Raphael Lacoste (update)

Raphael Lacoste
Raphael Lacoste is an illustrator, visual development artist and art director for the gaming and film industries.

He is currently working with Ubisoft as Brand Art Director for the Assasin’s Creed franchise, which is noted for its beautiful environments.

Lacoste’s other gaming credits include: Prince of Persia: The sands of Time and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones. He has also worked as a matte painter and designer for feature films like Terminator: Salvation, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jupiter Ascending and Repo Men.

Lacoste’s website features galleries of his work in several areas. He works digitally, primarily in Photoshop, and his images make beautiful use of atmospheric perspective and severely limited palettes. Some of his digital paintings seem almost monochromatic when you look at them in detail, but never feel artificially restricted in color range. In others, he uses to great effect the highlighting of key elements in a semi-monochromatic composition with the scheme’s complementary color.

You can see in his work an admiration for 18th and 19th century artists like JMW Turner, Arnold Böcklin and Caspar David Friedrich.

Lacoste has an instructional DVD on Digital Environment Painting from Gnomon Workshop, also available through Amazon.

[Via CGHub]

Julie Dillon

Julie Dillon -  science fiction and fantasy illustration
Julie Dillon is a California based artist who is well known in the fields of science fiction and fantasy illustration. Her clients include Tor Books, Simon and Schuster, Penguin Books, Wizards of the Coast and numerous other book and game publishers. She is a winner of the Chesley Award and has been nominated for the 2013 Hugo Award for best Professional artist in the field.

Dillon frequently uses a controlled palette with a predominant color cast punctuated by brighter colors, often complementaries of the dominant range. This is a more common approach in fantasy and science fiction illustration and visual development art than in other fields, but Dillon’s use of is strikes me as a bit less overt than many.

Her work also feels in some way warmer than the approach taken by others in the field, which can sometimes feel overly polished. There is also often a tactile feeling of atmosphere in her images that I particularly enjoy.

Dillon’s website includes a gallery of her work, any you will find additional galleries on Tor.com and on Dillon’s deviantART and CGHub pages. Her website also includes a blog and an digital illustration tutorial that goes into her process.

Eric Spray

Eric Spray
Eric Spray is a concept artist for the Gaming industry who has worked on projects like
worked on projects like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Singularity, Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3.

Though he is prevented by non-disclosure agreements from posting his most recent work, his blog features an array of past work, along with personal projects, sketches from life and other images.

You can also find a selection of his work on an alternate blog and his gallery on CGHub.

I particularly like his use of controlled color ranges, the painterly effects he achieves in faces in his digital paintings, and the way he has extended his range of techniques with digital studies of paintings by masters like Rembrandt and Sargent.

[Via Concept Ships]

Dominick Saponaro

Dominick Saponaro
Dominick Saponaro is an illustrator based here in Philadelphia, whose clients include Simon & Schuster, Holiday House, The Science Fiction Book Club, Solaris Books, and Bethlehem books.

When I first viewed his online portfolio, I was struck by a number of digitally painted works in grayscale, reminiscent both in that respect, and in the subject matter in some cases, of the early monochromatic oil paintings of Howard Pyle (who I’ll venture is a prominent influence).

I was fascinated to follow up by reading the section on his website in which Saponaro describes his working process, which is unusual among digital painters in my experience. He starts with a digital sketch, not an unusual step, but then instead of working up from the sketch by blocking in areas of color, he creates a monochromatic underpainting, over which he works in transparent digital “glazes” in an analog of the traditional process of layered painting.

There is a step-through of the process, accompanied by a slide show video, of the image of Lincoln shown above. Also interesting is his approach to modeling curved surfaces with a series of planes, smoothed to some degree in the finish, but left expressed in a way that gives his figures a geometric strength.

In his color finishes, Saponaro maintains something of the monochromatic feeling of his underpaintings, with color schemes that work with a dominant color, augmented with closely analogous variations and sometimes punctuated with the primary color’s complement.

His online portfolio is unfortunately brief, but Saponaro maintains a blog on which you can find additional images, step-throughs and sketches. When viewing his portfolio, take advantage of the links to the upper left of the images to view larger versions and detail crops.

Saponaro is a member of the adjunct faculty of the Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia.