I have been reading a book called Beyond Digital Photography, Transforming Photos into Fine Art with Photoshop and Painter by Cher Thereinen-Pendarvis and Donal Jolley It fits in nicely with a lot of my ideas (and challenges) of dipping a paint brush into a photo.
The really dramatic jolt of deeper understanding I got was that it is written for the artists (the creatives, which includes any photographer, perhaps without formal art school training, but a keen eye and a desire to create better images). The difference is it does not run through each option and nuisances of every tool (there are plenty of guide books that take that approach if that’s more your desired approach, but learning will be a lot slower that way), or an over-encompassing workflow. It begins by talking about the works space, both physical and in software and covers the use of wacom tablets and output resolution right up front. This is goods advice “Know your tools and objectives”. Each chapter begins with a discussion of which equipment is used up front and the various tools used are presented in terms of desired outcome.Then there are a series of chapters based around different media (wet & dry) and approaches(gesture, emphasizing the subject, abstract art, compositing and collage). Rather than describe each chapter in detail I suggest you go buy it, or borrow it from the library. Here are a few more excerpts for those interested in a little more detail.