To become a successful graphic artist you must have a balance of technical, artistic and commercial knowledge. Photoshop and Illustrator will be the main tools of your trade, but it’s also really important to not lose sight of the basics, the non digital mediums of pens and paper, photography, aerosol cans, scraps of torn paper or even clay and plasticine.
You can draw inspiration from your environment, and do not ever be afraid to experiment and mix media forms to create new and innovative imagery on screen.
Below there are some examples of how mixing things up can create some great design results.
The background here is a photograph taken of an asphalt racing track, I merged the top gear logo on using blending effects and Gaussian blur in Photoshop to give the look of a sprayed on logo stencil.
The photograph used here has real ice and water droplets on, I could have spent hours mapping and masking these from separate images, OR simply take a photo of it already on which looks much more authentic.
This used scanned torn strips and holes in real crinkled newspapers collected that same day. The scanner is a great tool to add unexpected and unique effects to your designs.