Digital Painting with Simon Boxer

You might have seen a recently in the newsfeed we posted about Digital Painter Simon Boxer. Simon is a freelance concept artist, digital painter and graphic designer living in Perth. He’s worked on numerous independent game projects, and has over 2 years professional experience in the games industry as a concept artist and graphic designer at Interzone Games.

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What have you been up to lately?
In short, a lot! I do indie game development with a group known as RocketHands, as well as freelancing and exhibiting. The most time consuming thing recently was organising my first solo exhibition, which opened just a few weeks ago. I’m still managing the fallout from that to some degree, tying up loose ends with sales and orders. I took a cancellation slot at a local gallery with 3 weeks notice, so had to do all the promotion in that time. I also had to finish the artwork – I figure that’s generally a prerequisite for an exhibition. It consisted of 14 pieces in total, about 80% done at the time. All in all, I guess you could say I like a challenge. This week I’ve been mostly focussed on a 40″ x 70″ commissioned digital painting, which is bigger than anything I’ve previously made. My computer isn’t too pleased about it.

How did you first get into digital painting?
I studied graphic design and that gave me a little insight into the software, but it was really the aid of conceptart.org that educated me in the ways of digital painting and fine art fundamentals. I hung out there with aspirations of being a concept artist for videogames. A year later (2007) I was hired as a concept artist at Interzone Games, only to leave in March this year to try my hand at being self-directed and exhibiting artwork.

How is a typical piece created? how do you start and what techniques do you use?
I have multiple processes, but the constant is periodically darting between Painter and Photoshop. For ‘finished’ artworks, as opposed to sketches or conceptual illustrations, I usually have one or more photo references. They could be posing references or even simply for a colour palette/lighting. I’ll roughly draw the basic scene onto a blank digital canvas (or scan a pencil sketch) then block in the colours and refine it until I’m happy, finally removing the original, messy linework. At some point during this process my cat will come yowling for attention and then proceed to walk on the keyboard. He likes to help.

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What do you find most challenging about this technique?
Tough question. I believe the most challenging parts of making an artwork are derived from beyond the tools themselves. Such as idea development. Encorporating rich, intertwined narrative or a solid concept behind the painting is very challenging, and I’m still trying to push myself in this realm. Mainly as an aside from my commercial work, these images typically surface through my sketch blog.

Do you have a favourite artist, or artists?
I have many! I seem to be drawn to certain French illustrators/artists I’ve seen on forums. I love Veronique Meignaud. I don’t understand what she writes on her blog but there are lots of pretty pictures, and she’s a little bit sexy, too. Nic Klein is another brilliant mind I’ve admired for a long time. I think I could pinpoint one artist that exposed me to concept art, though, and that’s Nicolas Ferrand. I stumbled across his work, which was very painterly at the time, and followed his virtual trail to discover more about this mysterious “concept artist” profession.

Where do you find inspiration?
Definitely from life. I paint about things happening around me, sensations, thoughts, places I’ve been, and general musings on the here and now. I have a pretty unreliable memory so I think the notion of a visual diary actually applies to me.

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What are you reading/watching/listening to/browsing at the moment?
I always have a lot of tabs open, some of which currently include Sia‘s tour details, TED.com talks on creativity, Nedroid picture daily – one of my favourite webcomics, and of course the Australian Edge webby ;)
As far as music goes, Muse’s newie bodes pretty well with me, and local Perth band The Preytells released their debut album last week. I’ve been listening to a lot of that lately. It’s brilliant, check it out.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Something different! I don’t know what yet. I’m thinking I might make a push towards doing more illustrative work, but I’m up for whatever drifts my way. Exhibition-wise I’ve got a group show in the works with some very talented Perth artists. It’s looking like it’s on track for December, but I’m awaiting various confirmations. Keep an eye on my blog for upcoming show details.

Links:
Portfolio: www.simonboxer.com
Sketch blog: www.facepocalypse.com

comments

  1. [...] was contacted recently by Australian Edge to do an interview for a feature, so I plunged in and responded to their questions in the wee hours of last Thursday night. I may or may not have been moderately drunk* when I [...]

    FACEPOCALYPSE » Blog Archive » Australian Edge interview, October 13th, 2009 at 5:18 pm

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