What do you think it says about how commercial photography is practiced that someone without a photo background is so crucial to the process?
I know it's a little precarious, but it makes sense to me that my drawing and painting background led me into retouching. I have friends with backgrounds in photography, and because of my drawing background, my layers look a lot different than their layers. A lot of photo retouchers have illustration experience. I think the skill that makes a good retoucher doesn't have anything to do with having a photography background. In the end I'm just looking at a picture and trying to make that picture look better—the fact that it's a photo is unimportant. That could just be me, since a lot of retouchers care about technical details that I don't care about, and I go more on instinct rather than things I learned in photography class.