One of the wonderful thing about digital painting is that there is a certain freedom inherent in a medium in which your work exists primarily as magnetic domains indicating ones and zeros. Digital information can be stored, copied and manipulated in ways otherwise impossible. That wonderful “undo” feature and the ability so save out copies of your work at various stages give you a freedom to experiment, and to work rapidly, unlike any traditional medium.
Concept artist Xiaoye Chen uses those characteristics of digital painting to advantage. His work shows a wonderful fluidity and immediacy that make his images seem to be constructed purely of rapid bursts of color. Lines appear almost scribbled, and shapes are blocked in with great chunks of discrete color with little blending. Areas overlap and combine to form new blocks of color, as figures, objects and environments take shape out of the shifting, almost cubist arrangements of hue and tone.
He doesn’t add the simulated brushstroke textures available in painting programs like Corel Painter, instead he seems to prefer the immediate application of color, with little concern for a painterly finish. It appears that he works mostly in Photoshop, as shown in the single tutorial currently on the site, although he does take the time on his news page to recommend a nice, inexpensive painting tool called ArtRage, which is a bit like a very stripped down version of Painter or Alias Sketch, and has a free version you can try.
His Gallery pages are divided into Concepts and Illustration/Sketches. The former includes architectural comcept art and vehicle design in addition to game concepts, and the latter includes what appear to be studies from life as well as some interesting studies of paintings by illustrators like Lyendecker and painters like Sargent.
Beyond his basic tools, and the fact that he is recommended by a number of other top concept artists, I can find very little information about Xiaoye Chen. It looks like his work is largely for the gaming industry, but there in no indication on his site of projects or clients, and the “About” section is currently not linked.
So do what I did, thumb through his gallery pages and just enjoy those nice chunks of color.