Sci-Fi & Fan­tasy Oil Paint­ing Tech­niques

De­spite their tra­di­tional fo­cus, Pa­trick J Jones’ tu­to­ri­als are packed with use­ful tips for dig­i­tal artists

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

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.

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