It seems odd to refer to digital art as “painterly”, but modern digital painting tools in applications like Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop make that eminently possible. Concept artist Craig Mullins excels at creating dramatic, believable concept paintings for movies and games that are rich with digital “brushstrokes”, at times appearing as abstract blobs of color when viewed in detail.
Mullins was an early adapter of digital painting for concept art and is one if its undisputed masters. (He was urged to try digital painting by no less than John Knoll, visual effects supervisor at ILM and co-creator of Adobe Photoshop.) Mullins has created matte paintings for movies like The Matrix Revolutions, Armageddon, Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump; and concept visualization paintings for games like Halo 2, Marathon 2, Final Fantasy, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent and Prince of Persia.
His site galleries are filled with a dazzling array of images from his professional work. One thing that constantly stands out is his brilliant use of light and color to highlight portions of the images in a way that adds tremendous visual drama. You find yourself wishing the the final movies and games had more of the visual power of Mullin’s images.
In addition to his concept art, his site also features digital sketches in various degrees of finish as well as works in traditional media: oil, watercolor and pastel (usually figures from life). He appears to work rapidly, both in his digital concept art and in his traditional life painting, which gives his work a feeling of immediacy and freshness.
There are also sketches and more finished pieces that are apparently done for his own amusement, in particular a series of swashbuckling pirate images in the grand tradition of Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth but with Mullin’s signature digital painting style. Very cool.
His work is featured in the Expose 1 collection of digital painting from Ballistic Publishing, in which he was unanimously voted the first “Grand Master” award for that series. There is an article about him on the Ballistic site. There is also an illustrated article on the BBC News site.
I first wrote about Craig Mullins back in October of last year, but a recent post in Acuarela prompted me to check in on his site, Mr. Goodbrush, and see what’s new. The answer is: plenty! The site itself hasn’t changed (I groused about the navigation then and I’ll do it again), but he has posted tons of new work.
Mullins is prolific, and the the delight of many, posts lots and lots of his images, and posts them large enough that you can get a really good ideal of how good they are! (Are you listening, all you other artists who think that tiny images are sufficient for an online presence?)
Mullins is not only talented, but smart. He has figured out how to maintain a career as a concept artist while living in Hawaii, instead of being tied to Los Angeles.