Dixon Jong only got into digital art because his band needed a cover for their EP; just a few years later he’s a Photoshop pro www.intuitivedesigns.org
How a quick EP cover project turned into a life in digital art for Dixon Jong
“Itry to learn from constructive criticism,” explains Dixon Jong of his artwork, “but ultimately I trust my vision. It shouldn’t matter what people think: trust yourself!”
Dixon’s work feels confident and strong, but it might surprise you to know that Dixon wasn’t always an artist; he used to make music. We asked Dixon about his journey into digital art.
How did you first get into art?
I was in a band and we wanted to have an album cover for our EP, but we couldn’t afford to pay for an artist to do it, since we were all kids back then; we had no money. So I decided to take on that task myself, thinking I’d learn a way to create some artwork all by myself. That’s pretty much how I started my journey into understanding art, learning and mastering techniques for it. I never knew I had a knack for it, so it was a very surprising discovery indeed.
And that cover was how you first got in to Photoshop?
Yes! I learned the techniques by reading and watching tutorials online on blogs that probably don’t exist anymore but it was very helpful nonetheless. These days I mainly use Photoshop for my art and design firm called Intuitive Designs, where we create album covers and all things design required by people in the music industry.
How would you describe your creative style?
I would say my style is contemporary and science fiction-infused. I love creating cinematic pieces where each of the artworks has a story to tell – almost like a movie. Being a cinephile certainly helps a ton. I can’t really say how I developed that style since it happened to me naturally without any outside influence from other artists. I just love watching movies and I want to portray that in my work: that’s it!
So you’re more influenced by films than artists?
Yes, I don’t have any influences nowadays since I’ve found my niche stylistically, although back then when I first started, I was heavily influenced by Pierre Alain D (also known as 3mmi), Lenore Ani, Marcela Bolivar and of course the legendary Travis Smith.
Does your work begin by making a sketch?
Sometimes it starts with sketches, sometimes it starts entirely with natural intuition. I like both, since it doesn’t restrict me by having a certain guideline or a rule on how I should start working on my artwork. I like the spontaneity and I am extremely grateful for that since it’s a value not everyone can have in their full-time job.
And when you do go to Photoshop, which tools do you use most?
My favourite Photoshop tool would be the Pen Tool. I love using it to create shapes and trace elements in photos when I want to crop something out: except when fringy hair is involved, that’s when it gets depressing and stressful [laughs].
How often would you say that you use Photoshop?
Very often these days, I’d say around ten hours a day.
That’s quite a lot! You must have a lot of tips for beginners…
Of course! I’d say that you should spend as much time learning about composition in artwork as you do learning any Photoshop techniques. I cannot stress that enough, it’s the most common mistake Photoshop beginners make and it is a really crucial thing to learn, so dive down on that topic straight away!
Another useful tip: I use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to create 3D-looking spheres. Create a perfect circle and just add a gradient overlay on the object with the style set to Radial; it’s that simple!
Which project have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
The one I am working on right now. It challenged all my techniques and skills in Photoshop and I think the outcome is stellar! Unfortunately I cannot show or tell you more about it. My personal series, The Daily Oddity, is a series that I am very proud of as well. I’ve learned so much about duotone artworks and how to stage the objects in an artwork. I’ve had really positive responses from the audience as well, so it’s something that I will always cherish.
That project you’re working on sounds intriguing! Are there any current projects that you can tell us about?
Currently, most of the projects I’ve been working on are very fun indeed with topics I’ve never done before, so I am hopeful that they will all to come out beautifully! For instance, there’s this one project with an EDM artist where I’ll be creating a series of artworks and combining them all to form a huge and epic star map. It’s something I’m very much looking forward to!
Cosima This was an image that relied on lighting to blend the image together, from the shading around the wrist of the hand to the light that was added around the cube. A slight blur was added to the circuit board on the cube, too.