Welcome to the “gods and heroes” themed issue of your free Digital Art Live magazine.
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Welcome to the “Ancient Gods and Heroes” issue of your free Digital Art Live magazine. Some may think this theme slightly odd and perhaps even gloomy, for a future-facing magazine of science fiction. Yet we are now living in a Janus-civilisation, one comparable to the Roman god Janus who was able to see both the past and future at the same time. We are increasingly able to recover, restore and re-integrate the deep past, and at the same time peer with increasing precision into our likely and increasingly hopeful future. We can draw wisdom from the deep past and hope from a bright future.
Also, many creatives have found that the ancient epics actually feel a lot like science-fiction. Just listen to some good audiobooks of ancient tales such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Jason and the Golden Fleece, the journey of the Egyptian sun-god Ra-Horus through the Gates of Night, or the many Greek and Norse epics. There is a kinship to be found there between the heroes of the past and a science-fiction future, a kinship long recognised by hero-creatives such as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Neil Gaiman and many others. Such creative minds have brought the ancient heroes and myths to vigorous life again — in the superhero genre, in epic movies and comics, RPG games, science fiction stories and more. Others, such as Tolkien, drew heavily on the past and refashioned it not into science fiction but into a vivid new myth of the past. Myth as it ‘should have been’, and powerful enough to replace all the lost epics of England — epics long ago consumed by the slow nibbling of bookworms in dreary medieval libraries.
Joseph works on concept and card art for game companies, using Photoshop and his deep knowledge of anatomy.
VUE | PHOTOSHOP
“If I could improve an aspect of my work I think it would be the subtlety of human emotion in the faces. There is always something better to achieve. Just like with exercising [the human body] you have to work at it every day to improve.”
Deskridge is one of the leading animal artists working in digital art, but he also depicts mythic and heroic themes.
VUE | POSER | ZBRUSH
“I definitely spend a great deal of time studying … I have a library full of books on various artists … the Renaissance, Pre-Raphaelites, Wild West, Sci-fi/Fantasy. I spend an hour or two every day closely studying the works of other artists.”
In Brazil, Dani creates her pictures and book covers using Photoshop — and is making a name for herself as a book cover artist.
PHOTOSHOP | STOCK
“In 2009 I found Deviantart and I was part of the photo manipulation community. What I used to like most about their art was that it was never just ‘cut – paste – set the scene’, but it was the painting on photos — something that I practice to this day.”
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INDEX OF BACK ISSUES
COLOUR IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
Excerpt from our interview with Joseph C Knight
See the full interview in issue 45
DAL: Joseph, welcome to the in-depth Digital Art Live magazine interview. We’re very pleased to have such a suitable artist for this “Gods & Heroes” themed issue. Many thanks for your time on this, at this busy time of the year.
JK: You’re very welcome! It is my pleasure to be here at Digital Art Live magazine.
DAL: How did you first become interested in digital art? Was it initially through the Vue software that you use?
JK: It was actually through the magazine ImagineFX that I first started to get interested in digital art.
DAL: Ah right. You’re the first interviewee to state that. Still… a great magazine, and with plenty of free software and content. Was that how it was helpful to you?
JK: Yes, I had no idea what programs were what at the time! So I started in Adobe Photoshop first and I experimented.
It wasn’t until I was at university that I tried the Vue software.
DAL: I see. Vue isn’t often on offer at universities, they usually go the Autodesk/Adobe route. I see that you did a degree in Contemporary Art at the gritty northern city of Leeds — but was painting on the curriculum there, or was it about making conceptual ‘white-wall gallery’ type work?
JK: Indeed. My degree in Leeds was focused on modern art which ironically focused on outdated ideas from the 1960’s.
DAL: I see. And so your primary creative method now is painting in Photoshop. How did you go about learning to do that, if the degree course was conceptual?
JK: Yes, Photoshop has been a base on which I work since the beginning. It is very useful for compositing different elements together in. On my degree I argued that contemporary modern art was going through a new breakthrough now, but in the form of digital art. That was the focus for me ever since.
DAL: I see. What was the most valuable thing you learned on the degree, would you say?
JK: That to conform to the current trends and established ideas in fine art doesn’t get you very far. I learned that experimentation was my own way forward.
DAL: Yes, ‘the cult of ugly’, as I heard someone call the current stance of the contemporary art-world recently, doesn’t sit well with digital art’s interest in beauty. Now… talking of painting and beauty, I imagine you’ve since also personally studied anatomy quite deeply — for dragons, lizards, quadrupeds and suchlike?
JK: Yes, I have always had anatomy books and I’ve studied them. Eventually you get the feel for the anatomy and can ‘do without’ much of the reference material for such things.
DAL: Great. And working as a personal trainer today you obviously also know the human body very well too. I must stay that those two sets of anatomy knowledge meld together very well in your artwork. And each sits well with the composition, colour, scale, atmosphere. Is there any aspect of your paintings that you would still like to improve on, or feel might need ‘tweaking up’ a bit?
JK: Well, if I could improve an aspect of my work I think it would be the subtlety of human emotion in the faces. There is always something better to achieve. Just like with exercising… you have to work at it every day to improve.