Creating a spot illustration to accompany an editorial piece requires much more of the illustrator than the creation of a pretty, aestheticallypleasing, ambient image. It's extremely easy, especially when illustrating technology articles and features, to fall back upon the same old painful cliché: wireframe grids, glowing monitors, reams of zeros and ones. If the article (or, as is often the case, the art director) specifically calls for such an approach, then so be it - you have a job to do and a deadline to meet - but wherever possible, try and engage the brain. We know you have one.
Photoshop Skills isn't a tutorial in the traditional sense - we're following Richard May through the creative process behind the opening illo. The brief? To illustrate a piece on the pros and cons of switching from traditional photographic techniques to digital cameras. Photoshop has been used due to its almost limitless flexibility, but bearing in mind that it's still just a means to an end for any good illustrator. It's a time-saving piece of digital magic, but it won't sit there for you at two in the morning and start jotting out ideas as you catch forty winks. It certainly won't, despite the wishes of many designers, communicate with clients on your behalf.
So make a brew, put your slippers on and dive in. If you're following this tutorial step-by-step, in front of yourcomputer with a blank canvas staring back at you, you're not so much missing the point as driving by it at 200mph in your Kai's PowerTools hotrod. Slow down, and put your conceptual thinking cap on!