Last night I received a great compliment about my work, in that the person making it was honestly unaware that the body of my work in the last year or so was entirely digital. But what makes this particular instance even more of a compliment to me is that this person is someone who I've known since my days at art college. Someone who is very familiar with my work before there was such a thing as 'Digital Illustration'. Back when I was pushing thick swaths of oil paint across painstakingly prepared Masonite or Illustration board. Back when every image began as a broad, flurry of shapes, color, and light; slowly but surely carved into focus and detail where needed. I say it's a compliment because when I made the decision to 'go digital', one of the things I wanted to preserve was the look of traditional painting technique. Easier said than done when the majority of the information on painting digitally is based on techniques that more often than not, result in some very obviously digitally rendered images.
My last image, Cthulhu, and now this latest are the result of a 'new' approach I've been trying out while painting digitally. Up until Cthulhu, my images have been the result of all manner of photoshop techniques; complicated layering, image/color manipulation, masking et al. With Cthulhu, I decided at the onset to simply paint like I used to, and to just lay down broad shapes, color and light, refining those further and further until an image began to appear. I chose to limit the amount of layers, and even moreso, forgo as much of the little photoshop tricks and techniques that seem to scream at you from so much of today's digital art. If a color needed changing, I simply painted it in. If this arm wasn't quite right, I repainted it etc. Ironically, going 'back to basics' seems to have not only sped up my painting, but really made the entire approach a bit more enjoyable. I would even venture to say the images are better.