Photoshop/Poser Artist Elisa Paschall Interview
We saw Elisa’s work and felt that our readers would benefit from learning about how she creates her wonderful images with Photoshop and Poser Pro. Her name is Dark Elegance and she has a great portfolio on Epilogue and the link is at the end of this interview.
TCT. How did you learn your specific design/art software?
EP. I am self-taught. I wish I had gone to school for it, it would of helped me tremendously. But I kind of stumble through the programs till I get the desired effect I want. Sometimes I go to forums (renderosity allot) and ask how to do something and when they point me in the direction I need to go…I dive in that direction. Not a graceful method of doing it, more of a thrashing about, beating pixels to death till I get something in the line of what I want.
TCT. What is your favorite software tool?
EP. The ones I use most often are Poser Pro 2012 and Photoshop. Recently I added Sculptris and Marvelous designer to my tool bag.
TCT. Do you have a favorite technique that you would like to share?
EP. The one thing I have learned with poser is when working with a pose…stop and look at an actual body in that pose. Often it’s my own hand (I have an issue with hands, most 3d hands do not move like a hand in real life does). You have to look at how a body will move. Not what the model allows you to move.
When working in Photoshop, work in layers. This makes it easier to alter an image or change direction of it.
Also save, save and save. Save often. In poser I learned(the hard way…very hard way) To save every few minutes or to save it at major changes. I tend to make a major change then save it as a separate file. Normally I number them so I know which shift in theme I made. example, Medusa1(the original that I started with) but then I may add new snakes, or change the background or lighting so I save it ‘medusa 2’…etc. That way if you want to go back to the original and start again…its there. This also helps if a file get corrupt.
TCT. Do you first sketch on paper or design directly into the program?
EP. I get an idea (or an idea is given to me) and I open up the program and start playing with the figure. If the idea is my own, it tends to flow easier than if it is something someone is asking me to do.
EP. How long does it take to create a simple design (We know there are many aspects, but a rough idea)?
EP. Right now, a good solid work can take me a day or two. But that is because I have shifted from “beauty shots” to more gritty futuristic work. It has more emotion in it and a different emotion then I am use to showing. The biggest time consumer of any work is the lighting. THAT can take hours upon hours to do. I have done work where the actual figure set up has taken 20 minutes, but the lighting has taken me 12 hours to get right.
TCT. What or who inspires your work?
EP. My mother is what got me started. One of my first memories was her sticking my hand into a blob of vivid yellow oil paint and telling me to “feel the color”. For her, art was more about the feeling of it, what it made others feel, rather than technique. Growing up that mentality braided with a fascination with anything fantasy and sci-fi.
I still remember the day I saw a PBS special on computer generated art. This was in the day of Max Headroom. I was dazzled utterly dazzled. I wanted to do that. Fast forward nearly 20 years…and I was testing the waters with my first 3d program.
TCT. What is your creative process or how do you come up with your illustrations?
EP. Allot of my work comes from my love of myths and religion and the love of the female form. I want to give them a twist. A medusa love lorn with one of her statues, mourning the fact he is not flesh. Angels caught in love or fury. Being caught between good and evil and showing how we are all a mixture of both. Beauty that is like alien flowers taunting you to a painful death. The battle between soldier and ‘monster’ but which is the villan? Which is the hero? a shift of perspective on what is beautiful and ugly and what it means to be either.
TCT. Any suggestions for beginners who want to do illustrations?
EP. Do what you love, what moves you. What makes you -feel- something. Whether it is an “awe” moment, revulsion or something that truly grabs you. Sometimes art is a battle to get your idea out, that is a good thing. Because it drives you forward. Pushes you to do more, reach further, expand your skills. Try something new.
A frustration at being limited pushes you further to try a new medium, a new idea, a new theme. Also, criticism is a good thing. Even when it makes you feel like screaming and giving up. Don’t. Use that anger and frustration or even pain to grow.
There is a gallery I found, Epilogue. It is a place your work has to be judged in. Back when started doing digital work, I posted there and got one piece in. It was a “YAY” moment. But the next 6? Nope. “Not epilogue quality” became a dreaded mantra. I was so -frustrated- I went from anger to despair. But each time that mantra came, I was gnashing my teeth, put my head down and work at it, again and again. It forced me to not be comfortable in what ever level I was at in that moment.
One gallery was all praise for anything I posted…but epilogue wasn’t. The determination I had to get a work in there pushed me. I am so thankful it did. Each time I got the “not epilogue quality” I was forced to sit back and re-look at the work. To go over it. Criticism can be brutal and painful, something we do not wish to hear. BUT it is also what makes us rethink our work, to change a habit or a path we are on and to grow, to improve. Criticism can be as important as praise for an artist.
TCT. Anything else you would like to add to inspire our readers?
EP. Never think you can’t do something. If 20 years ago, someone had told me I was going to be doing digital art…I would of laughed at them. There was no way I would have even thought of myself capable of doing it. I had zero computer knowledge, zero technical ability (still don’t really). I couldn’t see myself on a computer much less making art on a computer. If you wish to do it…DO IT. Keep at it, if it moves you…DO IT.
You can see Elisa work at: SEE HER WORK
Please email us if you know an artist that should be interviewed. We are also going to be interviewing on Podcasts shorty, so you can be heard and be more personal.
The Creative Tablet