keeping it to that focus and keeping it focused on being helpful and,

Matt: 4:10

I think, I've found out with online experiences and, by you just using the word forums, I, I know that ages us a little bit, you know, I, I find that. When you set the tone and the group can see the tone, I think sometimes that the group takes over and kind of helps you moderate in some ways. And, you know, they, they won't even be nasty about it like a lot of people might be because I think they adopt your tone of speaking to people. And I think when you put that positivity out there, People might not even know they're doing it, they are, they are. I think, you know, we want to, when we meet somebody, we want to mimic them a little bit to make, to make that bond however quick how long it is. I think that might be something that's, that kind of helps your groups as well. do you, how do your Facebook group members benefit from what you do in the groups, the different groups, the similarities, the differences from group to. Are the same people in every group, or are there like a different crowd in each group?

Andrew: 5:16

I, I think there might be some overlap from the, members in the Photoshop Lightroom group to the Photoshop and Photography Group on Facebook. But yet I do believe it's a very different crowd of people in the strange and surreal art group, as well as the digital art and AI art group. With the Photoshop and Lightroom group. It is very kind of, constructive criticism focused learning group. People post their work and they say, you know, how can I do this better? What would you do? And sometimes it's just direct technical questions. You know, I bought a new Mac, how much memory will I need to run Photoshop in Lightroom? Things like that. But that's very kind of help focused tech question focused. Whereas like strange and surreal art people just post their work and then people kind of like it, but they don't cri criticize or constructive criticize it. And same with the digital art and i r group, that's more people just showing their work. and then sometimes people sharing articles to developments of say, AI art. So yeah, it's, it's, it's a wide range.

Matt: 6:21

Now you do a lot of Facebook lives. Your groups and try to get a lot of interaction that way. do the members of the group have a favorite thing that you do in the group? Is there something that you get a lot of interaction on, repeatedly and then other things you do? You're just wondering where are all those people that were here last week or last, last livestream? What gets the most interaction on those?

Andrew: 6:43

That's great question. Yeah, so. If I focus traditionally, like in the Photoshop Enlighting group on say, Photoshop, retouching photo C, compositing, understanding layers, things like that, as well as with Lightroom, things like the new masking tools, then there seems to be, the attendance is very good and it's well received. I've noticed with the digital art and AR group, sometimes I've done like just a digital art panel talking about digital. and that hasn't been as well received. I, I do believe that people are looking for hands on. tutorial type of lives where they, they can learn something and ask their questions and I have done some showcasing of different artists and showing their work, and those can be pretty well received. But, I think it has to be something that's very creative and intriguing. if it gets too heady for people, then they might kind of like show up and then leave

Matt: 7:42

So one of the things I've heard you try to teach to the least educated. If you do that too often or if that's all you do, people that just want some fine tuning might just lead the class but do they, do you ever, it's, it's a little more difficult in the Facebook lives, especially if you're not interacting with people on video. But do you ever see the light bulbs go off in chat where? You do something or say something and just get people like, holy crap, that's what I've been looking for. Those are amazing. And that's, you get that little rush of you've, you know, you've helped somebody and, and you can just see it and then you see it in their work the next time they do something.

Andrew: 8:21

Yeah, I mean, with the lives himself, there's been a. Eight comments where people like this has been very helpful. I didn't know you could do that. And then in the group, sometimes a member will make a direct post, which is really great to see where they'll say, thank you so much for this group. It's been very helpful for me. And I started to say a year ago, here's where my work is now. So those things are really, really nice to see. We work hard, you know, me and my moderators, we work hard at trying to keep it focused on it being helpful. So there are some people who. Come into the group with bad intent and we try to kind of clear them out pretty quick so it can stay to that main focus once again, which is being helpful and nice.

Matt: 9:02

As far as the work, Do, whether it is your art or Facebook groups or anything you do professionally, how does that give you meaning? How does that give you purpose and, and push you to maybe help serve more and create more ripples that way?

Andrew: 9:20

Yeah, I've been a freelancer for a while now, so I do a mixture of Photoshop tutoring and photo editing work, and then I run these groups, so it just, it seems like a lot of my time is, is serving, so I'm also into meditation and there is a, a term called Seva, which is selfless service. And so I kind of think of my life that way that I'm, I'm always kind of serving. I mean, you, you do get money of course for freelancing, but a lot of time you go beyond what is asked for and it does become a kind of selfless act. So I try to do that with my work. I do that in the groups and in general, on my social presence. Try to be someone who is there to answer questions or be helpful in general.

Matt: 10:04

Is there a super meaningful person in your life, maybe a mentor or somebody you've just learned a lot from that you'd like to not, not think publicly, but maybe some other people could learn from? somebody who's changed your life in that way?

Andrew: 10:21

It's more like there's a variety of people. I mean, like in the industry there's, there's great people. You know, with the books that I've read, there's Deke McClelland. When I was starting off in the early nineties learning Photoshop, he had this Photoshop Bible that was 600 to 800 pages. And I remember reading that through and building up my portfolio and that helped me get in the, the door for advertising in New York City. He was great. And then in time there was like Julianne Cost and Russell Brown and Terry White and Paul Tranny and just so many people. And then Martin Evening, who I've studied for Photoshop and Library, and he passed away recently. He was a very sweet guy who was very, informative, educational with his books. Um, and then there's of course some great video, channels, YouTube channel. There's just so many, so I, I don't really see it as like one, I see it as many, many, different influences that inspire me and keep me going

Matt: 11:17

I kind of feel the same way, and it's not even a factor of I don't want to leave anybody out. It's just there's too many, because I listen to so many different podcasts on so many different issues or so many different YouTube videos that it all kind of runs together, but it's, you know, you try to. Explain to somebody that, Hey, I'm a different person than I was seven years ago, and they ask why. And it's like, I, I can't go into that detail, but it's I'm, I'm a different person and I'm happy with that. So are there any events or conferences that have changed your behavior or made a really big impact on you in the way you do anything?

Andrew: 11:58

Let's see. So you would think that I've been to many, but I've only been to one, Photoshop world in person. and that was great. And that's great to see friends that you've seen for so many years online in person, and Scott Kelby himself. But that was just great and, you know, so many, great sessions to take in. But, um, Adobe Max, I have a really kind of nice connection to. I'm, I'm part of the Adobe Community Experts Program, the Adobe Express Ambassador Program. And in general, for many years I was part of the Adobe User Group community,, that I interconnected and gets, you know, sponsor. From Adobe, from my, my group and, Adobe Max is just amazing. Like, there's, it's a three day event and all these people that, like I said you're friends with that usually see online, they come together and it's just really nice to kind of have the, the personal conversations beyond what you typically speak about online. and then the celebrations at night. There's some fun parties and there's the, the Max Bash, and I've seen, I've seen back play before and, I can't remember some of the other, names of the bands, but very nice, bash, which is people coming together, celebrating, bunch of creatives celebrating and that's always fun.

Matt: 13:17

Yeah, the, the in-person events, the conferences, I'm, I'm from the photography world, so I'm gonna speak about the photography conferences a second. Just the people. At you. You know, you see with them, like you said, you interact with them online, some you've seen at other conferences, and maybe a couple years now we haven't seen each other. And it just, the magic to me happens before and after the classes. The in between the classes, the after hours, like you said, the dinners, the lunches where you just sit down and you, you meet people. and you ask them about their families and you learn about their families, and you learn about what makes them tick, and things that, you know, where they get their inspiration and why they do some of the things they do. And, that will kind of a good segue by me for a change. if you could be remembered for one thing, what would you want it to be?

Andrew: 14:12

Well, I guess what I might be remembered most is the, focus I put into the groups and the kind of success of the groups and helping people out, or just me being, an advocate for Adobe, you know, being part of these different programs and, and sharing the news and articles of Adobe. And, you know, I'm, I'm pretty quick to be one of the first people to. Always put an article up, a link up about some of the new technology that's happening. So like when they made changes to the neural filters using the Adobe Sensei, Adobe AI aspects, I was pretty quick to let a lot of people know that. Didn't, haven't even heard of that before. I would also like, you know, on a side note, of course, it'd be great to be remembered as the digital artist. I mean, that's what I love. Um, to be honest, I wish I was selling more of my digital art, but, it, it does get well received. I have a lot of people who seem to really like my work. I get nice compliments. I have had friends who reach out to buy my work, which is great, and I am an. Established with an online gallery and the same gallery in London called the Influx Gallery.

Matt: 15:24

So, other than influx, where can, where can people find your art that you're selling online?

Andrew: 15:30

Well, you could see my website is photoshop and, and so that, You will also see like subpages about my Photoshop and Lightroom tutoring. There is a page about the Photoshop en Lightroom group. also a newsletter that I've been putting out for years, which I've kind of shifted focus. It used to be focusing on artist work and then some promotions of different affiliates that I have, but more focused on my live events. So that's, you know, photoshop And then on YouTube, I'm at Digital Art Drew. Which is a mixture of the recordings of my live events and Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials and some digital art kind of display videos and some kookiness, you know, some fun there. Um, I am on Instagram as digital artist. Drew Facebook also at Digital Artist Drew and Twitter not so active there, so I'm not that into that. But that's digital art Drew. But, Behance. I think I'm at,, drew Kav, and that's, Behance is one that I'm really enjoying. And that's also an Adobe kind of portfolio site. So if, if anyone does not know, please check out You can set up your own work, showing your work, and then you can put all your links on the left. I almost prefer that than my website to send people to, cause it just seems like a great display of, of my work.

Matt: 17:01

Okay. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Andrew: 17:07

Um, that sounds so cruel. who likes, you know, diversity all the time, and my

Matt: 17:17

let's, switch the wording around what's your favorite thing to eat?

Andrew: 17:23

I don't know. I've, it's kind of a battle though between, you know, I've just had Thai curry last night, which I love, and, but I also tend to like, pizza and pasta a lot too. So, um, my wife is a fantastic cook. So our, our latest thing is we've been getting into fondue lately, and that's, been fun, during the

Matt: 17:44

so do you have a morning routine, and if so, what does it look like?

Andrew: 17:49

Well, I'm not, I'm not much of a morning person, but I do get up early cuz there's so much to do all the time. But,, it's not that glamorous as such, but, I tend to, I'll, I'll get up and then I have a, like a bed wedge that, Me or my wife will put underneath my legs and that, r relaxes my back. So I do kinda like a back stretch with a bed wedge to begin with. And then I tend to then get on the computer and then go through all my emails, and then I check in with my groups, make sure that, things are good. And I do have a private group for my admins and moderators. So if there's something that I did not see myself in the groups, likely one of my moderators or admins will have posted about something that's going on. So that's a way to kind of refresh myself with what might be going on in the groups.

Matt: 18:39

Getting back to creating ripples and making ripples and leaving ripples everywhere. apart from the Facebook and the artistry and the photography, are there any things that you do in everyday life that might, even if they even seem like something small to you that, you know, people appreciate that you know you're making a difference, even if it's for five seconds or five minutes or something like that.

Andrew: 19:04

So I live in Los Angeles and you know, when I go grocery shopping and I tend to, I don't shop big, I like to shop a little bit. On this day and the next day, I don't like buy everything in one day for the week, and I tend to be very, um, sociable with the people who work at the grocery store. So I'm just very friendly with them and, and act like a friend instead of like, you know, other people I've noticed who in the Los Angeles area tend to boss people around. So I'm, I'm just very friendly with the different people and. That work at the different grocery stores I go to. And, one thing that I've, I find to be kind of a spiritual practice living in Los Angeles is trying to be patient with the people who can be rude in la. So LA is, it's a strange, it's a strange state of mind here where I've noticed, like we're grocery shopping people sometimes will just barge right in front of me or hover over my shoulder, and sometimes they don't say, excuse me, and I'm from upstate New York where people are extremely friendly. So that's kind of part of who I am. And so it becomes kind of a culture shock for me, even though I've been here for years. But yeah, I think the idea of just being nice and friendly, being, you know, friendliness itself is something that, is not, it's not embraced enough. It's not something that, that people look. A wonderful thing, but I think it's very subtle and I think it is. It's a, it is a wonderful thing. So just daily friendliness towards, people that you interact with is important.

Matt: 20:36

I think it is a wonderful thing and I think people do notice it even if, even if they don't say anything, they. I think a lot of times, we'll think about it for the next 5, 10, 15 minutes because it is so rare sometimes they're not used to, and it's like it's something that should be done, I think by as many everybody basically. but you, you just. You just wonder why it's not done more often. are there any other podcasts that you recommend to people listening? they don't need to be photography related or anything we've spoken about today? Just what are your favorite podcasts?

Andrew: 21:14

Yeah, I'm trying to get into them more. I did do an interview with, Rob Balasabas, who has also a YouTube channel, so I would recommend that. And I think there will be some other ones that are sprouting up that, I could recommend in the future. but I tend to also follow, you know, different YouTube channels. So that might be something I'm more likely to recommend. So can I name a couple

Matt: 21:37


Andrew: 21:39

So yeah, being in the, Photoshop and photography world, I'm friends with and really appreciate the YouTube channels of Jesus Ramirez, of the Photoshop training channel. Colin Smith of Photoshop Cafe. There's, Aaron Nace from Phlearn. And um, let's see. Nick Niman has a very good one about just kind of the way that you handled YouTube and trying to monetize on YouTube. Very kind of a lot of, wisdom that he. and I think we were talking earlier, before this, but, you know, I will watch some of the big people on, YouTube just to see what they're doing, like Mr. Beast. But it's kind of hard for me to get into. I like people that really have, um, educational or intelligent content and, I'm glad for his success. I just find that kind of overly entertainment focused, video, um, not my saying as.

Matt: 22:34

We might, we may not be in his demographic and, and he honestly doesn't need us to be in I think he's doing quite well. He does some amazing

Andrew: 22:43

But I'm happy for him. And, and I think we had also said that, you know, he does some nice things too with his

Matt: 22:48

Absolutely Absolutely what's one question you wish I had asked you and how would you have answered?

Andrew: 22:57

you know, like a personal question such as, you know, you said something about. and I'm speaking as you, but you said something about you being interested in meditation, you know, what are some of the, the best experiences you've had with that? So

Matt: 23:13

So what are some of the best experiences you've had with meditation?

Andrew: 23:17

So yeah, back in the, I think it was the mid nineties, I did a three day intensive and, just had a. I guess you could call a big opening. Had a very big experience, with that. And I, I do follow, um, you know, city yoga and, there's a guru from India who does the teachings and takes you through the meditation, the chanting. And, it was just very powerful and I was, I felt electric for weeks. So it's sort of like he, when it comes to spirituality, it's, it's a bit elusive at times, but you can have a very strong experie. and then you have to do the work. So it's not like you're, you're in this higher state for the rest of your life as such. It's more like you get a really good glimpse and then you have to keep doing the work to, to get more of those little glimpses, that take you through. But, you know, in terms of spirituality, I, I find, not only doing, you know, meditation and, and like a mantra practice, but I think it, I think it's very healthy to. To go into philosophy and to, to contemplate things. And you know, I've always been curious about like, what happens after we die, you know? And I've never seen that as like a dark, scary thing, which is something that's very intriguing. You know, I'm just curious about it. So. Yep.

Matt: 24:34

Thank you again, Andrew, for coming on the podcast, and I appreciate everything you shared today and any links that Andrew mentioned will be in the show notes and I hope to see you around.

Andrew: 24:46

Thank you so much, Matt. Appreciate it.

Matt: 24:50

If you're hearing this message, you've made it to the end of the episode. And for that, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, please leave a review on apple podcasts and Spotify. Please share this episode with others who you think may be interested in this topic. Any links mentioned in this episode will be listed in the show notes. Please join the sharing ripples Facebook group to join in the discussion and feel free to let me know any guests you'd like to recommend for future episodes. The show notes wall. So be posted there. See you next time.


You can find Andrew here:


Andrew’s Facebook Groups


Photoshop and Lightroom Group  


Digital Art and AI Art Group

If you'd like to be considered as a guest for the podcast, please go here!

Join the FB Community here.