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Ptrope March 14 2006 05:58 AM

Inspiration & Information
As I'm sure we all know, art isn't just about the technology - it's about the technique, and it's about the talent, as well. Most of all, it's about the thought behind the art. And these aren't things that are really unique only to each one of us - they're often the result of shared experience and information; we improve by seeing what others accomplish, and from seeing and reading how they do it. Sometimes, it's not even about the tools and skills - there's not a single artist who hasn't been inspired, who hasn't at some time been without any concept, then something sparked inside us.

That's what this thread is for. It's a place for people to post resource information, to be shared with the rest of the board, not just this forum. If you know of a website that has artistic tutorials, post it here, with a brief description of what to expect (please don't use this as a place to promote your own website, however, unless your site does indeed contain inspirational and/or reference material). If you've seen a magazine or a book that contains art or instruction that you think your fellow artists might find useful, post it here, with enough information that they can find it, in bookstores, at the library, or online. If you know of an artist whose work might be influential on the realm of science fiction and fantasy graphics, point us to an example. It's all about broadening our knowledge and awareness, and igniting that creative spark.

Please keep in mind that this is for more than 3D information - we already have a thread on 3D software that can also be used to post such things as 3D resources and the like. This thread is about the scope of science fiction and fantasy art, a central resource for people looking for - and looking to share - serious information on the art and craft of what we do here, and to offer sources of inspiration that may not be what we normally think of when we look for that special "something" that will drive us to our next great creation. It will be heavily moderated, so it doesn't just become a mess of vague or irrelevant posts, and it's not intended as a discussion thread, though there may be some discussions that expand upon the topics posted. Also, all links must be within the limits allowed by the TrekBBS board rules.


To start the process, here are some things Ptrope finds inspirational and informative:

Artist/Designer: Syd Mead - the designer behind the look of the movie Blade Runner, as well as the design of "Johnny 5[/i] from Short Circuit (not to mention the inspiration behind the AT-AT walkers in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back!)

Magazine: ImagineFX - Large-format British publication, just hit the market. All devoted to sci-fi and fantasy digital art, with lots of tutorials, along with a CD containing the support files for those tutorials, often with demos of the software used. Numerous galleries of digital artists, working in Photoshop and Painter, along with various 3D programs to create complete paintings and compositions. Ptrope's personal favorite of the crop of excellent British digital art magazines, because it's extremely relevant to what we do here.

Artist/Designer: Harald Belker - designer on the movie Minority Report, as well as a Hot Wheels® designer. Has 2D rendering tutorials (based around automotive concept art, but applicable to any futuristic/sci-fi art), and galleries of some of his film work, including Batman and Robin (the art was much better than the movie! ;)), Serenity, Minority Report and others.


So, if there are sci-fi or fantasy artists whose work inspires you, designers/architects/etc. who have influenced how you perceive and create your own art, magazines or magazine articles that caught your eye and tickled your creative bone, and you want everybody to know about them, this is the place!

Masao March 14 2006 06:28 AM

Re: Inspiration & Information
Doug Chiang, a designer for a few of the Star Wars Prequels and War of the Worlds, has some tutorials at his website:

FatherRob March 14 2006 06:44 AM

Re: Inspiration & Information
I am a huge fan of Robert McCall's space art, especially the stuff he did for 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Admiral2 March 15 2006 02:07 AM

Re: Inspiration & Information
Once upon a time I wanted to be a comic book artist, so most of my influences are comic and cartoon artists. These sites include the works of a few of my favorites:

Here's a fan site dedicated to Bruce Timm:

This site includes original art by Jonny Quest's creator, Doug Wildey:

This is a modest page devoted to one of the best comic artists I've ever seen, Michael Golden:

And another devoted to the best comic artist I've ever seen, Wally Wood:

Unfortunately, none of the above come with How-to pages, but I'm mostly self-taught and try to learn by example anyway, and all of these artists provide great examples. :)

Arrqh March 15 2006 06:53 AM

Re: Inspiration & Information
CGTalk is a great forum to check out both 2D and 3D art. It's too crowded for my tastes to post there much, but a lot of amazing artwork from all over the world is posted to it on a daily basis.

USS Jack Riley March 15 2006 04:12 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information
I am a big fan of Alex Ross' work. Everytime I see a comic he worked on for sale, I grab it. It is more of a water color look, but he goes to great pains to make sure the shading and color are closer to "real" (or what passes for real in the comic world). He has 2 sites that I know of. Unfortunately, neither of them have tutorials, but they give a great example of his style, and as was mentioned above, sometimes just using it as a reference is a great help.

This is his main website (unless there is another I am unaware of) and is currently showing his JLA: Liberty and Justice work:

The next one is not so much about his work, but an auction site he runs (I think) for original work by other artists. I post it only because some miht find it useful for reference purposs:

Hope this is helpful. Thanks to our ever-faithful mod for a great idea. :thumbsup:

B.J. March 15 2006 06:34 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information
This link to "A Novice's Guide to Digital Aviation Profile Art" has been extremely helpful to me.

It mainly talks to image editing software (I use vectors), but I was still able to use a lot of the stuff in there and apply it to my own 2D creations.


Mr. Cellophane March 15 2006 07:00 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information
That's a great link, B.J.! I've always wondered about those.

Here's my offering. It's an art forum called Pencil Jack. It's for 2D art, mainly comic books and so forth.

Arrqh March 15 2006 07:33 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information is another great site/forum that has a lot of amazing 2D concept art from some amazing artists.

I've always found 2D art a lot more insiprational then 3D art. Maybe it's because for me, I'm already a 3D artist but not a very good 2D artist, so 2D is more "magical" to me. If that makes sense!

Temis the Vorta March 15 2006 09:34 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information
Here's something I've been wondering about: if I need reference art for a still image, I go to or just do a Google Image search. But say I want a video capture of how flame flickers or how waves hit a beach. Where do I go for "photo reference" of that sort? Preferably free... ;)

Ptrope March 15 2006 09:45 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information
Well, I'd probably start out at Google Video :D. I wouldn't guarantee you'll find what you're looking for, but it's a good place to start.

Temis the Vorta March 16 2006 10:27 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information
Cool, thanks! :D

Masao March 17 2006 04:15 AM

Re: Inspiration & Information
This Italian site: has hundreds of pages of artwork by Robert McCall, Chesley Bonestell, and Frank R. Paul and about retrofuturism (spaceships, megastructures, flying cars) and Mars. Lots of scans of old sci-fi magazines.

Admiral2 March 17 2006 07:36 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information
I remembered an artist's site with how-to pages. It's dedicated to the work of George Trosley:

Granted, they're about how to draw cars, but you'd be amazed how much the techniques also help in drawing spaceships.

Ptrope March 17 2006 08:22 PM

Re: Inspiration & Information
Excellent! This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to see: 'cross-pollination!' :thumbsup: There are all sorts of inspirations out there, and they aren't all limited to spaceships, aliens and ray guns. Admittedly, I'm a car nut myself, so Trosley's work is very familiar to me (in fact, I was just looking at his art in a Street Rodder magazine!); my love of drawing cars is where my own artistic side began, and it's that practice that informed my attempts to draw spaceships, too (and even aliens and ray guns ;)).

Some very good resources here, everyone! I'm glad to see that people are so enthusiastic and so helpful; the cross-section of inspiration is a real eye-opener! Keep 'em comin'!

EDIT: In the spirit of cross-pollination, here's a great place to look for style: Car Design News - Portfolios. Most of the artists whose work is here are students looking for professional work, or professionals looking for new challenges. A lot of original expressions, and very sleek and thought-provoking concepts; when you think about it, aren't future car concepts 'science fiction?' ;)

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