- Is the pathway that leads directly to the bottom of Eithné's Irish garden where a portal to Tír na nÓg awaits those who dare to venture forth. We caught her with a lure of cake and fairy dust and got her to answer our Stock & Resources Project Educate questions before she ran off again!
You've been a photomanipulator on DeviantART for some time now, what or who first influenced you in the art world, and how has that impacted your own work?
First influence in the art world was Geoff Taylor who originally did Raymond E Fiest's, Magician
book when it went to the combined edition in the UK. Geoff Taylor has a lot to answer for. My father gave me that book when I was 8 when I was struggling to read at school. Great book to give a half dyslectic to read! Anyway I remember I was more taken with the art on the cover than the actual book. I finally completed it when I was 12 and since then have just been crazy about fantasy. In fairness films like Legend, The Last Unicorn, Labyrinth, Red Sonja, Ladyhawke, Princess Bride, and of course Willow are all found guilty of influence. I should have went to art college after school but unfortunately went with science (I'm a trained geologist and environmental scientist). 10 years on I'm trying to get back lost time and make myself known and get contracts. As I'm pretty dire at painting I manipulate instead. If you look at those films I just mentioned, I think its fairly self explanatory where they impact on my work. I decided to go freelance last year, so far its good but its not for the faint hearted, and you must understand business. I do suggest a tough skin - you will need it.
Do you ever get inspired directly from a stock image, or do you have an idea or theme in mind before you start looking for stock elements?
Oh yes! In fact ^Elandria
posted a set one time when I was really struggling to get anything done. It's now (as Bruce Forsyth would say) my favourite ! An awful lot of stock artists are so inspiring that half the time I get so overwhelmed I don't know what to do. Depending if I wake up with a clear idea from a dream or "seen" it driving somewhere or doing something do I go looking for "specific" stock. Then that can get frustrating because I see it so clear and it just misses the mark and no one ever sees it. Other times I see a stock image and I go "that's mine you little beauty!" and get it done in record time. The most popular in my gallery are actually these pieces, not the thought out well constructed ones. Go figure!
As a photomanipulator, does having the type of stock and resources "on your doorstep" in DeviantART affect your choice of images you use in your work, do you ever find yourself not wanting to use a piece of stock if its been used a lot?
No, it doesn't effect my choices. As an artist I feel its up to the talent and imagination of said artist to come up with something new and innovative for a image that's been used a lot. Make it more, make it outstanding, don't stand in the herd with your head in the sand. Go learn how to do other techniques apart from smudge tool and an outer edge glow.
The stock & resources community is directly affected and influenced by the
photomanipulation community in the styles and themes of work that gets used frequently and vice versa, do you have any advice for other artists or stock providers for making their work more unique?
Well IMO there can never be enough fantasy stock! Not that I push out a lot of images but there just can't! Goth/Emo....there is a lot of stock of that genre, possibly too much. However good images, that are lit correctly and properly focused are hard to come by. Only a handful of select stockers do that correctly in this genre. As for artists making their work more unique - don't be a chicken. Be a lion. Yes a certain style is very popular mostly because its easy to do. Try and push your work flow and skill set to get better quality images that while there are elements of a certain style you make it yours.
Are there any specific criteria you look for when you are sourcing your stock and resources?
Touchy subject that does effect my stock selection is stock rules. I purposely (everywhere I can) will credit the model, photographer, MUA, hairstylist, designer, stylist, on or beside images on portfolio sites. Secondary images that are used to say are linked to dA where the stock IS individually linked. I am a freelance artist with international contracts. I just don't have the time to credit everyone so I credit the most important aspects of the image which is usually around the model. If I miss one it is honestly a mistake and I rectify it immediately. If I see on a stockers profile, "under no circumstances can you use the final image off deviant art" I'm gone. If I really like it I'll ask them for off site usage with all credit they want, but funny enough 99% of them decline so just don't bother any more. At the end of the day we're using their image, giving them credit and in turn exposure so why not let people use them on other sites as long as there is a link/credit so people can find them. It just makes no sense really. I don't see the point in not giving credit - alas others do not have this opinion and for this they should get appropriately slapped. HARD.
Other aspects I look for in personal work are: image resolution, focus, DOF, lighting, do they allow commercial release in case it gets picked up. Stuff like that. I also try where I can to take my own stock photography for backgrounds etc. I'm copyright holder, there is no issues then.
Last but not least, what flavour cupcake are you?
Death by chocolate with raspberry frosting sprinkled with 100s and 1000s fantasy dust!