Learn clas­sic artist skills

Stéphane Richard adapts the lessons he’s learned from the Old Masters into his dig­i­tal paint­ing process

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

Stéphane Richard learns from the Old Masters.

Wel­come to my lat­est ImagineFX work­shop. In my pre­vi­ous tu­to­rial in is­sue 126, I ex­plained how I adapted his­tory’s cam­era ob­scura to a 3D-based paint­ing tech­nique. When I learned that, as early as the 15th cen­tury, nu­mer­ous painters used lenses and mir­rors as part of their cre­ative process, I didn’t chal­lenge the Old Masters’ ge­nius. I thought that it showed how they con­tin­u­ously ex­per­i­mented with new tech­niques and tech­nolo­gies in or­der to solve spe­cific prob­lems as part of a wider cre­ative process.

As I stud­ied the Old Masters, I kept dis­cov­er­ing el­e­ments of their work that could be ap­plied to the dig­i­tal medium. For ex­am­ple, I learned that many fun­da­men­tal aspects of a paint­ing were ad­dressed through a rig­or­ous process in­volv­ing a lot of pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies, each fo­cus­ing on spe­cific prob­lems such as com­po­si­tion, story or colour scheme. I also learned that prob­lem solv­ing rep­re­sented a key part of their work.

Once such el­e­ments of the paint­ing were prop­erly de­fined, find­ing the right model or piece of fab­ric to use as ref­er­ence, the cor­rect pro­por­tions of a medium, or the best tech­nique to ren­der a dif­fi­cult ma­te­rial or draw a com­plex ob­ject in per­spec­tive was es­sen­tial to a suc­cess­ful com­po­si­tion.

In this work­shop, my aim is to trans­late some of the ideas I’ve learned from the Old Masters into a neo­clas­si­cal-in­spired paint­ing. I’ll start by find­ing a sub­ject, gath­er­ing photo and paint­ing ref­er­ences and es­tab­lish­ing a com­po­si­tion. Then I’ll re­fine my ini­tial idea and use 3D to build the scene and ren­der my un­der­paint­ing. Fi­nally, I’ll fin­ish the im­age in Photoshop us­ing ad­just­ment lay­ers, pho­to­bash­ing and paint­ing tech­niques.

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