3DTotal: So Patri, most of our 2DArtist readers will recognise you as Chuck,mate, from our Stylised Animal Challenges. First of all, and I have to ask, why “Chuck,mate”? Was it a childhood nickname, or is it something that people have come to know you as through your work as an artist? Patri: I’m a huge Chuck Palahniuk fan. He’s the author of some of the most innovative and original literature of recent times, in my humble opinion. Books such as “Fight Club” “Survivor”, “Choke” and many others just blew me away, one brilliant sentence at a time. When I first joined the CA.org forums I just named myself Chuck,mate, which sounded – to me – like a cross between chess’s winning move, “Checkmate”, and a recommendation of this great writer: “Dude, this Chuck, mate, is awesome…”
3DTotal: I never would have guessed that’s why you called yourself Chuck,mate. It’s an interesting way of giving yourself a pseudo name! Any good at chess...? Patri: Na, it’s not my kind of game.
3DTotal: Can you tell us a little about how you first got into 2D digital art, and how your experiences – both personal and work-related – have made you the artist you are today? Patri: I was always drawn to fantasy artwork, since the early days of TSR’s artists such as Larry Elmore, Clyde Caldwell, Brom, Keith Parkinson, the Hildebrandt Brothers and all the others. I used to collect their Art books way before I had any Internet access. As a child I didn’t have a computer, and when I finally managed to get one, about the age of 18, I discovered the crazy and awesome tools such as Photoshop and Painter. Through a process of trial and error I learned how to control and use this software, and it became like a second nature for me. I got to a point where I no longer created in traditional media, and I drew and painted everything digitally. Through the years I landed all sorts of freelance projects which taught me all about time management, schedules, following briefs,
team work, and efficiency and economy in illustration and conceptual artwork creating. I worked for a big animation studio in Israel called “DPSI”, which was a branch of IDT entertainment, which cranked my skills and work ethics up a few meaningful notches.
On a personal level, working hard and always experimenting made me efficient and fast, without compromising on quality. I’m good at what I do, and I do it quickly.
3DTotal: How did you get your first big break at DPSI? How did that come about? Patri: I was fresh out of art school (I went to the Bezalel academy for art and design in Jerusalem. I never got to finish it, though. I ran out of money and I got bored to tears whilst there anyway. So I dropped out and I moved to Tel-Aviv in search of work. I was unemployed for a couple of months when a good friend of mine told me about a fairly new and exciting studio named DPSI,
residing in Beit-Shemesh. So, I got off my bum and went there for an interview, holding my then somewhat thin portfolio in hand. They were so impressed they sat me down at a drawing table and gave me a couple of small environment and character designing tests. At the end of the day, they hired me, and I started working the very next day. I was there for a year and a half, and then they closed down, mainly for financial reasons (as far as I understand it…).
3DTotal: Looking at your ImagineFX portfolio here, we can see an obvious progression. What I like about your work is that you pay attention to both subject and background equally; making sure the viewer can find interest in the whole image. How has yourstyle come about? For example, who have been your main influences?
I like to think my style evolved through my experience with the digital medium. Working straight in software like
Photoshop, drawing and painting both at the same time, gives my work a certain look and appeal. I’m amazed by so many digital artists out there, and I’m influenced by their artwork. Matt Dixon, to name one, has always been one of my absolute favourites. His images are all so lively and colourful, and lots of fun to look at and examine. His brush work is always “there” and one can actually see an organic progression within an image of his.
3DTotal: What benefits does working directly in Photoshop have over sketching traditionally? Do you still dabble in traditional media, and if so what decides when you’ll switch the Wacom for the bristles? Patri: Pencil sketches and studies are priceless. I keep doing that, daily. Sketching directly in Photoshop gives me a kind of freedom I don’t have with traditional tools. I can erase, rotate, enlarge, squeeze and deform anything I want in a matter of seconds. I can change everything’s colour and form without even breaking a sweat. I can work on different layers and tweak and play with anything ‘til I’m satisfied. I can throw the whole thing away and start over if I feel I’m going nowhere with it. There are no emotional attachments to the sketching in the process, thus there are no compromises with the results. Plus, I can sketch with that software and begin the blocking and paint work simultaneously, creating faster and more efficiently good pieces. Now, what pencil does that? I used to paint in oils and charcoal quite a lot in the past. Nowadays I hardly do that anymore. It’s too messy and the prep work is a real nuisance. Of course, that’s only compared to the digital medium.
3DTotal: How do you keep yourself focussed on your artwork from conception through to the final results? What methods do you take to keep your work fresh and original? Patri: I like to go into a painting head-on; just let any ideas or notions that I have “spill” straight onto my canvas. I let it all go wild and I never stop myself at the beginning of the painting process. I use wide and heavy brush strokes just to get a “feel” of what it is I’m looking for. I thumbnail and doodle things fast, not getting too attached to anything, until finally I stop and observe it as a whole. If I like it I then get into it deeper, detailing and refining what it is I wanted to achieve in the first place. Little “happy accidents” are always a sweet thing, when they happen. Being original is a hard thing. Staying fresh in a creative business is tough. I keep looking at other brilliant artists’ work, and I – mostly subconsciously – gather ideas and inspiration from that. I tend to keep my designs simple, yet effective.