Renee Pearson's book arrived in the mail, in good condition and I opened it up and then set it aside. It wasn't where I was in scrapping at the moment. I haven't gone cover to cover, but I have gotten most of the way through it.
Renee is writing for Elements users and she gives almost too much detail in her steps. For example, Renee's directions include steps like, "STEP 2: turn off the grid by opening the View menu and clicking grid." For CS3, Grid is a sub-menu under View and it's much faster to use the keyboard shortcut. For a beginner, her complete instructions style would be wonderful. They aren't always flipping back and forth and losing their place and getting frustrated because they are being asked to do something they know must be simple, but they don't know how to do it.
Renee must have artistic vision. This means that as far as she's concerned, text in pale colors on a white background is perfectly readable. She chose it. It's difficult to read for me. It matters not that she's chosen a sanserif font and a relatively large size. There isn't enough contrast and it does not show up well. I'm using a combination of natural, incandescent and fluorescent light in my studio and if the sun went behind a cloud, I noticed it.
Would I recommend this book to a newbie digital scrapper? Nope. It isn't right for a newbie. It's right for a person who has done some scrapping and wants to be able to to do more with the things that she already owns. That user might also be annoyed by the detailed instructions, but they might find that Renee is showing them different ways to perform some basic tasks. Renee's book is targeted towards a person who wants to create their own elements and not always download them. It's a whole lot more than the 'change the color of an element' tutorial that you can find all over the web, but it didn't expand my skill set so much as remind me that I could use skills I've already got.
Where am I finding my best support and instruction right now? I've got the Photoshop CS3 Bible and I get Photoshop User magazine. Some of the magazine articles are way over my head, but I'm finding a lot of the tips and a few of the articles to be very useful.