Sci-Fi & Fantasy Oil Painting Techniques
Despite their traditional focus, Patrick J Jones’ tutorials are packed with useful tips for digital artists
patrick Jones’ story is as fascinating and dramatic as that of one of the warriors he creates. Inspired by the iconic works of Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta, he left his native Ireland for London, to pursue a career in fantasy and sci-fi art.
As the title suggests, Oil Painting Techniques is primarily concerned with traditional media. However, Patrick has grown fond of digital painting, citing Corel’s Painter as his favourite piece of software. He considers a good understanding of both forms to be hugely beneficial, and he often uses Painter to create rough drafts before finishing them on a real canvas.
Patrick’s discussion of the basics of painting can be applied to digital art, too. He prefers to use life models over photos so that there are no aberrations or odd shadows. He sketches his models in big square blocks first, then fills in large areas such as limbs and torsos, before adding the finer details. As a result, his heroes and heroines feature real-life proportions, and neither are they ridiculously muscled nor impossibly curvy.
What follows is a series of tutorials, mainly detailing Patrick’s creations for the IlluxCon illustration convention, an event at which he’s given numerous masterclasses in creating oil paintings. Each article covers a different aspect of creating art, ranging from techniques in lighting so that images don’t look flat and boring, to how to improvise and build upon the slightest of ideas. Follow the whole book and you’ll learn how to paint, or you can just skip to specific chapters if you’re struggling with a particular aspect.
By the end of the book the reader is granted an intimate understanding of Patrick’s style and technique, as well as his nature as a person – and Oil Painting Techniques fills the role of autobiography as well as instruction manual. It helps that Patrick is a great writer with an anecdote for just about every image in the book, and he’s often as hilarious as he is insightful. He also demonstrates a thorough knowledge of art history, citing Caravaggio and Disney in the same sentence.
If you wish to make the jump from digital to oils it’s an utter must-have, but there are important lessons here for artists working in every medium.
Patrick’s work is reminiscent of his art heroes Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell.
Patrick draws pencil cartoons and doodles to help him warm up, before starting any piece.