Decoding Daily Deviations is the series that aims to unlock the secrets of what it took to create these magnificent artworks and motivate others to work towards similar recognition. Each week we will present an interview with one artist who has recently received a DD and have them share the details on that specific piece, relating to their creative process, techniques, and narrative inspirations. If you've ever wanted to know more about a beloved artwork and the talented skills applied to it, this is the series to keep track of!"
DD DATE: 2016-06-29
TIME SPENT: 2 days, on and off
TOOLS/PROGRAMME: PS CS5
Share with readers the details of how this piece came into being. Did you have a clear story idea/inspiration from the beginning?
To get inspired before a new work I’ll often spend 30 mins browsing art. For this particular work I had the idea in my head before I started: the character floating being the central focus, but it had a slight sci-fi vibe to it. That’s the thing when I do personal work, the image and narrative often grows and evolves as I go. I try not to force the direction but let it grow organically, so it went from sci-fi to fantasy pretty naturally as that felt like the right direction after the first initial marks. I find this method of working the most enjoyable as I never fully know what the final result may be. Some people like to do a lot of planning, I like to jump in and lose myself in the painting. It’s probably not the most efficient way of working as lack of planning can cause so many headaches, but I like the challenge."
Please, take us inside your process of working on “No kings and No Queens” and creating that very mystical environment that viewers find so enthralling.
Being from Scotland I have a lot of exposure to mystical looking environments; the landscape here is very enchanting, it leaves a lasting impression on the mind. It probably influenced the work in some way, though it wasn’t intentional.
The floating figure was the focus right from the beginning, I just started with a hint of a background then worked on him, getting a pose I liked, getting a hint of the design and character, building out from there. The character really drives the narrative, and as it began to take shape I started to imagine the scene more and more, even to the point of the dialogue that might be exchanged. The composition wasn’t set in the beginning, I knew with a decent enough character I could make something work, so initially it was going to be a landscape canvas but made the decision to switch to a portrait canvas in order to drive the narrative and make things more interesting.
Everything has to work from the perspective of the focal point, I often check things in my peripheral vision as I work. If my eye is on the focal point, then nothing else should be overpowering it. Every decision I make is based on this principle. The colour harmony, the edge control, value, light, detail, all of them are tools to direct the eye where you want, all used to create depth and atmosphere.
Some people think that if you just render things enough it will be good -- I don’t think that is the case. if you use light effectively then you can get things to read well without much rendering at all. I’ve always been amazed by the simplicity in art, not by complex rendering. I see rendering as tool used to enhance the image as far as you want, but it doesn’t guarantee a good painting. Think of photography, even though it captures everything as we perceive it, if you don’t know what makes a good photograph it will still look bad, therefore rendering is not everything.
Good composition and light are essential."
No refs used. I think it’s important to use refs though, do whatever is needed. Some pics are more challenging than others, so pull from every resource you can. If you’re starting out, flip the canvas a lot, seriously…That one thing helped me the most in the beginning, to see mistakes and where the balance was off."
1. Block in rough values
2. Character starting to shape narrative: ambiguous elf king/queen who wants more powah! Do a little level adjust as you go to make things less muddy.
3. Set composition to enhance narrative, introduce ancient forest being . Give the colours a little boost and refine. Dominant colour and strongest light reserved for our character.
An important thing to remember: I could have rendered out lots of foliage but it would have become too noisy. It’ s good to have places where very little is happening, a place for the eye to rest. Try and strike a balance, so that the focal point/points remain strong and clear.
Did you encounter any creative challenges when working on the piece? If so, how did you tackle them? Is there anything you would do differently now if you could?
Yes, I was ready to finish it too soon. It sometimes happens when I’m so tuned into a painting, my imagination fills in the blanks and I’m like ‘yep done’. Then I go away for a break and when I return it looks so unfinished. That’s why it’s sometimes good to take a long break, even leave it for a few days then look again with fresh eyes."
What’s one piece of advice that you would share with other artists hoping to reach this standard of work in the future?
Aim higher, haha.
No honestly, it depends on what you want, everyone sets their own bar for the standard they want. I always feel philosophical when it comes to art -- that a person is engaged in creativity is good enough for me. The level they want is up to them. I try to find value in all modes of expression.
But if I have to answer: Get inspired and keep practicing, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s difficult being an artist, especially when we are early in our development. Every artist feels judged on their work, it can create fear and really hinder us from progressing. I would say, try to break that fear. We are all human, every artist, no matter how good they are, started from nothing, created endless amounts of bad drawings, keep that in mind always, it’s part of the process. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like giving up, even questioned whether I actually liked art, haha. We all go through the motions and I’m certainly glad I didn’t stop.
Some people expect different things from art, it depends how you look at it. For me it is a sort of life companion, people may come and go, life will be full of ups and downs, but if you invest enough in your art, in yourself, it will always be with you, it will grow with you.
I’ve experienced many things in life before art, and I can tell you, life WITH art is enhanced on every conceivable level. Live as an artist and you will see the world in a new light.
When I left school my careers adviser asked what I wanted to be when I left… I said “artist” and he laughed and said “be realistic”…. And I believed him…. because I was young and didn’t have access to free information. So I forgot about art and went into the world and did what society said would make me happy…..And it didn’t. Good job, money, relationships, friends, travelling, clubbing, partying, holidays….Always I felt something was missing in my life, and that thing turned out to be art and creativity. You will get lots of bad advice in life, from people who think they have your own best interests at heart, but in truth only you can know what truly makes you happy. The only person who needs to believe in you…..is you."
What does this DD feature represent or mean to you at this stage of your artistic development? What can your watchers look forward to next?
It means a lot, I’m truly honoured, thanks! When I joined DA and other art sites I often looked at the featured art and wondered if I would ever hit that sort of level. It’s easy to feel disheartened you know, but every journey begins with the first step. One foot in front of the other and hey I got a feature! Took long enough, my shoes are worn out, haha!
Um, what’s next? Besides a new pair of shoes, basically keep pushing myself, keep making art, keep growing. If I hit a brick wall, that wall is coming down."
Bonus question: Can you cite a memorable reaction to this piece in the comments at DA?
They were all great, I am really grateful that people take the time to comment, thanks guys!
If there was one it would be . The comment actually made me laugh and cheered me up. Sometimes we take art so seriously that we forget it can be fun. One of the good things about growing up in Scotland, we are taught to laugh at ourselves from a young age, so I appreciate a bit of humour, even if it pokes fun at my own art, haha. #Zomfghowdareyoulaughatmyarts!# xD. It is entertainment art after all, even though it sometimes looks all dark and moody, all serious, it’s actually born of fun and enjoyment for me."
Check out his gallery to see more amazing paintings:
The Tomb King
Forest of Bunnies
FIELD OF THORNS: OFFER
Malavestros: Muse of Madness
The Northern Administration
On The Hunt
I know a bank
Love and war
Chase, The Dreamer
Until the End of the World..
Spread some cheer by leaving a comment and/or on works that you like!
Want to suggest a DD? See the link to my guidelines below!