Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dermot Power (update)

Dermot Power
Dermot Power is a concept designer and visual development artist with an impressive list of credits in feature films like Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, V for Vendetta and three of the Harry Potter films, as well as high-end gaming projects like Bioshock 2.

Since I initially wrote about him in 2006, Power has redesigned his website and added concept art from several new films, including Beowulf, A Christmas Carol and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

I’m constantly struck by Power’s masterful use of value in composing his images. This is most evident in his compositions that are monochromatic, or nearly so, which have a dynamic and atmospheric power that make them a visual treat in themselves.

Not that Power doesn’t also do wonderful work in color, he certainly does, but where other concept artists rely on color, often with high-chroma complementary colors laid side by side to exaggerate their intensity, Power creates palpable atmosphere and intense visual drama using value as his major instrument. Even in his full color work, you can tell that value is a primary concern in his handling of the subject.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt the Power is a terrific draftsman, with a snappy, economic style that makes his character designs a visual treat as well.

When viewing the galleries on his website, and flipping through the (unfortunately small) controls above the images, don’t miss the fact that some of the projects have more than one section, accessed on the bar to the right of the title. Also, look for Power’s interesting commentary at lower left of the images.

There is also a biography and interviews on the site, along with a FAQ, links and more. Unfortunately the “Tutorials” section is limited (at least for now) to a single time-lapse digital painting. Power also maintains a blog titled DMOXIA.

It’s easy when viewing concept art for familiar films to unconsciously think of them as after the fact, because they often look like the images you’ve seen on screen, but keep in mind that images like these are what the movie scenes are based on; they facilitate the communication of visual concepts between the director, cinematographer, production designer and other contributors who produce the final look of a feature film or game.

Power’s beautiful concept designs for Alice in Wonderland (images above, top two) and A Christmas Carol (second and third down) are so striking they make me wish the final movies were filmed in black and white and looked as close to his digital paintings as possible.

3 thoughts on “Dermot Power (update)

  1. David J. Teter

    Stunning, and yes, masterful use of value.
    These posts you do on concept designers, visual development artists and comic artists are some of my favorites.

    His work here reminds me of the post you did on Mateu-Mestre, Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers, both alluding to how (these artists) ‘frame the story’.

    It takes an artist with exceptional skill at handling value, design etc and an understanding of, as you said in your Mateu-Mestre post, dynamic composition…

    ” But in film and comics, composition is dynamic, it changes and flows with the story, and in fact, is vitally important to the process of telling the story. “

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