Air­ship Ar­rival

Revered Hol­ly­wood con­cept artist Syd Mead dis­tils some of the lessons learned over 50 years into a cou­ple of hours

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

Pub­lisher The Gnomon Work­shop

Price $69 ven Syd Mead can’t be­lieve how long he’s been do­ing the job he loves, laugh­ing in dis­be­lief in his in­tro to this video when he men­tions his fivedecade track record. The hu­mil­ity of a de­signer famed for his work on the likes of Blade Run­ner un­der­pins the video. He never takes the easy op­tion of trot­ting out Hol­ly­wood anec­dotes: these two hours are solid art train­ing.

Show­ing the cre­ation of a large-scale piece of con­cept art, Air­ship Ar­rival is a mas­ter­class in de­ploy­ing just the right amount of de­tail to con­vey the in­for­ma­tion the viewer needs. Syd re­lies here on a long-stand­ing phys­i­cal work­flow based around hand-mixed gouache paints, but most of the tricks and tech­niques re­vealed are easily trans­fer­able to dig­i­tal.

Syd isn’t con­cerned with ar­gu­ments over phys­i­cal or dig­i­tal: “I ad­mire very much what’s be­ing done in the elec­tronic field,” he says, “but you still have to learn how to make a pic­ture.”

EFor­mat Down­load

Web www.theg­nomon­work­shop.com

Artists who en­joy tra­di­tional meth­ods will find plenty of in­spi­ra­tion, as Syd shows how quickly and ac­cu­rately you can block out a large area with a sin­gle flat brush, or ca­su­ally draws in a con­sis­tent sweep­ing curve with the help of a straight ruler.

De­tail­ing is at the heart of this work­shop, how­ever. Ev­ery­thing from palm trees to park­ing lots are cre­ated with the ut­most econ­omy, lend­ing scale to the cen­tral, semi-ab­stract fu­ture di­ri­gi­ble. You’ll see how few brush­strokes it takes to sug­gest a car with shad­ows and high­lights.

If there’s a crit­i­cism of the video, it’s the cam­era work, which switches be­tween close-up work and cut-scenes of Syd mix­ing colour, but too rarely steps back to give you the chance to see the ef­fect Syd’s choices make to the big­ger pic­ture.

At $69 for two hours, this isn’t a cheap down­load, but there’s a rich seam of knowl­edge here that you can mine for your own work.

Syd uses a sin­gle flat-tipped brush to block out, switch­ing be­tween broad strokes and ac­cu­rate dabs to do the job fast. The mak­ing of Syd Mead’s Air­ship Ar­rival paint­ing is a mas­ter­class in giv­ing just the right amount of vis­ual in­for­ma­tion.

You’ll see how easy it is to sug­gest de­tails like wood­land or parked cars with rel­a­tively

few brush­strokes.

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