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Mastering a signature style

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 3rd July 2015

Pyramyth Studios Concept Artist, David Navia shares his passion for keeping a traditional feel in his paintings and what inspires his art in this exclusive interview.

One more time


3dt: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Hello guys. I'm from Bogota, Colombia, a really beautiful country and a nice place to live with great people all over it. I am a book illustrator and concept designer for films and videogames. My biggest passion in life is drawing and painting, I've been doing it for decades; started very early on this craft and, definitely, I'll keep doing until my last days.

Azkaban series: Boggart - From a series inspired by the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

3dt: Tell us the story behind your most recent image(s): What inspired you to create it (them)?

My most recent inspirations have been movies, my friends and family, favorite actors/actresses and any cool photographs that I find by accident that make a relevant impact on me. I've recently been focusing on color (it used to be my weakest point), so I also use screenshots from movies that have a nice color palette, and start up paintings as quick color studies that I take as a base and later turn into different compositions.

Azkaban series: Patronus - From a series inspired by the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

3dt: What software do you use and do you have any tips for using this software or any other software that you use to create your art in general?

Mainly I have used Photoshop to make all of my paintings, though I sometimes use Procreate also; it is a very nice tool on the iPad, it lets me experiment a nice way that feels similar to working traditionally with my fingers.

My biggest tip is to use digital media only with a previous understanding and long practice of traditional foundations. Don't skip the first step in art training and prove to yourself you can master the real issue before using CG tools. Practice oil painting and charcoal drawings as much as you can, and always keep a sketchbook with you wherever you go, you will also meet people who do the same, become friends, and encourage each other to improve constantly.


3dt: Would you consider yourself to have a particular signature style, or techniques that you use often?

I'd say I always try to give a painterly look to my images, as well as putting into characters close to the camera in a scene (I love portraits and human figures).


3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset and why?

ZBrush and 3ds Max. There are tons of great artists all over the world making such wonderful pieces with these tools. That makes me feel sad when I compare the poor knowledge I have of this software against theirs. These 3D tools let you quicken many process of compositing a scene, say setting up the lighting condition for example.

Coffee and TV

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

I look at art websites and illustrators portfolios on a daily basis to get inspiration, and also think about what I wouldn't replicate from their work. I constantly ask myself for original ideas.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

My biggest influences are traditional master painters, like Velasquez or Caravaggio, and artists in the world today as impressive as Rien Poortvliet, Burt Silverman, Enrique Fernandez and Sergey Kolesov. My biggest passion is creating characters and filling up as many sketchbooks as I can.


3dt: How do you like to unwind after a hard day's (or night's) work?

Doing some in-line skating. It gives me that sense of freedom I always need. (I don't recommend doing it at night though).

Oz series: Ride - Inspired by the film The Wizard of OZ

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?

More 3D integrated scenes, and some environments (I haven't done too many of them, so I need to set myself that challenge)

Oz series: Tin Man - Inspired by the film The Wizard of OZ

3dt: If you could choose any superhero power, what would you take?

I'd love being in many places at once, and distorting the speed of time as I wish. Imagine how the world would be if you were able to speed up the boring days and enlarge those great little moments of life, like a date with the girl you love.

Related links

Visit David Navia's personal site
Take a look at Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

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