I was honored to be one of the 12 artists featured in the latest issue of the precious Beautiful Bizarre Magazine. I wanted to have at least one new-to-the-eyes picture to show among the 12 pages featuring my work. With all the commissioned work that makes my schedule 150% full, I barely had time for that piece.
I decided to jump in without thinking or planning anything. Working fast, instinctively and see what comes from it. I was ready to not even like the piece and just get rid of it.
But the opposite happened. The fast pace made me work without thinking too much, focusing on the painting flow and energy. Dropping elements in the piece and dealing with it, trying to harmonize everything.
DEATHFLOWERS came from that.
Thanks to the magnificent Laureline, and Sir Valnoir for the reference materials.
Thanks to Beautiful Bizarre for the publication.
To get your hand on the beautiful and bizarre magazine, here is the link:
Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
Created for Beautiful Bizarre
Because the Fox Barks / Allegory of Death
Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
Thanks to Laureline.
Soundtrack —> Current93
Prints available —> CLICK HERE
Here is a tutorial + video on a personal digital piece I just finished.
I started this piece during an online « LevelUp! » session and ran out of time. The session was 2.5hours, and I usually spend in between a day and a week on a picture.
So I decided to share here the complete step by steps, from the anatomy study to the finished artwork. Using « gif » files so you can see the progresses accurately.
Step 01 / Anatomy sketch
I always work with references. My work being focused on characters, I need to work with models full of personality. Visual strength.
Working with references is the way for me to achieve realism and accuracy. Not paint random characters, but actual portraits. I have my own little photo studio at home for this purpose.
This work though was created from a collaboration with a model living in Paris. We never found time to work together when I was living there, so she sent me photo-references accorded to poses I sent her. Those were the material I based my anatomy study on.
I sketch on a neutral value background. I select a neutral skin tone and start building the silhouette, using the strong angles of the body as a base. Something I can grab on to not get lost in the proportions.
I use 2 or 3 kind of brushes: one hard, to sculpt the values and one soft to blend them. And most of the time a good soft painting brush to start giving a bit of painterly style to the figure.
I work with colors, but trying to not care that much about it at first. I just put enough colors in the picture at first so it can react with the colors adjustments (Adjustments —> Color Balance). These adjustments are a good way to start building a good cold/warm relationship in the tones.
Step 02 / Building the Image
(LevelUp! video session)
The first thing I did at this step was to start organizing the space inside the canvas. Just blocking big shapes and elements. I imported the character into this system and tried to get a mental picture of the illustration I wanted to create.
This was made during the video session. You can follow this link if you are looking for 2.5 hours of demo with a french accent:
Video —> LevelUp! / Session 42
Texturing and blending
During this step I also import any kind of materials (textures, random photographs, pre-painted elements) that I will use to blend into the painting process. Anything is good to just create accidents and randomness. This voluntary randomness is essential in my workflow. It creates unexpected effects that I decide to keep or modify, or delete. This triggers a sort of fight that goes on during the rest of the process: making choices at all time. Creating accidents and reacting to it.
I also use the lasso tool to push even more on random effects. Select/paste/modify/blend/etc …
Step 03 / Finish
Detailing and painting
This step is the longest and takes place only when the composition is stable enough.
I started by modifying a little bit the elements from the live session an adjusting the canvas size.
Then it’s all about painting, using the right brushes, and adjusting everything together while building the picture.
The brushes I used are part of my personal set. This set is composed by brushes created by myself and other talented digital painters.
This set is available to download on my DeviantArt account:
Brushes —> Deharme’s work set
!!! Created and used with Photoshop CC !!!
Questions / Answers
During the live session and after, I received many questions and wasn’t able to answer it all. Let’s do that now:
Did you go to art school ?
—> Yes and no. I have a MFA from a french university where I studied academic drawing, abstract painting engraving and photography. I never went to school for illustration or any digital techniques. I built those myself with the support of my traditional and academic background and the influence of digital artists I admire.
What would be the « keyword » to define your process ?
—> « Choices« . As mentioned in the video, I consider my process like an accumulation of choices. trying to always make the right ones. From the choice of the model I work with, to the composition and all the little details during the painting process.
One of the really specific aspect of digital work is the fact that you can undo things endlessly. This can be dangerous in the process because it removes the « weight » of the decisions you make (You can always « go back » so what you do doesn’t really matter). But it also have the great advantage to allow a maximum amount of experimentations, that are specific to digital, such as superposing textures and scanned materials to create accidents, going crazy with odd brush effects, etc … Because I work digital, I consider it some kind of « artistic duty » to take advantage of my medium as much as I can. This process of experimentation leads to accidents and randomness, and therefore choices. What to keep and what not. What gets interesting and what parasites my picture. The artist must practice and educate himself always, in order to develop tastes, to make the right choices.
How do you deal with « bad days » ?
—> I don’t allow myself « bad days », unless I’m really sick or need a break in between two commissions to clear my mind.
Freelancing means being your own boss and it’s easy to let yourself go into the « I don’t feel good today, I’ll do that tomorrow ». Today I simply have too much work to afford being « lazy ». Every hours count. In order to stand the pressure of perpetual « ready to create » state of mind, I take care of my body. I have a routine of running and exercising. It helps a lot for the mental stability and creative state. And it balances the hours spent in front of a screen.
I also try to alternate between my traditional and digital works.
I cannot do a good job when I wake up, so I try to start my days with things that doesn’t require much painting skills. Like emails, paperwork (a big part of the freelance job), etc …
Where do you get your inspiration ?
—> Books, music of course. Movies. Good ones.
I use Pinterest to keep tracks of things that inspire me —> Pinterest/Deharme
Something very important to me is to stay curious and to not waste my time.
I sometime compare the art process and inspiration with the eating/shitting human system.
You eat things, digest it and finally produce something that comes out of yourself. What you produce depends of what you eat. If you eat only fast-food you will get sick and die young.
I try to feed myself with good books, good movies, good references. And I am very careful to not let negative products contaminate me. There is many things I sincerely despise in that world, and I stay away from them and their influences. And I feed on what I love.
Those things will define you and your artwork, it’s a duty toward yourself to be very careful and specific about it.
Comments, questions are welcome.
I really hope this helped.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to organise a simple contest to thank 30,000 people for following my work on Facebook.
First of all I have to thank everybody who messaged me to enter the contest. I received a massive amount of sweet words. From many different people, artists or art lovers. All of them very passionate !
I don’t have the extra-human capability to answer the 472 emails personally, but I really hope anybody who took the time to write me some of those lines will get to read the BIG THANK YOU that I’m throwing out there.
A special thank you for the epic losers as well: I have been called « Damien » and also told that « I should win because I plan to sell it on ebay to help for some of my projects ». This was fun.
The winner is named Ale Caballero Laredo, and she lives in Mexico. Her words crossed the language barrier to express finely her understanding of my work. She is also an aspiring artist and I know that my drawing will be in good hands.
The second prise goes to Marie-Anne Dooghe Guibereau, from france, who has been encouraging me in my work for a while and showing a genuine understanding of what I’m talking about.
I also wanted to thank Sandra Devic, Damjan Gjorgievski, Laureline Plo-w, Laetitia Schwarzer-Schmetterling, Joshua Burbank, Ingrid Laga, Poppe Lupus, Antoine Boyer, Priyanka Menon and Mee Altair for their messages. Sincere and sometimes completely delirious 😀
Thanks again guys. I wanted to give something special to you, but again you are the ones giving me more than I was expecting.
A while ago I announced on Facebook that when my official page would reach 30,000 followers, I would organise a contest to thank you all for supporting my work.
We reached this number this week.
So I spent a few days thinking about what kind of Facebook contest I could make, without falling into some kind of « spamming/sharing » event. I also really wanted to offer something precious and unique. And because it is actually precious and unique, I don’t want those pieces to fall in the hand of someone who doesn’t really care about it. I tried to find the good formula for a fair and fun contest, something really rewarding, and here is what I decided to go for:
. . .
The 30k Contest / Rules:
– The contest opens on July 17th 2014 and ends on August 5th 2014 at midnight.
– To enter the contest, you must send me an email on my Facebook Official page (https://www.facebook.com/b.digital.art), explaining why you should win the first price. Please be creative, and convince me that you are the one ! Let’s make it fun !
– To enter the contest, you must also share the link to my official page (https://www.facebook.com/b.digital.art) on your Facebook profile, but only one time (not every fu****g day).
– Be conscious that I’m happy to do that, not obliged. So if you win, be patient and respectful, or I could pick another winner !
– After August 5th, I will chose the 10 more convincing emails and randomly select the first and second price.
. . .
One original drawing (The Scar / Pencil on watercolor paper / 11×15″)
A unique « blue » version of the piece Hecate. Print numbered 01/01 and signed.
A signed print of the piece Hecate, Giclee on fine art paper.
. . .
Ouch … the website needs a serious update, and the blog some articles.
I’m not dead, but very busy indeed.
This morning one of the emails in my mailbox was from a Spanish art student who was asking for a list of five books she should purchase to improve her fundamental skills. I took a photograph of one floor of my bookcase where I keep the books I recommend to my students. I thought it might help some of you.
Click on the picture to get the full size !
From left to right:
– Some ImagineFX Magazines
– Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth / Andrew Loomis
– Creative Illustration / Andrew Loomis (Must read !)
– Digital Art Masters + Digital Painting Techniques (Thank you 3DTotal !)
– Frazetta’s sketchbook
– How to Draw (Don’t get fooled by the title, it’s a book about technical drawings. Vehicles and architectures. Recommended for concept artists !)
– ART Fundamentals (3DTotal / A really good book about fundamentals. It just talks about it all, with cool samples inside. Traditional and digital.)
– The New Artist’s Manual / Simon Jenning / Chronicle Books (Excellent book for traditional painting and drawing. An encyclopedia of tools and basic techniques !)
– Beginner’s guide to Digital Painting / 3DTotal (The title talks for itself. A good book with a bunch of good tips to start with digital painting)
– Le Roi et l’Oiseau (Art book) (Just a book I personally had to have …)
– Bloodlust (Do not buy this book, you won’t find it anyway)
– Memories of Retrocity (Buy this one !)
– Paradise Lost / Doré (Work on your values !)
– Rackham / Faery tales + Wagner’s Ring (Look at those)
– Applibot’s Artbook (Great samples of master works inside ! / Thanks Pierre !)
– Spectrum Fantastic Art Live catalogues 1 + 2 (Nice books, but really, just buy the Spectrum every year ! )
– Imaginative Realism / Gurney (No need to present that one, just read it !)
– Framed Ink / Marcos Mateu-Mestre (Excelelnt for composition and story-telling !)
– The Art of Perspective / Metzger (A great torture tool !)
– Color and Light / Gurney (Same here: a must have ! Light is everything)
– Drawing from the Imagination / 3DTotal (An amazing compilation of sketches from master artists !)
– La Technique de la Peinture a l’Huile / Xavier de Langlais (It’s about oil, and it’s in french, and deal with it !)
____ This should keep you busy 😉
I recently posted on Deviant Art a complete set of brushes. A selection of my own custom brushes in addition of brushes found in sets of other artists and shared online.
Tonight I was working on an illustration and was trying to grab the energy I get when I work with charcoals on paper. I had the fun idea to use my charcoals drawing to create charcoal brushes, and I was quite happy with the result.
Both of these sets are created with Photoshop CC, which makes the sets not compatible with previous versions of photoshop.
I should have think that through and I will next time ! For the CC users, I hope you enjoy !
Here are the links: