Today we have a beautiful digital artist Jean Guillet – Chateau grief! Read her interview to know more about her!
1. Introduce yourself.
Hey I’m Jean Guillet, and I am the author and artist for the web comic graphic novel Chateau Grief. I run a weekly landscape painting blog where each week I paint a picture of a different place in California, my home state. I also write a little about the history of the place that I paint. Also on Saturdays I give in to silliness and run a short comic strip featuring dad-tier puns. I really love detailed backgrounds and I use them in both my paintings and my comics.
2. Can you tell us how and when you started digital art. I mean was it your hobby at first?
I started painting digital art at the same time I started Chateau Grief. That was in 2015, and I haven’t missed a week yet! Each week for me is some form of art learning experience or experiment. I never stop researching art, classical or contemporary and I learn something new each week that I want to bring out and paint.
3. Your landscape paintings are so beautiful! Can you tell us from where do you get the inspiration from? Do you take reference photos to create them?
I’m completely in awe of the natural beauty of California and have been since I was (as far as I can tell), like, two. I love to take reference photos when I can, but travel isn’t something I can always afford or spare the time for, so I’ve got some great web resources like pixabay, an online repository of royalty free stock photos, or Wikimedia, where photos are licensed in various ways for different things. I also find references from the National Park Service, who usually have a section of each park devoted to photos their employees have taken — that, if taken as part of their work, are in the public domain. I don’t rely too heavily on references though. References are great for getting the geography of a mountain face small enough to scale it to a painting, but beyond that, I prefer to work my painting up in a pretty loose, freehand manner.
4. How much time does it take to complete 1 single piece of work. Do you do multiple projects simultaneously?
Between commissions, paintings, comics and jokes, I’m never working on enough pieces at any one time. I find that it’s not so much the time you spend working on a painting as the time you spend letting it rest that matters. I’ve got some technical reasoning behind this. As you stare at a painting at a particular color for so long, your eyes begin to perceive that color differently as all the rods and cones either fire or get exhausted. Often I go to bed and wake up to a completely different-looking canvas than the one I remember from the night before. I like to get in at least one full night’s sleep into the production of a painting, preferably two or three. That’s where I get my best pieces done.
5. What software do you use to create your works?
I’ve fallen into using Photoshop almost exclusively for painting these days. It’s extremely convenient in it’s ability to customize hotkeys and create macros, which they call ‘Photoshop Actions’. Without being able to arrange my keyboard for my two-handed production method (right drawing, and left steering, if you will) I wouldn’t be able to work nearly as quickly. For Chateau Grief however, and my super-lavish island fantasy world that I’m creating, I use an open-source 3d program called Blender both for modeling and for rendering. I find that when I paint a picture involving a lot of buildings, a quick setup of a few boxes in Blender is worth its weight in gold to get the perspective correct, and this photo-accuracy perspective is something I establish first for my comic as well. Perspective, particularly for figure-drawing is not an easy thing to master, and I’ll take all the help I can get!
6. Pick any one of your favorite works from your portfolio and share the process behind it.
Here’s a walk-through for my recent painting of Pismo Beach. I do a walk-through like this for every painting for my patrons at Patreon (there’s some free bonus content there too). Just gives some of my thought process.
7. Do you have any favorite artists whom you consider as the best?
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that most controversial of modern California landscape artists from my actual region California, Thomas Literal Kincaid. He is known for dreamy paintings of pillowy stone cottages (how he pulls this texture swap off I have no idea) but has more technically brilliant plain air paintings of California scenery than you can shake a sable at. Unfortunately he is dead, and not painting from the beyond…BUT.. He also has basically a doppelganger artist, an old buddy from their days of hitch hiking around the United States together, James Gurney, master water-colorist and lover of dinosaurs. Gurney runs the best art blog on the internet (don’t take my word for it, he’s gotten awards) and is also a constant source of inspiration and information.
I wish Bierstadt was still alive too. Hudson River School, man. It’s like Hogwarts for artists.
8. What kind of works you like to create mostly?
I love things with bright colors and golden sunlight, waterfalls and mountains, trees and beaches. I also have way too much fun with expressive characters and old guys with unaccountably appealing shark-smiles that go practically ear-to-ear. I absolutely adore designing the 3d sets that go into Chateau Grief, and I’m constantly redressing them for each new scene. It’s like having an unlimited budget as a film director. I’ve used locations from all over the world for Mr. Shark-smile’s palace.
9. Any thing else you want to share with our readers?
Check out what I’m talking about at my website you can find the comic archive, 100% free, and the art blog. And if you feel like chatting or connecting or even commissioning, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org