Decoding Daily Deviations: Vicious Cycle

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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!"

FEATURED ART: Vicious Cycle by JoeSlucher
DD DATE: 2016-12-21
TOOLS/PROGRAMME: Photoshop for sketch, Paintstorm Studio for majority

Share with readers the details of how this piece came into being. Did you have a clear story idea/inspiration from the beginning?  

This was created as card art for Rhino Games so the description asked for a body in a garden with a mood of sudden death but also growth and new life. I really latched onto the life and death aspect and was inspired to get to make an image that didn’t need to be tied to a genre like fantasy or sci-fi or to any time period. It could be timeless and that made me particularly want to make this piece a beautiful one."

“Vicious Cycle” utilises light and perspective to great effect. Can you take us through your creative process in explaining how the painting evolved? 

From the beginning I knew the final 10% of the process would be adding the glow from light bouncing off leaves, bouncing around in the eye sockets, and the light beams through branches. So I painted up the entire illustration to about a 70% finished state and then blurred or opened the file in Photoshop to run the Dust and Scratches filter to simplify the background. Therefore, some details I had painted were lost for the sake of bringing focus to the skull and flower. I then painted the details of the skull, weeds, flower, some foreground plants and bee so they would be nice and sharp and have more detail than the rest. I also pushed the top of the rib cage to be a brighter value to pop the bee forward more. Then, just as planned, I added all of the glows which was really satisfying to see come together as I had hoped."


vcprocess (1)

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?  

I think most of the challenges came right at the beginning as the sketch had been approved but I just wasn’t convinced it would turn out to be beautiful. The palette was much more blue, and it made the whole thing seem dirtier. I simply kept hammering at the colors until I finally realized a more golden color scheme would be more attractive.  There was also the issue of getting the little flower to stick out even though I really didn’t want the flower to be very dark. It left me with only one option which was to go really over the top with how bright the rib cage was behind it."

What’s one piece of advice that you would share with other artists hoping to reach this standard of work in the future?  

I think a lot of artists focus heavily on what is “cool” so they can’t find what to love about doing an illustration of something mundane that doesn’t involve character designs, etc. Focus on trying to make something beautiful instead by trying to capture a light effect like particles catching light and creating beams or light passing through skin and giving that glow. Light is just a fascinating and beautiful subject and I think it’s often one of those cases where people sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. As far as reaching this level of polish, I would just recommend getting accurate reference,  master one tool rather than dabbling with many, be very critical of your own work, and build up your endurance to be able to work on a piece for long stretches."

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? 

I can’t express how much these DDs boost artists' confidence to pursue this kind of work. In 2009 I got a DD and thought I was on my way and yet I just ran a table at a huge convention called, GenCon, where I didn’t make enough to cover my booth. I won an award and artists loved my work but it seemed that the public couldn’t care less. I had doubts that my taste in what was beautiful mattered or was important. Maybe I should just make fan art or dragon pictures? It was disheartening. The DD just gave me a really nice boost in confidence that beauty still matters. My watchers can look forward to more pieces that focus on beauty and light. I have some crazy awesome stuff under non-disclosure agreement that comes out in June that I’m really excited about and the DD got me motivated to work on a really ambitious personal piece that I hope people will love."

Bonus question: Can you cite a memorable reaction to this piece in the comments at DA?

Ok there was one DA comment that made me spit my drink out that came courtesy of :iconhellfighters: and it was 'that nigga got tore up.'"

Thanks to JoeSlucher for kindly consenting to the interview!

Make sure to visit his gallery for more awesome paintings: 


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EvaGataArtist's avatar
What a great idea of creating the series <3 thanks a lot <3
I wish there was alike project speaking of traditional media as well)
Digital art sounds like magic for me as I only kniw how to crop images XD