3DTotal: Hello Min, it’s great to catch up with you. 3DTotal are very pleased to have just announced the release of Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3 and we were wondering how you felt about having your stunning Siren on the cover of this outstanding book? Min: Thanks so much for having me! I’ve got to admit it's very exciting and I feel honored to be featured on the cover of Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3!
3DTotal: Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3 is obviously a training book aimed at all fans of digital painting. Can you tell us a little about how you learnt your painting skills and can you give some advice to those who are just starting their adventure into digital painting? Min: I got into art and digital painting a little later than most artists. I've always shown an interest in art, just never thought of it much. I grew up envying those who drew well. I thought art was just for those who were naturally talented as if it was a magical gift you are born with. It only took me 25 years to realize that wasn't the case.
I am a self-taught artist, meaning I didn't attend art school or have any formal training in art. That isn't to say I figured it all out by myself, quite the opposite. I wouldn't have anything if it weren't for all the art books and online communities dedicated to
learning the craft, and all the fellow artists who have kindly spared their time to offer me advice. I am still very much learning and will do so for a very long time. I guess it's good to have patience and trust in yourself.
3DTotal: I love looking through your online portfolio as it is full of such varied work. Two things stand out to me though as being really important in your work. The first is the composition and the second is the silk-like, yet textured, paint affect you achieve. How much thought do you give to the composition before you put pen to paper and how do you create that silky smooth affect? Min: Sometimes I have a very specific visual picture in mind, but that isn't very often; most of the time it's just a bunch of words from a brief. I just try to put them all together in a meaningful picture. Composition is really hard to explain, I think. It's a mixture of do's and don’ts and instinct. Maybe that's why it's important to lay them out in sketches, see what works and what doesn't.
As for the silky smooth effect – there was a phase where I experimented a lot with painting effects in Photoshop. The Smudge tool (surprisingly) works quite well, but it has its limits. The brushes do help too, but now that I am over the experimental phase I think it's mostly about just painting and forgetting that it's Photoshop.
3DTotal: Since going freelance last year I guess you must have worked on a variety of cool projects. Out of all of these, which have been the most enjoyable? Min: I recently worked on a series of oriental fantasy illustrations for a cutscene. This was a lot of fun because the art director gave me a very open brief. It felt like working on my personal work and gave me the freedom to create interesting illustrations. I am very much looking forward to seeing how it got wrapped up in the end.
3DTotal: I find that almost every artist was inspired by something from their youth. This is usually a comic, cartoon or film. Is there something that stands out to you as being particularly influential? Min: I grew up drooling over comics and games as many kids do. I spent hours in front of Japanese RPG games, but I’ve got to admit my greatest influence is probably Andrew Loomis and his books. I've always found his books most helpful and resourceful.
3DTotal: Thanks for sharing some of your work with us and for creating such a great cover for our book. Min: Thanks!
Rating: 3.25, Votes: 8
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