This page is a bit about my history and how I arrived at this point in time. I’ve included the back catalogue gallery of my work because it’s useful to see where an artist has come from and their development.
The pieces on here date back to before 2007 when I established my first onegraydot.com website. Most of the pictures in these galleries are produced digitally, some more obvious than others.
Many artists learn how to paint using traditional oil and media, and then have moved across to digital now because of the requirements of publishers. And besides which, that undo button is very useful in exploring ideas! It’s easier to send ideas to the publisher and refine ideas, and of course once your computer is bought there’s no other real expenses. Apart from connection to the internet but I guess we all have that…
I too started in natural media, but with only an o-level behind me and I couldn’t find any good tutors – my school said that artists couldn’t make money and the internet was in its infancy…youtube tutorials non-existant – I could only master pencils and ink rendering. A bit of watercolour. I really wanted to be an artist right from when I was first working, but although everyone loved my work, nothing quite connected. Featured in newspapers; asked to do some bits and pieces but they were all ‘on the side’ so to speak. Big industry things but just not regular. I suspect part of this was I just didn’t have the contacts and it was pre-internet.
My art was being picked up by my employer in 2007, a book publisher called Scripture Union for whom I was a trainer and practitioner of children’s ministry in churches and schools that really changed things. I was able to buy photoshop, and then artrage and corel Paint, then manga studio. I got my first graphics tablet and ImagineFX magazine was published. I took on challenges at the ImagineFX forums (which sadly don’t exist anymore) as well as producing illustrations for print for my employer alongside my regular work. This gave me a hands on accelerated learning in developing many styles including learning how to produce oil-painting-like results, even though I had not really experienced oils. From 3D programs to digital oils and watercolour. Special effects to photomontage.
Of course using digital media isn’t the same. Like I said, the undo button becomes a friend. But it served me well, and I practised hard to make my digital pictures look like the real thing. This meant I had to study what the original looked like to pull it off. When to blend, when not to. When to use a burn tool to make the edge of a puddle of digital watercolour look right. And when to get angry when corel painter wouldn’t make it look real no matter what it claimed.
The as I left the publishing company to concentrate on training to wear a dog collar I moved away from the digital world so much and went back to working with traditional media. What was interesting was all those hours and days and weeks even of staring at edges and details to reproduce digitally gave me an insight as to what worked best, and I found that I was able to now make real world materials so what I wanted. I had learned through hundreds of hours of digital work how to make the real world do what I wanted it to.
Though I still miss the undo button
I guess it’s this that has made me almost a zealot over my distaste for the industry that claims a giclee is a limited edition print. You see, I can produce a digital piece of artwork and then hit the giclee print button. A print off that looks like an oil painting. It still requires skill, but they aren’t what they claim to be. So it has driven me to printmaking to put things right. Yeah that.
I can’t move away 100% from the digital world. Balancing values, sending pictures to clients. Remixing the pencils. And in the prints using the digital world to tidy up my ideas…essentially colour roughs. Even sometimes when I get to a point not too sure how to proceed I bash the picture into photoshop and smash intuitively layers and textures over the top until l find something intuitively that works. Then I paint that onto the original (or something like it) and move forwards.
So here it is, in all its glory. My history in pictures.
Don’t forget, you can also see my work from after the digital years on the blog pages.