Just a few days ago I posted my own take on the Dune universe, or at least some small part of it. So far I'm stoked by all the feedback I've received for it already.
Of course before creating my own artwork I looked around dA for other Dune fanart to see what had already been done. I found some really exceptional stuff which I want to feature below. Enjoy the collection!
My own piece: "Shai-Hulud and the God Emperor"
- Mood: Joy
- Listening to: Arcturus
- Reading: Chapterhouse
- Watching: Mr. Robot
- Playing: Pillars of Eternity
I would like to welcome Pierre-Alain, as 3mmI, a french digital artist and graphic designer based in Nantes, France. He is a long term member of the photo-manipulation community of deviantArt with a fine taste for the dark and the oneiric. For our Project Educate Photomanipulation Week this year he agreed to answer a couple of questions for us.
It's a great pleasure for me to do this interview with him!
Hello Pierre-Alain, thank you for taking the time for this interview. With nine years of activity you are a long-term member of the photo-manipulation community on deviantart. Did your career start right here nine years ago, or did your journey through digital art begin even earlier?
First, thank you Erik for your questions. To answer you, the first years were for me mainly about practicing, learning, trying, and of course, exploring, discovering. I'm 100% self-educated in art, so I had to learn all by myself, and it took a long time. I think I managed to hit a "correct" level only a few years ago... but I think I still have to learn, it's an endless journey.
We all do! Being an expert at combining photos with textures, has photo-manipulation always been your main passion, or did you ever give other art genres a try?
I have always been interested in some various kind of art, mainly music (I'm also a bit musician), but also photography or sculpture, but the need of practicing by myself only came with photo and photomanipulation and, I must say, the advent of new technologies and softwares that, to me, opened the world of creation. As for many people, I guess, I started by taking my own pictures, and tried to manipulate them to make them look better. Finally, I liked this so much and saw so many artistic possibilities that I never stopped. Maybe one day I'll give a try to some other disciplines, I already make a lot of photos even if I don't publish a lot of them. Here too, I still have a lot to learn! I would really like to try sculpture, but it's really another world.
You should share the original photos more often! We also get a better idea how much work and vision goes into your artworks. What is your favorite time-killer besides art? Seeing the huge list of bands in your profile I'd say it's probably music? Did you ever play in a band yourself?
You're totally right. Music is something that takes a huge part in my life. I just can't live without it. It's literally a drug for me. I play guitar since something like 15 years I think, it's also a real passion, even if my level is not phenomenal ahah. I like to improvise or just play the killer riffs I listen to, also to find the perfect sound. About that, -not sure if it will interest anyone ahah, but- I think I learned a lot by listening to Andreas Kisser from Sepultura or Dimebag Darrell from Pantera (RIP). Now my main "guitaristic" references would maybe be Adam Jones from Tool or Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth... man, those guys are real gods for me.
Yes, I played in a band a long time ago, but it was much investment and I was not really good at that time, so I mainly continued to play electric guitar as a personal hobby, and that's what I still do. I always have my guitar next to my computer. Very often, when working on a graphic project, I leave my graphic tablet to take my guitar and play a few riffs, just to feel good. I think I would never have started photomanipulation without music, and more precisely, metal music. It's really my most important source of inspiration. Even if I listen to a lot of various kind of music, and even if I cut my hair, from deep within me, I'm a metalhead before all ahah. Since my debut in photomanipulation, my wish has always been to make images in connection with the metal world, to illustrate the music I like. So, now, I feel honored each time a band asks for my art to illustrate their music, really.
I totally understand. It's a great feeling to hold a CD in your hands with your very own cover, even more so if you love the band's music. Back to your artworks, your work with grayscale is amazing. I am thinking of „Attrition“, „Taste of Insanity“ or your latest submission „Protection“. I am sure the readers are dying to hear any tips on how to make black and white so appealing. Can you share a secret with us?
Thank you for liking those pieces, Erik. A secret? Well, not sure to have one, it's more about perseverance and work, I guess. About "Protection", this is an artwork I started long time ago, the idea was about to make a portrait with some natural elements, but I didn't manage to finish it so I did what I always do in that case: I left it in a folder, to come back to it again later, with maybe more ideas, with a fresh eye. So I just reopened it recently, and this time, with new ideas. The only thing I could say, would maybe be that, when you work in black and white, you have to pay very special attention to all the lights. Light is always important of course, but in B&W, it is even more important, you have to focus on it all the time. A second "secret", if I can call this like that, would be the patience. Yes, patience. Inspiration is not a 100% full time skill, so sometimes the best thing to do when you're working on a image and when you feel blocked or slowed, well, just stop, work on something else, do something else, go outside, and you'll come to it later with a fresh eye and new ideas. It can be a day or several weeks. I almost always worked in that way. Art has not to be rushed, and patience is a valuable asset in all circumstances. So you see, no real secrets, just perseverance, I suppose.
Thanks for sharing your work philosophy with us. Most of your work is dark and eerie, thematically and stylistically. What inspires you to such themes? Do you draw inspiration also from other artists? If yes, can you name any?
As I said previously, music is my main inspiration. Good music inspires countless different worlds, universes, stories, feelings, places... But of course, I was also influenced by many amazing artists around the world. Some of my favorites would maybe be Travis Smith, Alex Grey, Seth Siro Anton, Dennis Sibeijn (damnengine), Marcela Bolivar (MarcelaBolivar), Pierre Doucin (www.soemone.com), Daniel Valencia (Fenomeno), and so many more... In terms of music, Opeth and Tool are probably the musics that inspire me the most. Talking about Tool, I'm still waiting for their next release... almost 10 years we're waiting for it, this is a torture, ahah.
Haha, some bands do take their time. Will we ever get to hear Wintersun's "Time II"? Anyways, we can find a plethora of awesome CD cover artworks in your gallery for various bands. We know now that you're a selftaught artist, so how long have you been doing commissioned work?
Thank you. As I said, I'm a 100% self-educated artist, and nothing was easy. My background isn't artistic at all, I spent some years in the french Air Forces, I was also a network and a computer specialist. But a period of my life came and suggested me to make a radical change in the way I wanted to spend my life. So, it took a long time of work and perseverance before being able to work on some commissioned projects. I had to learn and practice a lot before going further than just "cool little manip" as a personal hobby. In the beginning, I didn't think that I would be able, one day, to see some of my personal images as CD covers, but well, after all that time, it looks that my perseverance has resulted to something, and I'm now very proud each time I can work for the metal music industry.
What is it like for you to work with clients? Do you have a funny or unnerving story to share? I am thinking of extravagant or simply weird requests for example.
Well, each client is very different, it's each time a new story. Excepted for confirmed band, most of them are not always aware about what is working on a graphical project. So of course sometimes I have to explain what is possible and what is not possible. Personally, I really need a great part of freedom in my art, so, even if the client has a very precise idea of what he wants, I sometimes have to explain that I'm not a machine, and if I don't have that very important part of liberty in my choices, the work won't be as good as it could be. So, working with me is, I think, a simple exchange of views and confidence. Of course, I sometimes get strange requests but when it's too weird, I prefere to say "sorry man, I don't feel it, I can't do this". It's really important for me to feel the ideas/concepts, I don't want to make something I don't agree with. But, I must say, except few ones who can sometimes consider you as a machine, most of my clients are very cool and easy to work with. Some of them became great friends.
Do you do other client work besides CD covers? Would you say it is possible to make a living from cover art alone? I have heard before it can be pretty difficult.
I don't think you can live by only making CD covers, you have to do more. Personally, I don't only make CD covers, but also all the CD graphic parts of an album and often, all the merchandising part of a band's project. Tshirts, logos, banners, website elements, etc... Sometimes I work for some different kinds of projects such as event poster, brochures or more "corporate" stuffs for littles structures or individuals. I think that's what you have to do if you want to live with your "art". Actually, I like to work on any kind of project, to have challenges and opportunity to adapt myself to a total new context. But let's be clear, living as a graphic designer or illustrator is not easy at all. Often, people don't realize the time and efforts it takes to make a good image. Some of them think that making an image is just a funny hobby, well, it's not just this, it's also a real work that needs many sacrifices when you invest yourself totally in it (and that's my case), and so, that needs to be rewarded and properly paid. Graphic designers have a life, family and bills, just like everyone. I am often really hallucinated and disappointed when I see that some artists completely devalue their work, or to see that some clients have sometimes really disrespectful budget. Seriously, sometimes, you have some people that offer you 50$ for an image on which you have spent 3 weeks or more! This is not correct and it's sad that sometimes, we have to explain all of this. I'm sure you will understand what I mean. Graphic design is a passion, but also a real work that need, as I said, many sacrifices, years of expertise and experience. Graphic designers are passionated people, that's not a reason to exploit them. Unfortunately, nowadays, various companies, voluntarily or not, exploit tons of young graphic designers... I think about some magazines, but not only...
I totally agree! I guess a lot of selftaught artists who are working with clients for the first time are often inexperienced and don't know what their art is worth. Thank you for sharing your views on that matter, I think it is great advice for everyone. Now, these last two questions I have are probably the most difficult to answer. If you could pick one single artwork that presents your gallery, which one would it be and why?
Ah... not easy indeed. I think my art have several facets so, it's hard to pick just one ! Maybe "Attrition" would be something representative. It's dark, a bit creepy, with a lot of weird details. What do you think?
Good choice I would say! Like I said, I'm a big fan of your work with grayscale. Now you can highlight one other deviant- who do you choose and why?
Well, there are a lot of deviants I could talk about. But again, I think I would choose the art of MarcelaBolivar. Discovering her art was really a slap for me, in a good way. Something very unique and enchanting. Someone that pushes the technical boundaries further without neglecting feeling and emotions. She's an example and deserves a lot of respect. For good, one of my all time favorite artist.
"Sulfur III" by MarcelaBolivar
I agree, she is an exceptional artist and has inspired me for a long time! Thanks a lot for this great interview. Best of luck with your further art career and your sculptures. I hope we'll hear a lot more from you in the future!
Thanks for your time and your questions.
I haven't talked about Slashthree in a while. What is that actually? Slashthree started out as one of the many so-called 'art collectives', a team of artists who create artworks for themed exhibitions, to gain insightful feedback from each other, for extra exposure or simply just for fun. Over the years, however, this group has become more than that. Slashthree has presented at the annual design meeting OFFF, published two artbooks and has been awarded with several features. Meanwhile the 'exhibitions' turned into 'projects' and have become more serious efforts.
I joined the group in 2008 and it helped me grow a lot as an artist since then.
Last weekend Slashthree published another of these exhibitions, called "Discovery", focusing on the artists' self-awareness. Besides that they also come with a brandnew website. But I personally recommend you to watch the video interview with Isaac Burton, who is our featured artist this time.
If this appeals to you and you think you can make a worthy contribution to the group I invite you to try your luck and apply to become a member of the collective.
A few features from our members and 'Discovery':
And now to the latest features from
A group for promoting great works of digital art that deserve more attention than they are currently getting.
9) You MUST make a journal entry! No comments.
My 10 facts
1. Although I do math 8+ hours a day for a living, I actually enjoy writing and learning languages a lot.
2. If you find any cool show that is currently running on TV I probably watch it already.
3. I am a sucker for everything scifi related (surprise!), most of all movies.
4. Most people I know say about me that I am often bored and annoyed, and they believe I hate everything. I tend to disagree, but new people keep coming who tell it to me again.
5. I enjoy speaking and writing in English instead of my mothertongue (German) because it makes me believe I do something useful for my brain.
6. I think about work all the time, even when I'm not at work. I often work when I'm not in the office because I usually feel like I'm wasting my time otherwise. It's sick! But I'm getting better slowly since I got my master's degree. (Watching TV shows doesn't count if they are in English because then I do something useful for my brain again- weird logic I know. )
7. My friends make fun of me because my apartment is always clean and my furniture fits together too well.
8. Many of my friends don't even know about my main hobby - art. I don't know why I keep it to myself actually, but every once in a while someone approaches me who for some reason googled my name and found out about it. That's usually a bit weird for me.
9. While I'm not very patriotic at all, I love German bread above everything else. And I even had some fights over that with my French and Dutch friends.
10. Although I am afraid of heights, I LOVE to go on top of tall things such as skyscrapers, towers, churches, mountains, platforms, airplanes... - you name it - to indulge in the amazing views. I can easily spend 2 hours on a plane or more constantly taking pictures of the clouds.
1. Have you ever eaten cereal out of a cup?
Nope, I rarely eat it at all
2. Are you a wine drinker?
Oh yes! Sometimes I have to restrain myself.
3. Do you have a cause or view point that you are passionate about?
Passionate? I don't know.. Certain discussions and viewpoints in politics can agitate me, and I have had long arguments about them. But I wouldn't really call that passionate.
4. Do you have a DA crush?
Gentlemen don't tell!
5. If you found a $500 bill would you try and find its owner?
If I know who lost it I would return it personally. I'm not sure I would trust the system enough to give the bill to someone else to return it when the owner is currently unknown. Luckily I'm not in the situation. :-P
6. Mac or PC?
7. Are you a pretty pretty princess?
A friend of mine calls me the "Metal housewife". Does that count?
8. Are you a gud speller?
I fink sow.
9. Are you good at coming up with questions for people?
Very much (see below). Are you?
10. Do you believe zodiac signs hold any real significance when it comes to personality traits?
I am Sagittarius and probably not very good at shooting other people, so I guess no. :-P
1. Are you annoyed by these tagging games?
2. Have you ever been trolling on the internet?
3. Do you have your dreamjob?
4. In retrospective, is there any major decision you made in the past that you would like to undo?
5. Did you ever make money with your art? If yes, what was your first paid commission?
6. Are you a photoshop slave for your friends?
7. Have you ever done anything *questionable* for money that you regret now?
I'm so good with questions right now. 8. Your favorite kind of cheese?
9. Do you think yoghurt is for girls?
10. Your favorite childhood show?
And I tag . . .
Sorry if you guys were tagged before, I don't really care... :-P
And now to end this journal with something nice, here's the another feature from DigitalSpotlight
Enjoy the features!
The series is now almost complete and consists of five images I have been working on since January. It depicts the gradual posession and destruction of a soul by a demon, where each picture shows a different stage. The series is somewhat inspired by Dragon Age: Inquisition and the book Children of Dune by Frank Herbert.
I also have a teaser for you! I'm really happy with how some of the images turned out:
If everything goes as planned I can upload them during March.
On another note, in case you are interested about the Serpent's Tongue issue. I'm currently in contact with the founder and it is all going to work out. Thank you for your support btw!
I recommend you to check out their playing cards to find any unauthorized uses:
They have an endless amount of cards and I only went through the first couple of pages, but found plenty of my stuff already.
They do credit me sometimes with "Erik Shoemaker" (which is not even my real name ), another card made by me was apparently not made by me, but by "SoG3", whoever that is. (I should probably pursue this further)
I should sue these people just for wasting my time like this.
This week I would like to present you three of our outstanding members:
Why I think you should visit his gallery:
This deviant has a very distinctive and recognizable style that is mysteriously dark and aesthetic at the same time. His eye-catching compositions are completely overlooked, as it happens so often with works in the mixed media galleries.
Why I think you should visit her gallery:
I was recently told that topnotch digital paintings with less than 1000 faves can be considered "undiscovered". Well, the insane works of this amazing deviant often times have less than a hundred! Now what more reasons do you need to go ahead and check out this epic gallery?
Why I think you should visit his gallery:
This mixed media artist's gallery is more on the 3D side, nontheless it is full of intruiging, completely undiscovered diamonds. You'll notice that he combines 3D and painting quite masterfully, bringing his images to life. A very dark and inspiring gallery!
I hope you enjoyed this feature! If you are interested become a member of our group:
Until next week!
I would like to advertise a new group I am involved in: DigitalSpotlight
The main goal of this group is to give underexposed high-quality art from the Photomanipulation and Digital Art categories more attention.
We will make sure not to be flooding your inbox with tons of new images everyday. Members are submitting their art to our favorites folder, from which the founders pick images to be featured in the group as well as on their personal pages. Yes, all the founders will also once a week feature a selection of images from the group in their journals/polls/etc.
Aside from quality we have a very strict requirement for all submissions: The number of favs on the deviation may not exceed 150 favs for photomanipulations and 500 favs for digital art. The idea really is to feature only underexposed art. You should not have to be popular for your art to be seen.
I hope you are interested now and I invite you to join our group. We are still in the warm-up phase but you can already become a member. There's really something for everyone, underexposed masters can get features, masters who are already popular will find only quality art in their inbox, and other aspiring artists will hopefully find inspiration as well.
Community Feature Project: If I Could DDHave you ever wished that you could pick a Daily Deviation Feature? I'm sure we've all seen an amazing piece of art or stock that we wished could have a bit more exposure. Well, this is your chance! This December we are encouraging you to feature your fellow deviants with a journal of images that you would feature as a Daily Deviation if you could. So let's embrace the Holiday Season and spread some good cheer by joining in and featuring our community!
Think: "What Daily Deviations would I choose if I were to become a CV today?"
The Game Plan
Create and publish a journal feature of images that you would choose for a Daily Deviation Feature from your preferred gallery.
(i.e. Stock providers would feature images from the Stock & Resources gallery. Photo Manipulators would feature manips, etc.) Choose one gallery you would most want to be CV of!
When your journal feature is live, link it back to your Community Volunteer's Community Featu
My category of choice is (unsurprisingly) Photo-Manipulation (although I was considering Space Art and Scifi for a moment).
Since I am not a real CV I took the liberty to ignore the lack of stock credits or description in some of the deviations, and some others already have a lot of favorits, but so what. Other than that they should all be eligible (I think). Enjoy the features!
<da:thumb id="436487213"/> <da:thumb id="162012425"/>
My friend DylanPierpont is hosting a small competition, where your task is to find an easteregg hidden in his recent matte painting
If you find it, send him an email with a screenshot and you'll get to choose a print from his gallery to be delivered to you! You can find hints and his email address in his image description.
So far only I and KaiSaunders managed to find the easteregg, that means one prize is still left! Good luck!
Although admittedly 30000 of those comments are probably "Thank you"'s and variations of it.
Who of you can beat me?!
Okay, that said I will be gone for a couple of days, so don't expect any immediate replies to your messages in the next weeks. I'm not sure I'll have time to check dA regularly.
Enjoy some awesome art in the meantime!
- Mood: Happy
- Listening to: Sólstafir
- Playing: Kingdoms of Amalur
I am too late as usual, but I still want to take the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and congratulate deviantART on its 14th birthday!
8 out of 14 years I have been here myself and it is save to say that dA is one of the main reasons I turned into an art addict 8 years ago. It has been an inspiring trip with plenty of new trends over the years, good and bad, but also sometimes infuriating because of the regular dArama coming up every now and then. But all of this just made it all the more interesting - even today dA is the only website that I still update regularly.
In this journal I would like to share a few mementos of my own story and the artists that inspired me the most during that time.
This is the very first piece I submitted to my deviantART gallery:
Obviously I didn't know the first thing about proper stock crediting or stock policies in general back then (something that is valued a lot on this site and maybe even the most frequent cause of dArama). It actually took me several months until I realized that I probably had to provide a link to the stock provider in my image description. :-P
In 2006/2007 another art-genre was already extremely popular (unfortunately not so much today anymore): Space-Art and Terraspace. The standards were extremely high for that time with amazing people such as alyn, ANTIFAN-REAL, Baro, Nameless-Designer, JoeyJazz, taenaron and gucken, who inspired a whole generation of aspiring artists. For reference I would also like to link this art feature: qauz.deviantart.com/journal/Gr…
And this is my very own first space art creation from 2007 called "Sleeping Stars". I must say tiring as it is, the title is quite appropriate.
In 2007 (and maybe earlier too), to produce acceptable terraspace art you had to render your own landscapes, preferably in "Terragen 1", which was the shit. Of course I had to do that, too
however, I was never really hooked on any 3D software, so I didn't follow this path further.
Despite of the swamp of gothic girls with black puffy dresses and smoky eyes in 2008 I eventually returned to the photomanipulation category because of amazing artists such as Aegis-Illustration, MarcelaBolivar, RhysGriffiths, NekroXIII, mashina and probably the most inspiring of them all, kubicki. I'm sure I must have forgotten several, but I am happy that many of them are still active today and as amazing as ever.
I soon realized that the combination of my little space art experience with photomanipulation was very fruitful, so I ended up putting planets into every single image of mine, to the point that people mentioned it as a recognizable feature of my artworks
The first of them "The Islander" is also my fist really popular image, and my first DD at the same time. Therefore it still deserves a place in my gallery as a memento of the past. In restrospective I don't like this phase at all, though, and I don't think these images aged very well. That's why most of them are in my scraps.
At the end of 2008 I did my first art-commission for a cd-booklet, which eventually led me to the decision -not- to pursue an art-career further. :-D I just do it for fun now.
I once made a fun-poll asking my watchers which dA-category they considered "art" least of all: erikshoemaker.deviantart.com/j…
The result was that 15% of my supposedly fans and friends picked either photomanipulation or space art. What did that tell me? I don't know. I kept doing what I liked with much more focus on photomanipulation. I bought a bamboo tablet and tried to incorporate painting in my manipulations, one of the main trends in 2008-2009 and probably still today. The superstar back then, AF-studios inspired lots of manipulators, me included, with her impeccable technique to combine painting and photos in a neat way.
At the same time lots of so called "art collectives" popped up, and it became hip to be in at least one of them. In fact I know people who were member of five or more. That is also a trend I followed by joining the art-collectives SlashThree, EvokeOne and later Depthcore and The Luminarium. Even though the art-collective scene seems to be on the verge of dying nowadays, this is a decision I don't regret because with the critique I received in these collectives I was able to step up my game as well.
Here are a few memorable pieces from that time (I'm sure I forgot plenty of stuff here as well):
And these would be some of mine which I still like today:
Probably since 2010 I lost track of all the trends, although of course I could not avoid the really annoying ones such as the swamp of eye-manips (who still remembers them?) or the pokéballs every day on the frontpage.
Let's see what the next years have to offer. I will be here.
Happy 14th birthday deviantART!
- Listening to: The Great Old Ones
- Playing: Max Payne 3