Synthesis of Noncontemporary Influences – That Old Stuff… Is it Relevant? – Part 2

This post came about following a discussion with student their confusion between contemporary development technology and the artistic content of a piece of concept art and design.

It also follows on from a discussion started >HERE<.

“Being an artist is all about accepting permanent changes in in one’s art and techniques. Especially since the digital era took over a large part of todays’s creative industry.”

– Sparth, 2007

What does new technology such as Photoshop or Painter bring to the artist table?

What related issues might David Roberts, John Martin and Sparth have faced…?

Concept Art and Old Paintings The images above are the works of John Martin, Sparth and David Roberts respectively…

Going back to the related concepts of “Chairiscuro” and “Concept Art Value Structure” the images above reduced to their simplest values…

- 00 - concept-art-and-old-paintings

“I’m a child of Photoshop…”

“…I started wondering if perhaps I was becoming a digital artist instead of simply an artist. Today I strongly believe that this issue in no longer a question of interest.”

So what does he value…? Well…

“…sharpening our senses to the world …by depicting the way light, shapes and colours interact.”

Nothing purely digital about that…

[ …it’s definitely worth looking at the back catalogue of David Robert’s work and then the digital tutorial from Sparth on pages 150+ of Structura 2, to explore these similarities. ]
Mullings portraitsDigital and Traditional works from Craig Mullins portfolio site –

…likewise  what issues might Craig Mullins have had in common with Rembrandt?

Rembrandtself1661Self portrait – Rembrandt

Again with a reduced “values” only version of the image:


Artists like Craig Mullins still use traditional media as they understand the relevance of the skill sets and techniques involved. Sometimes its not just about the speed or cleanliness of production but about the process of observation.

A Rich Heritage:

Digital (and trad’) Concept Artists have a clear lineage.

We really owe a nod of gratitude to the Narrative Artists throughout history, who have developed the techniques and methods, styles, and even opened up new genres to the visual arts.

Techniques such as Chiaroscuro

Definition of Chiaroscuro – Contemporary artists like Kevin O’Neill discuss the same subject today in terms of “Values”.

But we can see the lineage of Concept art in traditional painting just by looking at the work of artists such as…

Craig Mullins, Sparth, Frank Frazetta, N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Caravagio, Vermeer, Rembrandt.

Similarities – use of light/chirascuro/perspective/solid drawing skills/colour theory/an understanding of contemporary and historical architecture and environment content.

Differences – Ease of delivery of final product (D. Roberts paintings fastened to a frame of wood where 1 x 1.5 meters in size, to show this to a client he would have needed a second table at his cafe meeting, Sparth can show an equally sized/detailed image, ready for print, on his phone/tablet). Speed of production/no serious preparation.

The leap from Artists having to work with a mouse instead of a brush or their fingers to create brush strokes to working on a touch screen tablet or a Cinteq drawing screen cannot be ignored… but that’s just what is happening, and rightly so.

Technology the better it gets begins to dissolve its own importance in any discussion regarding the development of work, as the interface between the artist and the actual work of creating solid looking architecture bathed in realistic light and texture becomes more natural.

David RobertsAssassins Creed, Prince of Egypt, – Prince of Persia? Probably…

So… why not, rather than dismissing all that work from the past… follow Isaac Newtons lead… and Stand on The Shoulders of Giants – article by Film-maker and self dubbed “Story Guy” Brian McDonald

~ by hesir on October 22, 2014.

2 Responses to “Synthesis of Noncontemporary Influences – That Old Stuff… Is it Relevant? – Part 2”

  1. Reblogged this on Digital Oz-art and commented:
    Du traditionnel au numérique

  2. […] Part Two of this discussion/seminar can be found >HERE<. […]

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