January 2006 AOM - j-art

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Each month the Renderosity community votes on The Renderosity Artist Of The Month [AOM] - January AOM artist is from the 2D Gallery. We congratulate j-art [Uwe Jarling] for his outstanding collection of 2D images.

Who is j-art and how did you come by your username?
First of let me thank all of you who like my art enough to give me your vote for the AOM. Now this really comes as a big surprise to me as I didn’t follow the AOM voting lately. To be true I wasn’t as much around here lately due to the fact that there is too much work waiting to be done. So getting the notification that I was voted January’s AOM was a great and wonderful surprise, and the best Christmas present one can get. Thank you all so much it is really a great honor to me! Thank you all from the deepest part of my heart!

Well, who is j-art, J-art is the nickname I choose as I joined Renderosity, I sure wanted a really cool nick-name like Dark Angel or Vampire Slayer or anything really cool sounding like that, but unfortunately all the cool names already existed, so all what came to mind was j-art. The J for Jarling and the Art for what I do … so j-art. You see I tend to have more fantasy when it comes to painting my pictures than choosing nick-names, on the other hand I truly believe if there would be an award for the most boring nickname ever well I would definitely get it. As it doesn’t work to change a nick-name once you created your account with that name I’m still j-art here at Rosity, if I would join the community today I wouldn’t use a nick-name at all, as I’m mostly known under my real name which is Uwe Jarling.

So who is Uwe Jarling? Well, I’m a so called professional illustrator and graphic designer, that does not necessarily mean that my art is professional, as I still have to learn so much, but it does mean I have to make a living working as a graphic designer. I think most people might know me by the fantasy paintings that I do for several game-companies, or book-publishers, but that’s just a part of my business. The main part currently is the graphic design work. Hopefully this will change again in the future, and I can spend more time creating fantasy paintings than with graphic design … as fantasy-art is my true love. We’ll see what future brings. Other than that there is not much to say about me, I’m currently 37-years-old and growing older with each year that comes and goes, but in my heart I’m still a child, and hopefully ever will be. I truly believe if I ever loose the child in me I won’t be able to create fantasy-art any longer, but those who know me personally know that this never will happen.

How long have you have you been creating computer graphics?
Oh, that’s a tricky question, as it depends on what kind of graphics you mean. I’ve been doing computer graphics since 1990, you know layouts, designs and stuff like that. I’m familiar with most of the layout programs like Quark, Freehand, Illustrator and so on. I am also familiar with Photoshop and some 3D applications like 3dmax, which I use for architectural/technical illustrations. I just never thought about doing “art” on the computer, therefore I used traditional media in my early days days.

If you want to know when I started creating art/illustrations on the computer, well that was the time I joined Renderosity in 2003. Before that, I created all my illustrations using traditional media like oils, acrylics, watercolor and so on. I still remember as if it was yesterday, I browsed the Internet and saw an amazing piece of art, I had a closer look and I found out that it was done completely on the computer with Bryce and post worked in Photoshop. I knew Bryce, a little, as I had purchased it, but only had played around with it a little. But the artwork I found there on the Internet was something completely else — it was fantastic! I wanted to do something similar, so I followed the work to its creator to learn something more about it.

Well it was Andy Simmons’s work … hobbit here at Renderosity! I don’t think that I ever told him that — but it is true, he is the reason why I jumped into creating art on the computer. So I bought Vue and Poser and all the neat 3D apps and wanted to do something similar. I learned the programs and started to post here at Rosity. Well, I was never able to create great pieces like Andy, and so many others here at Rosity, as 3D was not really the right thing for me. Doing the post work on my 3D images I realized that it is really possible to actually paint on the computer. So, I got myself Painter, which simulates traditional media much better than Photoshop, and I’ve done all my illustrations in Painter on the computer ever since. I am still learning to get the right look for my 2D digital images, but I think I’m on my way. I still use 3D apps from time to time, which I use for reference for my paintings, so it was a good thing to learn those 3D apps as well. Today I paint most of my illustrations on the computer, I think since I work with Painter I only did two or maybe 3 traditional pieces, it’s just too exiting to explore Painters’ possibilities.

Do you have traditional art experience?
Yes, I did all my illustrations the traditional way before I fell in love with computer graphics. I think I am familiar with almost every traditional medium (that does not mean that I am an expert in all, but at least I tried them all). Most of my traditional work was done using gouache on illustration board. As I now do manly 2D graphics, it means painting on the computer, and not working with 3D applications … it doesn’t make much difference if I paint traditional or digital. The painting process itself is mainly the same. Digital is just faster than traditional, not that you can paint faster, but digital media is wet when you need the color wet, it is dry when you need it dry and you don’t have to mess around with traditional colors. If you have to change something it is much easier than with traditional media. To be fast is very important if it comes to hold deadlines, so if you do commercial illustrations working digital is a BIG plus. Sure, sometimes I miss working with traditional media, but than again the digital media has so many advantages, which I never ever want to miss!

What are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on several things; some game art, and a tutorial for an upcoming digital art book — Digital Horror Painting Workshop. This book is a follow-up volume to the previous title Digital Fantasy Painting Workshop by Martin McKenna. I an also creating additional free paintings in 2006.

What software/equipment do you use and why?
As already mentioned it always depends on what I have to do. For layout/design work I use Quark, Illustrator, Freehand, Photoshop. For Technical stuff: 3D apps (but I haven’t done anything in ages). For painting/illustration I use Painter and Photoshop, and sure a scanner to scan in sketches that are done with pencils, but currently I do most of my sketches in Painter as well. I work on both systems Windows and Mac — 3D mostly using Windows, but when it comes to painting I always work on my good old Macintosh — currently a G5, and my beloved Wacom graphic tablet (without it I couldn’t paint anything on the computer).

What do you think your best piece of work is and why?
Always the one I am currently working on, still waiting for my masterwork to be done. No, really I don’t have any favorite piece every single one has its own strength and weaknesses. But, as I said my favorite is always the one I’m working on, it currently has to be Azathoth, a Cthulhu art for a Game. This is the first time I have posted this piece on the Internet, so you are the very first who will see it.

 
Azathoth © Fantasy Flight Games
And another one that I finished not too long ago is About Elves and Steel, this image I want to mention as well because the last time I tried to achieve a more “natural” look with my digital paintings, and I think it worked very well in this one. I used Painters watercolors and found the result very natural looking for a digital image. I sure will do more in future using this technique.
 
Elves and Steel © Uwe Jarling

 

If, you would have asked for my most successful piece on the Internet, than I could only mention this one, Angels Rock. I think this piece alone has more viewings on the Internet than all my other pieces together. I don’t know why, but somehow people really like this image, and as all good things come in threes … I like it too, I don’t want to miss to show it here as well.

Angels Rock © Uwe Jarling

Why do you like to work with 3D/2D software?
Well I love to work with software in general. I can spend more time creating the work, instead of preparing the canvas and colors, which is a must if I work in the traditional way. It is just unbelievable what can be done today with computer graphics, and best, today it is possible for almost anyone, as you don’t need a silicon-graphics-workstation-killer-machine. Every “normal” home computer today is able to handle very complex software, even powerful 3D software. I’m really curious what there can be done in, let’s say, another ten years. Just think about what could be done 10 years ago, and what can be done now — It’s amazing isn’t it?

Who/what inspires you?
Really everything, even a simple wallpaper inspires me, I just have to look at it a while and there are faces, monsters, fairies, whatever you want. Music, a good movie, a sunset, nature, really everything! Other artists work is an awesome inspiration to me, browsing Rosity’s galleries is a huge inspiration as well. I think everything that I hear, smell, or taste inspires me somehow. My problem is not inspiration … my problem is the lack of time to get all the ideas done.

How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
Well I honestly can say Renderosity was the beginning of my digital art career. It was such a great feeling when I posted my first piece here at Rosity, and I got all those wonderful comments. A very new and strange thing to me! Never before in my life have I gotten so much feedback to my work. I mean, I did art long before I knew of Rosity, but I did the work just for the clients or just for me. All the finished work went in a desk drawer and the only comments I received on my work was what the client had to say (and that was not always too encouraging). Renderosity really changed my life, it gave me a boost trying to do more and better art. You wouldn’t believe how much it changed my life concerning the amount of commissions I’ve received since I showed my work online. Today my work can be seen in many online galleries and communities, but Renderosity definitely was the beginning, the first I ever posted anything. And best of all, I found some wonderful friends here from all over the world! Thanks for all the help and support my dear friends! Sadly I’m not as much around as I want to be cause time just doesn’t allow it, I honestly hope this will change in future and I will have more time chatting with my friends again, I really miss it.

Do you have any parting comments or advice for other Artists?
Well I’m not the right person to ask for advice, as I have to learn myself a lot. I think as for giving advice it depends what every single artist wants to achieve with his art. So the only advice I probably could give, would be for those who want to become illustrators and maybe want to make a living from their art someday. I never did art just as a hobby, so I can’t give advice what to do if someone wants to do art just for fun. Maybe, it is a better way of doing art, as there is no stress involved, just the pure joy of creating art the way you want to.

So, I think to have fun creating art that’s what it’s all about! But for those who want to become so-called “professional artists” the most important thing is, DON’T BE LAZY! Really, I work extremely hard and always try to improve my skills. It is extremely hard to get good jobs as an illustrator, especially if it comes to fantasy-art. That kind of illustration is the ice cream, the fun stuff and everyone wants to do it. To get serious jobs you really have to know exactly what you do, the quality level is extremely high today. Your art should be the same quality of that you see published anywhere. If you think your art has reached that standard, create a good portfolio of at least 12 of your best pieces, and send it to the companies you are interested to work for. Do this on a regular basis, as the companies may not reply on your first submission.

Another thing, is you have to be a good businessman as well (sadly I’m not), and never forget to network with the companies, no one other than you will do it for you. It really is hard to make a living as an illustrator and it is a lot of work. So, If you thought about doing art to get rich without putting much effort into it, and having a great time, well it is best that you don’t become an artist. But, if you really LOVE creating art, and it is all that you ever wanted to do, and you are willing to work really hard and have fun doing so — it can be the most wonderful job on earth, and extremely rewarding to you, personally and maybe someday financially as well. But never forget — don’t be lazy, learn your basics, study anatomy, learn color theory and practice, practice, practice, and if you think you nailed it, start all over again! So at last I want to thank you all again for giving me this great honor of being AOM, I feel very flattered. Thanks and have a wonderful time and HAPPY PAINTING Uwe


We invite you to view:
  • j-art's Renderosity art gallery.
  • Jarling-Arts Uwe's personal web site
    To learn more about Renderosity's Artist Of The Month [AOM] award, and to view our past AOM's, please visit the AOM 2006 page, which can also be found on the sidebar under Highlights.