Tree of life

Coro is a dig­i­tal art leg­end, but his oil skills are awein­spir­ing. Tra­di­tional art’s where it’s at, peo­ple!

ImagineFX - - Editor’s Letter -

While I’m an il­lus­tra­tor and fine artist by trade, based out­side of Seat­tle, I’ve been work­ing pri­mar­ily as a con­cept artist for the past 16 years. I own and help run Mas­sive Black, a stu­dio spe­cial­is­ing in con­cept art and il­lus­tra­tion pri­mar­ily for games and film. We’ve worked on all kinds of stuff that you might have heard of, and some that you prob­a­bly haven’t, too.

I paint dig­i­tally for most my com­mer­cial en­deav­ours. How­ever, I fell in love with oil paint­ing back when I was a stu­dent in art school, and I’ve since con­tin­ued to pur­sue it be­tween jobs. I dig the tac­tile na­ture and versatility of oils – I don’t think there’s a medium that I en­joy work­ing in more.

About a year and a half ago, we moved our fam­ily out to ru­ral Wash­ing­ton state, and I be­gan paint­ing the scenery out here. I’ve been fo­cused ever since on how to ap­proach such com­plex sub­ject mat­ter with­out ide­al­is­ing it or get­ting too “tech­niquey” in my ap­proach.

And that’s what we’re go­ing to be cover­ing in this work­shop. I’ve cho­sen one of my favourite trees to paint: a large maple tree that takes up al­most the en­tire clear­ing in our back yard. My goal isn’t so much to re­pro­duce ex­actly what I see, but rather to in­ter­pret it us­ing a va­ri­ety of brush­work, marks and scratches. I want to make it ap­pear fairly re­al­is­tic from a dis­tance, and also in­ter­est­ing to look at when viewed up close.

Justin is a US West Coast-based il­lus­tra­tor and con­cept artist. He’s one of the founders and owner of Mas­sive Black, an artists’ col­lec­tive serv­ing the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try since 2004. You can see more of his per­sonal art at

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