Each month the Renderosity community votes on the Renderosity Artist Of The Month [AOM] ... September's AOM is louly!
Who is 'louly' and how did you come by this member name?
My real name is Louise Choquette. I'm French Canadian, living in the province of Québec, the only province in Canada where French is the official language and is mainly spoken. I was, in turn, a programmer, systems analyst and web designer for the government. I came with the name louly when I had to get a username to play a Myst game on-line. I wanted to use leeloo, from The Fifth Element, because I liked her and I thought it was spelled differently...and it had "Lou" in the name, lol. But, even if I misspelled it, it was already in use, so I decided to reverse it to louly. So, when I started to show my art on-line, I just kept the name, which turned out ok because most people call me Lou and it's the name I've always used since I was a teenager to sign my art.
How long have you been working in digital art?
I think I started in the spring of 2005, already 5 years, I hadn't realized… As I was saying, I started playing Myst online. I searched forums to get some help; I wasn't on the Internet before that. I started getting to know people in the forums and in game. Later on, I was helping a friend I met in game or in the forums (Dusty or Tavia3D here at Renderosity), editing his fantasy novel, and I saw some images done with Daz|Studio posted in the forums by some of our friends. So, I suggested to Dusty that we learn Daz|Studio and do the cover of his book. We both started to use it. I couldn't quite get my images to correspond to the image he had in mind of his characters, so he ended up doing the cover and I continued with my own work. He's the one who encouraged me to start posting my images online.
Do you have any traditional art experience?
I was always drawing as a child and when I was a teenager, and took art classes in high school, but I didn't continue as an adult, except for a couple of drawing classes at an art school at night. I always did creative work after that, but I never got any formal, traditional training other than these night classes.
What are you currently working on?
I'm always working on something, although you only see me post every 4 or 5 weeks, I just take long to complete an image. I got my first tablet just before summer, a Wacom Intuos4. I'm still doing the usual, rendering the basics in Poser then retouching in Photoshop. In the last two years, I've worked more and more in Photoshop to finish my images, then I started painting my own backgrounds, and more recently, since I got the tablet, I started painting hair also. Before that, I was using PSD layers as a base to add to the rendered hair. So right now, I'm working on my painting skills with Photoshop, so I even take longer on my images than usual. And, to be more specific, I'm currently working on a piece inspired by Michael Parkes, who I only discovered a few weeks ago and got really inspired.
What is in your digital toolset and why?
I use Poser 8 to render my figures, and occasionally, some props or background. I mainly do characters in my art, so I think that's the right tool for that, especially since I rarely do landscapes. But, also, I believe my art evolved more because I only used that one software, rather than try many different 3D tools and take more time learning how to use them than actually doing art. That's personal though. I work full-time and I'm slow, so I had to concentrate on a given tool. I started using Photoshop to first do touch-ups to my characters, and chose it because I felt it was one of the most popular ones and it would be easier to find tutorials for it. Besides, I already had learned the basics and used it for my web design at work. I use it more and more to complete my images, as I want to learn digital painting and integrate it more into my work.
What do you think your best piece of work is and why?
I don't know if it's my best, but I think Alternate History is still my favourite one, but I really don't know why, I can't put my finger on it. But also, a most recent one, Princess of the Forest, because it was one of my first attempts at painting hair and I like how it turned out, I wasn't that confident when I started… Maybe my best piece is Scent of Nature. It sure was a stepping-stone; my work took a different turn, starting with that piece. I was being treated for breast cancer at the time, I was mostly rendering images in my free time, and it's like I was in the zone or something, lol. I was really in the moment because of the circumstances and it started showing in my art. It was my first attempt at Art Nouveau and it kind of came together on its own. It also got me noticed by the editor of 3D Artist magazine who asked me to do a "step-by-step" for the printed magazine (smiles).
Who, or what, inspires you?
The work of other digital artists, both here and in other online galleries, especially the ones who work in 2D or a combination of 3D and 2D, like SkoolDaze. He's always been a big inspiration to me. I think his combination of Poser characters and his painting hair and clothes make his images very unique, and that's what I'm working towards. Also, the masters of fantasy, like everybody else here, such as Bell and Valejo, Royo, Frazetta. The traditional masters, like Mucha, Klimt, Woodhouse. I love Art Nouveau and Art Deco. But also, there have been many times when I was out of ideas and inspiration and the clothes of my friend Chris, powerage, got me started. As did the products of other vendor friends. You may laugh at this, but the program So You Think you Can Dance has been very inspiring to me, both the costumes and stage sets are very creative and unique at times. It inspired my Dance of the Goddesses. And recently, I don't know how and why, but I woke up from dreams of images I've never seen before and hope I can reproduce at some point.
What do you enjoy most about Poser?
Sometimes it feels like I'm doing paper dolls, like when I was a child (smiles). It's relatively easy to pose your character, change your mind and try different things (which I do a lot). I can mix and match clothes and materials, and it's easier to get a base character, than drawing or painting from scratch and erasing all the time. I love all the possibilities of the "undo," lol.
Do you have any tips you would be willing to share on the software you use?
I'm not very technical when it comes to Poser. The main reason is that my work in informatics has always been very technical, so when it came to Poser, I preferred the artistic part, the creative process, to learning the insides of Poser. One of the reasons I also prefer to complete my images in Photoshop. My strengths are more with composition and colour.
I also spent months learning lights with Wally Belwon (Dreamlight) a while back. He was looking for guinea pigs to teach at the time, so I got lucky and learned with him, and I also learned about composition. I'm still using already made lights most of the time and add to them and often reuse the same ones that I tweaked. I probably integrated more than I realize learning with Wally, but one thing that stayed with me is to use a backlight to give more depth and dimension to my characters. You adjust it till you get a rim around the body of your figure.
I also tell people to take their time to pose their character in a realistic way, hands included. I often start with ready made poses, or combine them when I can use separate upper and lower body poses, and then tweak them to fit my needs, or when I want to reproduce a pose I've seen in a photo, like I did with Princess of the Forest. Other than great lighting, to me, that's one of the best ways to improve your 3D work, make your character look as natural as possible, and I do spend a lot of time trying poses and fine-tuning them.
How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
When I came here, I didn't expect to make friends. I never thought about it, it took me everything just to post my images (smiles). So, I did make great friends, two of which I met in real life, and some of them I really got close to also, even if only online. And it opened me to a network of people, skilled modelers and artists alike, from which I learned for sure. Making friends with some of the vendors too, people who encouraged me to play with their products, no strings attached, and also encouraged me with their comments, has really inspired me and allowed me to experiment and improve, in my own style, on my own terms. That, in itself, was a gift and blessing, they've been very generous with me.
Do you have any parting comments, or advice for other artists?
The only advice I could give is, take your time on any given image and to improve. Stay with it, no need to rush or finish in one day.
And I'd like to thank Renderosity staff for nominating me, and the community for voting for me, it means a lot to me and I was also touched by the nice comments and congratulations I got when it was announced I was AOM. Also, thank you for your continuing support for the last 5 years. Some people say critique helps them grow and evolve, but for me, the encouragements gave me the confidence I needed at the time and pushed me forward.
We invite you to have a further look at louly's Renderosity Gallery!
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Artist of the Month is highlighting a talented Renderosity artist that has been nominated by mods and admins, and voted by the community. Recognition is given to this member for their collection of works for that year.
Since we only select one AOM per month, it is not about their works for that particular month. Instead, it is about highlighting a talented artist's works for that year, and they are recognized during that month.
To learn more about Renderosity's Artist Of The Month [AOM] award, and to view our past AOM's, please visit the AOM page, which can also be found on the sidebar under Highlights.