Portfolio in­ter­view

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

Photoshop Creative - - CONTENTS -

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.

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