Painting With Pixels: Digital Artists

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So, a couple weeks back I began talking about current fantasy artists. I want to continue with that theme this week, but I want to talk about digital artists. Specifically about digital painters.

Photoshop began life as a program for manipulating photos, but artists were soon exploring the possibilities that program offered for creating art.. Corel corporation then released a program called Painter which duplicates digitally the look of actual paints on canvas. Soon conventional artists were able to make the transition to digital without any loss of image quality.

One of the early adopters of this technology was Daniel Horne. Horne had a thriving career as a traditional fantasy artists. His medium of choice was acrylics. He discovered Painter and began experimenting. When the results of his experiments began to look just as good as his conventional work he realized he was on to something. “Painter has several advantages over traditional mediums, namely that you don’t have to wait for your canvas to dry before moving on to the next phase of your painting and you don’t have to spend any time cleaning your brushes. You also don’t run the risk of getting paint over your clothes.”

Horne is chiefly a fantasy artist, and the last thing a fantasy artist wants is a “computery” feel to his work. Although in recent years Horne has given up digital painting because he did not find it as satisfying as conventional painting. Nevertheless, his digital paintings are as lush and colourful as his traditional ones.

Chan_kingofthornsJason Chan is an artist who comes completely from the digital tradition.

Hailing from San Francisco, Chan had a childhood redolent with comic books, video games and fantasy novels. These early loves, as it does with most artists, inspired his work.

Using a combination of Photoshop and Painter, Chan is able to create powerful fantasy and science fiction images. Chan has provided imagery for games and for countless book covers. He has also done pre-production work for films and has helped to develop the imagery for a really kick-ass Coca-cola commercial.

Serge Birault is a French pin-up artist. Pin-up artistry has a long and honourable tradition out of which have come legendary artists like Enoch Bolles, Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargas and Olivia. Serge (who sometimes uses his online name PapaNinja) is a digital giant in this field. His work is distinctive and unmistakable and it is produced completely digitally.

bad_jellyfish_by_papaninjaHis pin-ups, although slightly caricatured, nevertheless have a very realistic sheen. His pin-ups have a very airbrushed feel to them. His forms are strong and his colours bright. His ability to capture shiny textures — tight latex, slimy tentacles and jellyfish — are unmatched. His images are playful and sexy and sometimes a little silly. Serge constantly produces work for the web and has recently had a book published of some of his best pieces. His work is also highly caught after for advertising and for CD covers.

Stawicki_BanneroftheDamnedMathew Stawicki is another artists whose work straddles both the traditional and the digital mediums. His digital work is beautifully detailed and has an amazing quality of brush work. His compositions are masterful and reminiscent of some of the best work of the Brothers Hildebrandt.

His digital works are just as rich and lush as his conventional oils. Stawicki has done numerous book covers both in the science fiction and fantasy genre.

I have a great affinity for digital artists being a digital artist myself. As with most digital artists I do come from a conventional art background and for a long while was generally disdainful of art that was produced on a computer. Now almost all of my work is produced digitally.

There are many more digital artists and as I continue blogging here I will highlight a few of them now and then. If you have a favorite digital artist let me know, or if you think I’m off base about something or just want to talk digital art, then please leave a comment.

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