In the last volume of White Cloud Worlds, I spoke of my love for environmental paintings. I love the scope of them, and the feeling that they could be inhabited by a whole cast of characters and events. Since then, I have pursued this love, completing a digital matte painting workshop with the talented David Luong. You can see a piece from this course here, ‘Sky Freight’. I thought it would be fascinating if mankind came up with a kind of anti-gravity technology, with the limitation that it was not agile. Therefore, the technology would encourage mundane and practical uses, rather than the action sci-fi tropes. It is also a throwback to the era when gargantuan zeppelins seemed like the future of air travel.
I’m now working full-time as a matte painter and it is a very different challenge. In the past, I’ve worked on the pre-production phase, where my work served to inform the creation of a final product. Sometimes it was designs for a prop or digital character. Other times, it was storyboard frames for a live action shoot. In any case, my work was often a step on the path towards the finished product. Now I’m creating the final frames that go on screen. I’m also painting environments that are revisited at different times of the day. Sometimes a location needs to be seen in as many as six different lighting scenarios to show the passing of time, and to communicate different moods.
Interestingly, now that my day job focuses almost entirely on environmental paintings, the goals in my personal work are shifting. I find myself much more interested in drawing figures and characters when I get home from a day of finessing landscapes. I think this is pretty evident in the figure-heavy ‘Lonely Dawn’. It will be interesting to see where this will lead me over time.