I'm very much the tyro printer, but I really don't think the very conservative approach to learning so often advocated works for everyone, and certainly not me.

I had a negative I was struggling to print the other week, and couldn't make it "pop" in the way I envisaged it needed to. So just to try something new and refresh myself, I tried split-grade a la Les McLean.

The very first test print was almost perfect. It's not a "master print" by any stretch of the imagination but it is enough to have a couple of copies around to remind me that I can produce something worth looking at.

Does this mean I'll now never learn the basics properly or will split-grade print everything? Of course not.

When learning, many people need to have something ahead to spark their interest. There are of course plenty of people for who being methodical and thorough and doing one thing at a time until they have it perfected before moving on works very well (I'd guess many or even most people at APUG might fall in this category), but it is not a universally-applicable learning method.