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Interview with Serge Birault


By Simon Morse

Web: http://www.sergebirault.fr (will open in new window)
Email: rf.liamtoh@tluarib.egres

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Date Added: 7th February 2012
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Hi Serge! Now, many of our readers will be familiar with your work as you are a regular in our galleries, and pretty much known as the digital pin-up king! But can you tell us a little about how you got interested in art, and how did you end up painting pin-ups?

The digital pin-up king! Oh God, where is my crown? I'm not sure I deserve that title. There are so many great pin-up artists like Aly Fell, Matt Dixon, Loopydave, Andy Hickinbottom or Rebeca Puebla... I loved Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and William Bouguereau when I was younger. Then I discovered Gil Elvgren and, of course, Hajime Sorayama and I knew what I wanted to do. I had never seen such realistic rendering before and I spent a lot of time trying to emulate his style. Sorayama's pin-ups are naughtier than mine. I would say he is my major technical influence, but Elvgren's girls are simply the best pin-ups of all time. Like him I try to do humorous pictures.

I also love caricatures. I'm not that good at them, but a lot of caricaturists like Sebastian Krüger or Dominic Philibert have had a great influence on me. I try to avoid proportions that are too realistic. Cartoon pin-ups by Loopydave, for example, have provided me with some new references.

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Perhaps I should have said digital pin-up royalty - I love the rest of the royal family too! There are a lot of names I recognize in there from my days at art college. It sounds like you were heavily influenced by some great, traditional artists. Do you have a traditional art background? How did you end up painting digitally?

I didn't study art, but I practiced using acrylic, oils and (of course) airbrushes. I began to use a computer a very long time ago, nearly 20 years in fact. It was very hard to create big digital files, but it was far easier than working traditionally. I ended up painting digitally because I'm lazy.

Most of us will be familiar with your very clean and tidy pin-ups, but whilst looking through your galleries I came across some really nice speed paintings. Do you do these for fun, or do you find it is a nice way to experiment with ideas without committing your time to a complete project?

Yes, I like doing speed paintings too. When I finish a big picture I need to do some fast and little
sketches; it's a good way to find new ideas or new techniques. I can easily create more dynamic pictures than classical pin-up poses. Unfortunately my clients never ask for this kind of work; they always want clean and fully detailed pictures.

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That is surprising. The variety in your portfolio is outstanding. Do you find it quite liberating to shake loose from your very clean rendering techniques from time to time?

Oh yes! Liberating is the word. I think I must look like a maniac when I do this kind of picture. I will have to try to mix these two styles, like Simon Bisley. He's a very good example of what I want to try to do.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 88852, pid: 0) Digital 3D Art on Sat, 25 February 2012 1:34pm
Very nice work ! I would bet these were done in a rendering program as to the person that asked about what it has to do with 3d. I often render 3d and then use in 2d paintings etc
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(ID: 85140, pid: 0) Dima on Wed, 08 February 2012 8:42pm
Osom work, but what does it have to do with 3D as in 3dtotal?
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(ID: 84768, pid: 0) Josh on Tue, 07 February 2012 11:14am
Great guy. Asked him a bunch of questions and he answered them all and quickly too. Top respect to one of my idols. Good interview :)
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