Photographer achraf baznani shrinks himself to the size

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PicsArt Monthly |1 
Issue # 15 | January 2015

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    08| Oops!
   20 | PicsArtists Share Their Winter Photographs 
   56 | The Mad Dystopia of Daniel Vieira 
   26 | Get Instant Bokeh with PicsArt Masks
   28 | Finding the Beauty in Winter   
   36 | Combine Photos to Create Your Own Universe
   44 | How to Draw a Geisha with PicsArt
   50 | Create Your Own Winter Postcard with PicsArt
   64 | PicsArt 5.0 Brings Discovery and Collaboration to Your Fingertips
   70 | Duotone’s Comeback
   76 | Photographer Achraf Baznani Shrinks Himself to the Size of a Mouse
   96 | Michael Schlenker Sends a Picsie on a Jarring Ride
   98 | Paradise Found: A Photo Story
108 | Creative DIY Art for Your Kitchen
112 | Navid Kootahi’s Pristine Self-Portraits

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Editor-in-Chief | Arusiak Kanetsyan
Art Editor | Cristina Gevorg
Art Director | Vahan Balasanyan
Designer | Ina Sarko
Copy Editor | Madlene Minassian
Editorial Contributors | Arto Vaun, 
Ani Mouradian, Mark Gargarian
Special Contributors | Chris Corradino, 
Lou Jones, Gariné Tcholakian
In-House Photographer | ma_lina
Copyright of Socialln Inc. ( PicsArt Photo Studio ) 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reused without the written permission of the publisher. The content of 
this magazine is for informational purposes only and is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of publication. PicsArt Photo Studio does not claim any ownership right for 
the photos in the Magazine. All photos,if not mentioned otherwise, are the property of respective PicsArt users. The PicsArt username or photo owner is cited on each photo. PicsArt 
Photo Studio has a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, limited licence to use, modify, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, and reproduce PicsArt users’ photos, including 
without limitation distributing part or all of the Magazine in any media formats through any media channels.
Cover photo  by Achraf Baznani 

PicsArt Monthly |7 
The new year brings with it many feelings 
of anticipation and possibility. We gather 
with friends and family to celebrate and 
look forward. It is a time of reflection, 
gratitude, and excitement for the future. So 
it only makes sense that this issue of PicsArt 
Monthly is full of unique content to help you 
welcome 2015 with plenty of inspiration. 
January is the heart of winter, so in this 
issue we bring you a vibrant gallery of 
winter photography. It’s an assortment of 
different views of winter’s beauty that will 
remind you of how unique and lovely the 
season can be.
Along the same lines, Chris Corradino 
provides an entertaining and insightful take 
on winter photography. It’s a special season, 
with storms, ice, snow, and changing light. 
Chris gives useful examples and explains the 
best ways to capture winter’s magic with 
your camera and imagination. 
Ever wonder how to draw a geisha or 
combine photos? We have some fun, 
informative tutorials in this issue that will 
show you how to use the PicsArt app to do 
just that! They take you through an easy 
to follow step-by-step process to create 
dynamic images. These tutorials are a great 
way to enhance your photo taking and 
editing skills. 
Achraf Baznani is the subject of our 
featured interview this month. His mind-
bending use of miniaturization is fascinating 
and eye-catching. He talks about his 
background, what inspires him, and offers 
some useful advice for other photographers. 
The January 2015 issue of PicsArt Monthly 
is bursting with lots of other goodies as well, 
so sit back and enjoy.

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Excuse me. Sorry. Pardon me. %#@&$.
No one is infallible. We all make mistakes. 
Pundits tell us successful people are all too 
familiar with failure. They learn from it. For 
me the jury is still out.
During the 1976 Winter Olympics, a 
sportscaster interviewing Franz Klammer, the 
Austrian downhill skier, after his spectacular 
gold medal victory suggested that to be so 
good in this event, one has to fall and get back 
up many times. In his thick German accent 
Franz retorted, “You don’t fall in downhill. You 
fall, you die.”
In Major League Baseball, hitting .300 is a 
great batting average. In other words being 
successful less than one third of the time. In 
photography that success rate would curtail 
your career before it got off the ground.

PicsArt Monthly |9 
Professional photographers have to “come home with the bacon”. Fortunately you only need one 
good picture to fulfill a complicated assignment.
I photographed ten brand new Peugeot automobiles all over New England for the company’s 
upcoming catalogue. Only the cover remained. We scouted dozens of locations and found the 
perfect undulating road. We obtained permits to shoot in a state park at dawn.  The morning of 
the shoot, my assistant and I got lost.  We arrived late.  Art director and accountant supervisor 
were already on site. Sun was above the horizon. Oops. I was screwed.
In addition, the fog was pea soup. But that proved to be my savior. I screeched to a halt at the 
top of the crest. Yelled at everybody to clean and prep the car and get the telephoto lens ready. 
The haze was a perfect setting for the shot. I turned on the car’s headlights and started shooting, 
ignoring the extremely angry client.  I got the shot.
Note: Never let them see you sweat

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Finishing up an annual report assignment, I promised a different client I could meet him at 
another destination early the next morning. Going directly from one job to another, I flew 
all night. Seat 17C was my bed.
The plane landed and I got off, half asleep. It was not until I noticed the luggage tags on the 
baggage belt that I realized I was in the wrong city. Oops. No announcement by the pilot, no 
signs in the terminal. Rushing through security, I barely made it back onto the plane.
Note: Don’t take back-to-back assignments

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In days before digital, my crew and I would often carry 100 rolls of film on a long trip. We were 
“cannon fodder” for incompetent TSA security. One agent insisted we open every package even 
though the film was still in the original cellophane. He ripped roll after roll out of the sealed 
boxes and threw them into bins, dropping many on the floor. Oops.
It wasn’t until that night I noticed he had put several rolls back into the wrong boxes. My 
assistant and I spent quite a while sorting it all out.  All the opened packages made us even more 
suspicious every time we went through security.
Note: I fought the law and the law won

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Working for a medical client, I scrubbed in and sterilized my equipment so I could photograph 
a sister-to-brother kidney transplant in two separate operating rooms. I set up huge studio 
strobes for lighting and shot several rolls of film in an once-in-a-lifetime, sensitive procedure.
Oops. Everything came back from the lab underexposed, despite extensive testing, except the 
last roll that I shot on a tripod just with available light. Those few images saved me.
Note: Bracket, bracket, bracket

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For years I tried to photograph the Preservation 
Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans, Louisiana. On 
each attempt I was thrown out of the dingy 
little club. Finally I figured out a strategy and 
surreptitiously shot two or three rolls of 
“pushed” film. I had the lab carefully process 
the precious rolls in two different batches to be 
safe. The technician accidentally cut every frame 
in half from the first batch and ruined it. Oops. 
The next day, I was so anxious as I opened the 
last box of slides. Fortunately several frames in 
the second batch were usable.
Note: If at first you don’t succeed try and try 
Periodically you have to try out new assistants, 
but I made the mistake of giving an untested 
neophyte a chance on an ad agency job. I had 
been trying to get work from this agency for a 
long time.  I told him exactly what equipment to 
pack and where to find the film. When we got to 
the job I asked for 2-¼” black/white. Of course 
that was the one type he had not brought. O0ps.
I spent all weekend tracking down a lab that 
would process the color film and reverse it to 
make it look like black/white contact sheets. (It’s 
a lot more complicated than it sounds and it cost 
a fortune to save face and make the art director 
think I knew what I was doing). Ever since we 
have vetted anyone new as a second or third 
assistant first.
Note: Never trust green assistants

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I had eight weeks to cover a city for a tourist guidebook. I called in every favor I had built up over 
the years, but one music club proved elusive. After extensive negotiations, I got permission to 
photograph during one of their late night concerts. I arrived early, talked to each of the bands, 
and obtained their permission.
Halfway through the second set, I realized I had only a single media card in the camera and it was 
almost full. For the rest of the night I would gingerly take a couple of pictures, review, and then 
commit the cardinal sin of deleting perfectly good images that were less likely to make the final 
cut. Oops. To this day I dream of what I lost.
Note: Double check and never delete in camera

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PicsArt Monthly |19 
Fulfilling a lifelong dream, I arranged for a tuk tuk to meet me before dawn and transport me to 
the Ganges River. My driver parked on a back street and led me through shortcuts and narrow 
alleys. It had rained the night before and the ancient cobblestones were still slick.
Did I mention, in India cows are sacred?
Trying to keep pace with him, while simultaneously assembling my equipment: lenses, cameras, 
memory cards, etc., I noticed a “gift” that one of the holy cows had left in the middle of the street. 
Oops. You never want to hear the sound of cameras and lenses hitting pavement. Never mind 
your forehead.
The only thing that saved me from certain, excruciating disease and death was my pocket full of 
disposable, foil-packaged, antiseptic towelettes. They sterilized my head wound, my lenses, my 
clothes, my glasses, and my ego.
Note: Every culture worships in its own way
These episodes seem funny, poignant, and thought provoking now, but they were scary, 
embarrassing and dangerous at the time.  The secret is to take what would normally fall through 
the cracks, and learn from it. So you won’t let it happen again.
Note: Make mistake. Learn. Repeat.

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One of the coolest things in the PicsArt 
community is how artists around the world can 
share the same experience in a thousand unique 
ways, and at no time is this more apparent than 
during  the changing of seasons. 
In this gallery, you will find stunning shots that 
capture winter weather. From close-ups of a leaf 
frosted over with snow and snowflakes on a log, 
to wider shots of backyards and forests blanketed 
with white powder, every shot is both emblematic 
of the season, as well as of the immediate world of 
the PicsArtist who captured it. 

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Bokeh lighting is 
something a lot of 
people love, but 
don’t always know 
how to capture. 
It happens when 
a bright light is 
shot out of focus, 
creating a bunch 
of floating colorful 
bubbles that look 
absolutely magical. 
PicsArt In Action

PicsArt Monthly |27 
The technique behind 
this, however, can be 
tough to master.
Thankfully, PicsArt 
has a special mask 
category devoted 
entirely to bokeh, 
featuring a series of 
different bokeh light 
combinations. Each 
mask is unique and can 
be customized to fit 
the picture, letting you 
control the color and 
opacity, as well 
as flip and rotate it 
into place.
Here you can see four 
different bokeh masks 
applied to the same 
image. All four of them 
change the photo in 
a different way, with 
each one lending the 
shot a unique glow.

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by Chris Corradino
With the deep chill of winter comes frozen 
fingers, wet feet, and the desire to stay 
indoors. As temperatures linger in the single 
digits, no one could blame you for bunkering 
down until spring. Yet, by hibernating 
through the season, you’d miss the 
enchanting photo opportunities that arrive 
with snow and ice. Of course, you’ll want to 
take some extra precautions for yourself and 
your camera. In this tutorial, I’ll show you 
how to safely capture the beauty of the next 
polar vortex.  

PicsArt Monthly |29 
Properly exposing snow is not technically 
difficult, but you’ll have to make a small 
adjustment to do so. On the automatic mode, 
a camera will attempt to make the snow grey. 
Simply add one or two stops of exposure 
compensation to render it as truly white. 
This can also be 
done in manual 
exposure mode 
by adjusting your 
settings to let in 
more light. For 
those looking for 
precise control, 
you can use your 
histogram as a 
visual guide.
TUTORIAL :  Shooting

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Think of the 
histogram as a 
cheat sheet for 
photographing bright tones. To render a subject as true white, 
you want the data on the right hand side to be as close to the 
edge as possible. This will indicate a crisp exposure rather 
than a muddy, grey 
As you change the 
exposure to let 
in more light, the 
histogram will inch 
towards the right. 
Keep adjusting 
your settings until 
it’s literally just a 
hair from the outer 
wall. You are now 
maximizing all of the 
wonderful dynamic 
range your camera 
is capable of.

PicsArt Monthly |31 
In winter, your camera batteries will run 
down much faster than usual. If possible, keep 
a spare in your warm pocket. It’s also helpful 
to leave the camera in the case when you first 
get out of a warm car. Let it slowly come to 
temperature and you’ll avoid any issues with 
condensation forming. The same is true when 
you eventually head back indoors. The trick 
is to gradually bring it to temperature rather 
than quickly shifting from cold to warm. 
When you get home, don’t take the camera 
out of the bag for about thirty minutes. After 
that, it’s safe to proceed as normal. 

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Perhaps the best time to photograph a winter 
landscape is in the morning or evening right 
after a storm. The snow is no longer falling, 
and the view has yet to be spoiled with tracks 
from cars and people. Perhaps I’ve watched 
one too many holiday specials, but there’s no 
denying a certain 
sentimental quality 
about Central Park 
in winter. For this 
particular photo, I 
arrived at sunset 
and waited until 
dusk for the lights 
to twinkle in the 
distance. A very 
slow shutter speed 
of thirty seconds 
and a tripod were 
necessary to create 
the shot. 

PicsArt Monthly |33 
In addition to taking care of your 
gear, it’s essential that you pro-
tect yourself from the elements. 
The key to your comfort and 
safety is to stay dry. Start with 
your feet, and consider insulated 
boots and/or two pairs of socks. 
From there, I recommend a thin 
layer beneath your pants. Then to 
avoid sweating, layer up top with 
wicking athletic gear. These are 
available at most clothing stores 
and can make all the difference in 
your enjoyment of the outdoors. 
Try thin gloves that allow you to 
operate the camera dials, and a 
hat that also covers the ears.

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The PicsArt app is great for combining 
photos, allowing you to seamlessly blend 
them together. This is a really fun and exciting 
power to have in your pocket at all times, and 
once you get started, you’ll just want to see 
how far you can take it.
This tutorial will teach you everything you 
need to know to create any world you like 
with PicsArt. You’ll see how to choose a 
setting, character, and prop, then bring them 
all together into a spectacular scene. 
Add an extra planet into Earth’s orbit, send 
your friends back in time, or set sail in the 
clouds on a pirate ship. The technique is the 
same, the results are limitless.
TUTORIAL :  Editing

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Upload a background 
shot that has both 
ground and sky, but 
preferably more sky 
than ground.

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Insert Stellar 
Press the Add Photo 
icon, and choose a 
photo with an object 
that would look 
impressive blown up 
big in the sky. It could 
be a UFO, planet, 
moon, or whatever 
else you like. 

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Size and position your 
image, then press 
the brush icon in the 
bottom menu bar. 
Select the Eraser to 
erase the background 
of your imported 
photo, leaving only the 
object in the photo. 

PicsArt Monthly |41 
Press the Effects icon, 
and find the Blur effect 
in the Blur menu. Press 
the Invert box, and 
select the brush to 
apply the effect around 
the outer edges of 
your object. Confirm.

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Press the Add Photo 
icon again, but this 
time, choose a photo 
with a person or 
character in it. Set the 
Opacity at 100%, and 
use the Eraser to get 
rid of any parts of the 
image you do not need. 

PicsArt Monthly |43 
In the main Editor, 
select the Effects icon 
again, and select an 
effect that will not 
only give your image 
the right look, but 
give all the different 
elements you’ve added 
similar color tones. 
Cinerama Effect, for 
example, is perfect for 
an old film kind of look.

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TUTORIAL :  Drawing

PicsArt Monthly |45 
Use PicsArt’s easy and precise drawing tools 
to draw a graceful Japanese geisha. This 
drawing tutorial will not only walk you from 
white canvas to fully fleshed out geisha in six 
steps, but it will also acquaint you with the 
tools and tricks of the PicsArt app.
PicsArt is full of useful little tricks that allow 
anyone to create extraordinary images.

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Step 1
Draw the  Outline
Draw a very rough outline of 
your geisha, delineating her 
proportions and basic shape. 
Reduce the Opacity, then add 
a new layer. In your new layer, 
trace a refined final outline 
with clean strokes, then delete 
the layer containing your 
previous outline.

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Step 2
Add Colors
Add a new layer under your 
outline. In this new layer, color 
in your geisha, putting down 
the base colors of her face, hair, 
clothes, and accessories.

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Step 3
Lighting & Shading
Add new layers for your lighting 
and shading. For broad shading, 
use a grey brush and shade at 
will, then reduce the opacity to 
integrate it. Do the same for the 
lighting with a white brush. Add 
streaks of bright tones
for accents.
Step 4
Advanced Coloring
Add new layers again for 
advanced coloring. Here, you can 
add makeup and increase your 
range of color tones by adding 
new shades of different colors 
throughout your drawing. 

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Step 5
Color the Background
Add a layer for your background 
at the very bottom. Choose a 
background color and tap the 
Paint Bucket icon in your layers 
menu to fill it with a single color.
Step 6
Final Details
Go over your geisha drawing one 
final time to add the finishing 
details. Add Japanese lanterns 
to your background, strings to 
her guitar, and whatever else you 
want to complete your drawing. 

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With frost-covered pine, frozen lakes, and 
delicate snowflakes, we all know how beautiful 
winter can be. Whether you prefer to enjoy 
the season by watching the snow fall from the 
warmth of your own home, or to strap on your 
skis and go outside, you know that there’s a 
lot to love about winter. In this tutorial, we’ll 
show you how to celebrate the season by using 
PicsArt to create a winter postcard that’s sure 
to brighten anyone’s day.
Once you’ve learned these techniques, you can 
use the same process to design postcards for 
any occasion. With PicsArt, you’ll never need to 
buy another greeting card, so grab your device 
and get ready to get creative!

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TUTORIAL :  Design
Choose Image
Select the image 
you’d like to use in 
your postcard and 
open it in the Editor.

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Add Text
Add your winter 
greeting, and adjust 
the text size and 
location. You can get 
creative here and 
personalize your 

PicsArt Monthly |53 
Blend Text
Set the blending 
option to Lighten 
and use the slider to 
reduce the opacity. 
Tap the check mark 
to confirm. 

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Effects & Masks
Apply the Vignette 
Effect to add a 
frosty border. Next, 
use the Artistic 16 
Mask to add some 
winter snow. You can 
adjust the opacity 
to make the snow 
as prominent or as 
subtle as you like.

PicsArt Monthly |55 
Finally, finish off your 
frosty border with 
the Blur Effect. Once 
you have selected 
the effect, tap on the 
Brush icon and use 
your finger to erase 
the effect, leaving 
only the edges 
Once you’ve designed your postcard, have it printed and deliver it to someone you care about--
it’s a sure way to brighten both their day and yours!

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all photos b


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A tidal wave of robots, grinning maniacally as their metal insides tear through their poorly 
stitched cloth exteriors -- welcome to the world of PicsArtist Daniel Vieira (
Daniel has created a twisted universe of drawings using the PicsArt app, with each image 
taking us through a portal to another crumbling corner of his planet. Here, skyscrapers collapse 
into each other and people aren’t really people. Call them androids, bots, or hybrids; Daniel’s 
drawings feature a wild assortment of characters, ranging from absurdly wacky types to edgy 
riders and cool commandos, ready to take on this strange, dystopian wilderness.
His imagination is endless, but what’s great about Daniel’s art is the detail that he uses to 
immerse us in his scenes. These are not just achievements of patient talent, but labors of love by 
someone who obviously enjoys tinkering away at the minutia of each image, getting in close to 
the nuts and bolts that make his drawings so complex.
His attention to detail really pays off too, as the sprawl of far-off smoking ruins seems only 
that much more unpredictable and enticing. What madness lurks in the far off cities of building 
carcasses? They beckon for exploration. Who knows what you’ll find there, or perhaps more 
thrillingly, what will find you?

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The new PicsArt 5.0 update for iOS and Android is here, with a revamped social experience, 
making discovery of images and artists a whole lot easier. 
With this update, we are introducing some major changes that will make creating and sharing 
easier and more fun and will give you more opportunities to go viral or promote your friends. 

PicsArt Monthly |65 
PicsArt 5.0 Rolls out Repost 
To start, the much-
awaited repost 
feature has arrived, 
ready to take your 
best shots viral while 
crediting your work 
and collecting new 
followers on the way. 
While users from 
other networks rely 
on the number of 
followers they have, 
PicsArtists only need 
their creativity to go 
viral. PicsArt is the 
first among the image 
sharing communities to 
offer repost, increasing 
your chances of 
becoming famous. 
TUTORIAL :  Design

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Categorized and Targeted Content 
The new interface has been 
created with discovery in 
mind. It groups artists, tags, 
images, and more to present 
bouquets of inspiration. Your 
“Explore” stream provides many 
categories such as “Seasonal 
Tags,” “Popular Photos,” and 
“Daily Tags” to fuel your 
inspiration, as well as “Hints and 
Tips” to help you create. You 
can now find various groups 
of artists in our Artist stream. 
Check out our “Drawing Artists” 
if you love drawing, or look 
through our “Up and Coming 
Artists” to find new PicsArtists 
to follow. The new interface has 
also been designed to provide 
countless opportunities to get 
featured in the community. 

Favorite Tags 
Do shots of nature move you? Simply 
follow the tag #nature to see more 
nature shots in your Explore stream. 
When you collect your Favorite 
Tags, you can easily explore images 
that inspire you and find like-minded 
Editor Shortcut 
for #freetoedit 
The app has also gotten a lot smarter 
and easier to navigate. For example, our 
#freetoedit community will appreciate 
the new shortcut to the Editor straight 
from the image in “My Network.”

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The Shop has a new “Themes” tab, 
which means searching has gotten 
a lot faster. This way, the next time 
you’re thinking of getting some new 
Christmas clipart or seasonal frames, 
you’ll know how to find them.
Color Chooser  
These are some of the big gifts under 
the tree, but we also have a new and 
improved Color Chooser as a stocking 
stuffer. Our new color wheel and 
sliders were designed to help you find 
and save the exact color you need.

PicsArt Monthly |69 
Unified Design  
Now iOS and Android users share the same PicsArt 
experience of dynamic social content. The new interface has been streamlined across both 
platforms with only slight differences shown below. 

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PicsArt Monthly |71 
Ever notice how cool certain jazz album covers are from the 1950s and 60s? Miles Davis, John 
Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus-- their record covers have taken on an iconic place in 
pop culture. Part of the reason they look so great is because they are using duotone, a style that 
has been making a comeback in recent years across the board in photography.
What is duotone? It’s the generic name for printing in multitone, using two, three, or four inks. 
Special inks are used instead of standard CMYK ones in order to process the colors properly. 
Usually a darker base color is used, followed by a lighter color that is printed over it to fill in and 
give a specific tone to the photo or illustration.
Dutone is now being used in everything from fashion shoots to wedding photography. It is used 
in band posters, advertising, and in movies. Part of the reason for its appeal is the modern, sleek 
atmosphere that it creates. It gives 
a sense of cool detachment and 
a cutting edge vibe. The dutone 
itself becomes part of the subject 
of the photo or graphic, so the 
whole image becomes more 
interesting and unique.
Many PicsArtists are making the 
most of duotone and using it in 
various creative, eye-catching 
ways. It seems like a trend that’s 
here to stay.

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all photos b
y Achr
af Baznani

PicsArt Monthly |77 
Photographer Achraf Baznani is a talented 
photo manipulator who has carved out a very 
small niche for himself within the genre of 
surreal photography. We’re talking tiny small. 
Achraf shrinks himself down to mouse-size to 
create some pretty comical and creative little 
vignettes. Whether he’s stirring a cup of a tea 
with a giant spoon, standing guard between 
black and white chess pieces towering over him 
on either side; each photo is a small adventure 
all its own.
We contacted Achraf to ask him about his work.

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What images inspired you early on?
I’m a big fan of Hungarian 
photographer Robert Capa, 
particularly his immortal piece “The 
Falling Soldier”. This shot is one of 
the most valuable images of war in 
the twentieth century. That’s exactly 
what made me experiment with 
surreal and fantasy art and to create 
images that the human mind doesn’t 
You love to miniaturize 
yourself. Where did this 
come from?
When I was young I was always very 
obsessed with movie miniatures 
and movie magic and things of small 
scale. I used tiltshift to create small 
worlds with Photoshop and then 
I thought to myself, why not put 
myself in a small world?

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A lot of artists are fascinated by surrealism. What fascinates you about 
surrealism in particular?
I believe that surrealism can help us deal with life. Reality often tends to be harsh or problematic. 
Thanks to surrealism we can soften up reality a bit. We can recreate our dreams, hopes, and 
plans, and share them with others thanks to surrealist photography.
What is the process that you go through to create an image once you have it 
in your head?
It tends to start off by something that inspired me 
or influenced me in some way or another. It could 
be a person I saw, or a story I heard. Then, I try to 
think of ways that could enable me deliver that 
inspiration visually, through a shot.
Once I shoot photos, I then use Photoshop CS4 
in many cases. Sometimes I also use Lightroom 
4 to correct the picture, or change its color 
composition. Finally it is all about retouching. I 
tend to spend quite a lot of time in this stage. I use 
Photoshop for retouching too. I do my best to learn 
as much as I can about these tools to make the best 
use out of them.

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What do you do when you hit a creative wall? Do you have any tricks for 
finding inspiration?
I like to remain as open 
minded as possible. I like to 
follow what others are doing, 
and that is why the use of 
social media platforms comes 
in quite handy. I meet many 
people too, and try to learn 
from them. This is the best 
form of inspiration in my 
opinion – studying people 
from all walks of life, and 
letting their experiences be 
the inspiration of my shots.
I use my own portrait because 
after all, these ideas or 
messages affected me, and so 
I feel better if I use my image 
in the conceptual photos I 
create. I manage to feel more 
a part of them in such a way.

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What is the most 
important thing you’ve 
learned since you 
It’s never easy to succeed and 
sustain going pro and freelance 
in the beginning. I know that 
the knowledge and skills I have 
will not be taken away from me 
by anyone. It is a treasure that I 
will forever have. 
This will be a tool towards my 
success in the graphic design 
and photography fields. So, I 
learn and improve each day. I 
know people take anywhere 
between half a year to even 
a few, it will take dedication 
and luck, but hard work and 
perseverance is the key. I never 
give up, no matter how hard it 
is. Nothing is impossible.

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FEATURE :  Photo

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Michael Schlenker (
) was the humorous artist 
behind our Photo of the Month, which is pushing around one 
of our Picsies in a baby carriage. 
This piece of fun, disjointed art was odd in the best of ways, 
throwing our colorful, spectacled Picsie in a white baby 
carriage being pushed by a high-heeled skeleton over a grey 
and white striped background. The dazed look in the Picsie’s 
eyes gives the impression that he has just woken up to the 
jarring reality of his situation.
The Picsies are PicsArt’s little helpers, here to aid us all in our 
artwork, so we’re sure this little fella didn’t mind becoming 
enshrined in Michael’s pop art piece. At least it got him in 
the magazine.

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FEATURE : Destination
In the early 1980s, while filming one of the most remarkable odysseys in American cinema, 
Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola fell in love with the Caribbean coastal paradise of 
Belize. A few years later, the Academy Award-winning director decided to open his family 
retreat to the public, with the now-famous Turtle Inn – the second resort of two he opened in 
the country; three in the Central American region – where Coppola and his family are often 
rumored to spend their Christmas holidays.

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Nestled at the tip of a sandy, narrow, 26-mile-long peninsula between the Garifuna settlement 
of Seine Bight and the Creole fishing village town of Placencia (known for its friendly 
guesthouses, cafés, and of course, the “world’s smallest main street” according to the Guinness 
Book of World Records!) guests usually arrive at the remote 25-room seafront hideaway on 
small ten-seater planes running out of Belize City, and recently started running out of 
San Ignacio.
At turns enigmatic, haunting, intimate, and exotic, the Turtle Inn’s art, architecture, décor, 
and furnishings are, in many ways, a nod to the owner’s personal travelogue, with many of the 
materials bought in Bali by the film director and his wife, revealing Coppola’s penchant for 
Southeast Asian aesthetics as featured throughout each of the villas, from hand-carved 
wooden doors —many of them antiques—, to Indonesian sculptures and textiles, to Japanese 
bath accents and fixtures.
Boasting three restaurants (one of which – The Mare – serves one of the best Dutch-Indonesian 
Rijsttafels I’ve ever had), a pavilion home, eight villas, and 17 cottages, all steps away from the 
unspoiled coral cay-studded beach, the Turtle Inn has all you need to help you unplug, exhale, 
and escape into a story all your own.

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Lounge out in your very own seafront villa, where you can hazily languish beneath its soaring 
vaulted thatch roof and towering helicopter ceiling fans, the sounds of which blend all too 
seamlessly into the dreamlike space. Each of these expansive dwellings, 25 in all plotted along 
the grounds of the resort, are only steps away from the Belize Barrier Reef-studded white-sand 
beach. Inspired by the indigenous designs Coppola had seen in the Philippines while filming 
Apocalypse Now, each of these two-bedroom/two-bathroom cabañas come with their very 
own living room (pictured here), private walled garden, al fresco shower and broad screened 
deck that usher in the ocean’s soft tropical breezes, naturally cooling the space. If that weren’t 
enough to transport you to Coppola’s film set, the room also includes conch-style shellphones 
for communicating with reception, instantly evoking radio transmission playback scenes to 
Kurtz (Marlon Brando) or those 1938 radio broadcasts by Orson Welles (Heart of Darkness) to 
Willard (Martin Sheen).

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While you’re hanging out by one of the resort’s two luxurious infinity pools, be sure to grab a 
copy of Coppola’s art and short fiction quarterly, Zoetrope: All-Story, (pictured here), to deepen 
the story-like enigma of your experience at the Inn. Found in every room, the award-winning 
literary magazine features writers like Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Woody Allen, Haruki 
Murakami and guest designers like Lou Reed, Tom Waits and John Baldessari. It’s the perfect 
companion to your seaside hammock hideaway.

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Antique microscopes used by the 
original owner of Turtle Inn, Skip 
White, can still be found at the 
open-air bar named after him. It’s 
where guests often congregate to 
share the day’s adventures over 
a Belize-brewed beer or to grab 
a cocktail before dining along the 
ocean’s shore at one of the resort’s 
three incredible restaurants serving 
both fresh seafood and Italian 
classics. Note to self: The bar is also 
where Coppola’s secret rum stash 
is rumored to be found, a glass of 
which just might get dug up for you 
if you ask discreetly.

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For all its mystery and exoticism, the Turtle Inn experience is, in many ways, part of a larger 
“WINE - FOOD - TRAVEL - STORYELLING” lifestyle brand experience created by the academy-
award winning director himself, known as Francis Ford Coppola Presents, and the many goodies 
found in your villa are endless delightful reminders.  From delicious chocolate chip cookies in 
your room’s cookie jar (refilled nightly and hand-baked on the premises), to organic, locally 
sourced, handmade toiletries, to your fully stocked mini-fridge filled with local Belikin beer, 
snacks, and some of the best selections from his California Vineyards winery in Geyserville, 
Sonoma, from his Diamond Collection (from left to right): Gold Label, Monterey County, 
Chardonnay; his Blue Label, Merlot and Rosso & Blanc, Pino Grigio. Cin Cin!

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FEATURE :  Tips & Tricks

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You will need
Three plates
Adhesive printer paper
Spray paint
Masking tape
Step 1 
Print your text on the 
adhesive paper and stick it onto the plate. 
Use an x-acto knife to cut along the border of 
each letter. 
Step 2 
Remove the adhesive 
paper, leaving only the shapes of the letters 
attached to the plate.
Step 3 
Cover the edges of the plate 
with masking tape, and spray paint your plate.
Step 4 
Once the paint has dried, peel 
off the letters and remove the masking tape. 
Repeat for each plate.

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The art of self-portraiture can 
be powerful when done well. 
People are more complex under 
the surface than they let on, 
and with self-portraiture, each 
image is a chance to capture 
another side of yourself.
Meet Navid Kootahi (
), our PicsArtist of the 
Month. He’s got a huge beard, 
and a real talent for expressing 
his artistic voice through artistic 
His images are diverse, using 
different visual concepts that 
employ different techniques, 
but when you look at the whole, 
there is an undeniable common 
all photos b


PicsArt Monthly |113 
Whether he’s standing behind a wall of rain, facing 
a split screen with a blazing fire, replacing his head 
with the empire state building, or wearing a cloud like  
Napoleonic hat, there is a persistent feeling of calm 
in his work.
He rarely juggles too many elements at once, often 
just taking two or three at a time and bringing them 
together as seamlessly as he can. He also strives for 
simplicity with his color palette, keeping many parts 
of his images monotone or black and white, and 
ensuring that the overall variety is kept to a minimum 
per image.
Navid goes for simplicity in his individual images, and 
diversity in his overall body of work, making sure he 
nails each visual idea perfectly, and letting his work 
stand together and speak as a whole, without ever 
being overwhelming. Self-portraiture is an art, and 
Navid is a master.
FEATURE :  Artist

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