Learn classic artist skills
Stéphane Richard adapts the lessons he’s learned from the Old Masters into his digital painting process
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.