Interview with merl1ncz
A bit about your background. I noticed you do Concept Art, Illustration and Fine Art. Which one did you start out with? And is there any particular favourite one? How long have you been an artist, how long have you been studying?
Well, I was really into drawing since my early childhood. It was always the thing enjoyed the most. And I can't really tell which one did I start with. I always did all of them simultaneously and in my case, it doesn't make any difference anyway. Concept Art, Illustration, Fine Art. It's about visual language and rules are very similar to me.
I've been officially studying fine arts for 5 years know. This year is my final.
I noticed you have speed paintings in your gallery. What is the benefit/importance of speed painting in concept art? How doe's that help you decide your final piece? Or are they simply 'left' in that state of incompleteness as pieces of art in their own right?
Speedpaintings are artworks done in one session and usually under one hour - at least as I see it. They are important, because you can learn how to convey your ideas quickly and with limited means. It's crucial skill to learn for any artist.
I usually make series of quick sketches for clients to choose from in the beginning of every commission. You don't want to spend 2 hours on a sketch that will be rejected so that skill really comes handy here.
When it comes to deciding when the painting is done, it really depends on each artist. Someone likes to have his image polished whereas other prefers to have them rough and sketchy.
Where doe's your inspiration come from in your concept art?
Mostly from things I have seen or experienced. I can't stress enough how important it is to base your art on your own world. I see many aspiring artist just copying things they see in movies, games, or in other artworks. Problem with that is that it's really easy to see who painted something he knows personally and who just recycled art of others.
Good example is how you treat light and colors in your painting. I spent countless hours observing weather and light and I can recognize quite quickly who knows and who doesn't - who took their time to learn how it really works and who just copies photographs. So be aware of that.
Golden piece of advice here: Go out, get to know the stuff you want to paint and then paint it. You can't be true to yourself if you just gather ideas on the internet.
Is Photoshop the main software you use then drawing Concept Art? Is there any other software you have used? And what would you recommend for learning artists? Know a cheap/free software for newbies that is good for concept art?
I've always been using photoshop and I'm not familiar with any other software. But I do use all kinds of traditional media for sketching, studying and even for making finished artpieces. So this would be my advice: don't stick only to digital media but get your hands dirty too.
I have read about your Traditional and digital technique featured in some of your work. Doe's knowing Fine Art and Illustration, even photography effect your concept art work? Doe's oil painting or illustration have any play in concept art?
The stuff you learn when working with traditional media is something you will be applying all the time.
I, for instance, use my oil paintings and other sketches as direct references for further works. That is how I get the colors into my digital paintings. I capture them outside, in my plein air paintings, and then use them later in whatever work I want to do. That's what makes my approach different I guess - usage of my own real life paintings as reference for digital art.
Is there any advice you could give to learning artists? Not only with learning concept artists, you can include those studying for Fine Art or Illustration. Is there any learning materials, artists, books or references you would recommend?
Quite a few actually.
Learn everything about art history. Most of the problems you will ever face have already been solved by other artists.
Carry a sketchbook everywhere and observe.
3 Books I can't recommend enough are the Art Spirit by Robert Henri, legendary The Story of Art by Ernst Gombrich and Alla Prima by Richard Schmidt.
And if you are serious about being an artist, you have to live it. Practice every day, give most of your attention to art and be interested in everything related to art. Merge art and your life into one beautiful thing - and what can be more beautiful than spending your life exploring the world and making art along the way?
You can find merl1ncz at:
Interview with jjpeabody
A bit about your background. Have you ever studied Art at school or University? Are you self taught?
My name is Jereme Peabody. I'm a software engineer, not a hired concept artist. While the idea to do this full-time is appealing, there's a couple of reasons why I don't pursue it. First, I get to create in my current career, I just use a different medium (code) so I still get that creative release AND I make good money doing it. Second reason, both careers have their ups and downs. I like art because you can label something as "finished". In software, it's never "finished". There's always some feature to add, something to fix, something to upgrade. Imagine working on the same image for years. As a professional in either career, you don't typically get a creative license to do what you want. When I do art on the side, I do what I want when I want and I make money doing it. It's a win-win-win for me.
Art is a great hobby that I'll continue to do long after I retire. What I do, I do for fun. I am self taught. I always did art in some form. I started with colored pencils and markers making horrible drawings. I always struggled to get the art out of me; nothing came easy. I moved up to sculpting and everything changed. I was pretty good at it, but I lacked the space to really pursue it because it was really dirty. Now, there's skulpy which some people on DA are gods in my opinion. In college, I tried my hand a yet another medium, oil paint. I was good at this. It didn't take that much effort to paint what you're seeing in the still-life. I took this skill to digital art where I continued doing still-life paintings from photos, but I wanted to create something that didn't exist. This, to me, was [and still is] very hard.
How do you become a concept artist? What appealed to you the most about being an artist?
First, be a student of everything. You need to know to paint so many materials; it's not just learning the basics. Second, be good at the art that you do and people will seek you out.
Seriously, I don't advertise myself except on DA. I always have some type of commission going on. I don't make a lot of money to stop my full-time job, but I make enough to supplement my income and buy new big-boy toys like smart TV's, etc.
I noticed your gallery, you focus on landscapes a lot. Are the landscapes based on actual places? Or are they worlds you created?
They are worlds that I create. I find it easier (after a lot of landscape studies) to invent something that doesn't exist than to change something that already exists. I will, however, use reference and sometimes overlay stock in my images to achieve the look that I want.
In your gallery you have realism works. Doe's drawing/painting from Still Life have any impact on your concept artwork? Is learning to draw from Still Life or drawing the actual world important to do first before moving into conceptual artworks?
Good question. While I started with still-life first, I don't think it benefited me. Mostly because no one said, pay attention to how the plastic is reflecting light, look how light reflects differently from that surface to this surface. It was a simple process to just paint what I saw. Now, I still do still-life's, but on a smaller scale to understand the subject that I'm painting.
Where doe's you inspiration come from in your work?
The more studies and experimentation you do, the better you become. Each becomes a new tool in your toolbox. If you study and paint a beat-up toolbox, you'll learn it and when contemplating what to do with an android, you'll be able to apply those same techniques. They become your ideas. You need to have many ideas.
What is the main software you use then drawing Concept Art? And what would you recommend for learning artists? Know of any cheap/free software for newbies?
I use photoshop 6. I tried other programs for a while, but I found them hard to use. Photoshop 6 is on the cloud and you can basically "rent" for $19.95 a month. I easily make enough to cover this little expense each month. The digital still-life paintings that I did were done on a cheap tablet. Now, I've invested in a Cintiq. Don't buy the cintiq until you're ready though.
What would you consider the fundamentals for painting concept art? What is the process you usually go through when starting a piece of work?
Chaos. I always start with chaos in black and white (values). I've tried other ways, but this just seems to be my method. I have some brushes that I made that are Silhouette brushes. It makes a bunch of random shapes on the canvas. In these shapes, I [hopefully] see all the studies that I've done in the past. I begin to pull those shapes out. Once you have the idea, you can move to line-art to further define your form, or continue painting.
Is adding details important in Concept art? For example, comparing your 'Castle Garden WIP' to the final 'Castle Garden'. How doe's adding little details affect the whole piece? Why add those details?
Details are subjective, but they add realism and life. When I look at those images you indicated, something is missing. You get this feeling when you look at the WIP. Don't ignore those feelings. If you look at something and it doesn't look right, most likely, it IS off. I don't plan out these images. These images dictate themselves through the use of my toolbox. If my toolbox is empty, so are my ideas.
Do you use a limited colour palette? I notice you practice with values. For example, your 'Old Mill (Values)' and 'Rough Sea (Values)'. Is there any benefit in working in grey-tones first then moving on to colour? Or do you simply start with colour first?
I started doing values first because I was hitting a roadblock. When I'm searching for ideas, using color hinders this process for me. It's easier to generate ideas from values.
Is there any advice you could give to learning artists? Is there any learning materials, artists, books or references you would recommend?
"Color and Light" by James Gurney is by far my favorite.
"Imaginative Realism" by James Gurney
Ctrl Paint: www.ctrlpaint.com/
FZD School of Design www.youtube.com/channel/UCbdyj…
You can find jjpeabody at:
Thank you to the artists who let me interview them!