illustration is art

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In Ancient Tombs

In Ancient Tombs

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7 responses

  1. This is incredibly intricate. Care to throw a couple rays of light on its creation? Nothing to give away your secrets…just a couple clues here and there?

    July 20, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    • Thanks, Alli. This is a technique I have been developing over the last five years. I doubt that I invented it, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else and have had to teach it to myself every step of the way. It’s basically quite simple; take an image (this is in Photoshop, of course) duplicate it, then work your way through all the blending modes (on the top layer), saving any images that look good. This will give you several (often dozens) of surprisingly varied iterations which will have a broad range of colours that always work together. From there you can do the same with combinations of the iterations… I often wind up with 30 or 40 iterations. From there I have usually got a few favorites and a vision of whats possible, theme-wise… it’s a lot like the I Ching, or some kind of Jungian experiment, it’s a totally random process that helps you see things you have in your head, but didn’t know.
      Then I’ll start flipping and rotating layers to progress the image even further, but also to give it a more symmetrical structure, as I like lots of symmetry in these. I cut bits out, manipulate them, add them back in… all the incredible, magical things you can do in Photoshop… I liken it to digital collage, but I think it’s really digital painting, because I’m also playing with light and washes of transparency. Usually I will make one lot of iterations from one or two photo’s, or from one or two of my digital paintings, then I’ll make another lot of iterations from a different set of images… then I start all over again, blending the two resulting sets. In Ancient Tombs is created originally from an awesome photo I took years ago of a rusty water tank, and from the previous post, In Memoriam, which is a simple photo-manipulation of an old type of grave decoration we have here in New Zealand. I made about 12 iterations of the grave ornament photo, and about the same of the rust, then about 40 of the two of them, and this is the result.
      I’m getting better and better at them. When I first started doing them, they were usually always beautiful, but they would be spectacularly intricate, almost fractally so, and would go on becoming more intricate, to the degree that they became too intricate, too busy, too infinitely repetitive; there was no focus, they were too vague. I think I’m learning to keep them in focus and centered. I’m also learning how to make them actually look ‘painted’, now, which is really cool!
      I’ve only recently realised, because I’m so close to them and their creation, that they must look pretty amazing to anyone unfamiliar with what they are.

      July 21, 2013 at 4:05 am

      • Yes, definitely amazing to those unfamiliar with what they are! Kaleidoscopic comes to mind, but that term implies something pretty much totally mechanical, which these images certainly are not!

        July 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm

  2. Hey….I’m glad I returned to read your comment about this Chris.

    July 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    • Was it enlightening?

      July 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      • Yes….yes it is. Even though I will never be able to do this myself I enjoyed reading about your process.

        My art process is–play with a bunch of things and keep the about 1% that I like.

        Anyway, these sorts of things your doing are really gorgeous and the titles are wonderful.

        July 23, 2013 at 12:02 am

      • Awww, thanks (:

        July 23, 2013 at 12:11 am

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