December 19, 2013

Kyle Lambert : The Score

Fridayyyyy. And FIVE days from now you'll be waking up on Christmas morning! We're asking ourselves just where has this year gone!? Well it has and we're gonna wrap up The Score interview series for 2013 with an absolute treat today. His art is truly astounding, his viral success has increased ten-fold in the last few days. Ladies and gents let us introduce to you Mr Kyle Lambert.

YCC : Eighteen days ago you uploaded your masterpiece Morgan Freeman iPad painting and today it’s currently at almost 12 million views! Did you do this as a publicity stunt or just to get your artwork out into the big wide world?

KL : Well, the videos that I create are usually personal projects that I believe people will enjoy watching and that help showcase my abilities as an artist. I don’t make money from them, but they usually lead to other exciting opportunities for me as an artist. In all honesty I had no idea this video would reach the audience that it did, but It’s been pretty incredible to watch everything unfold.

YCC : There have been a lot of people questioning its authenticity – do you mind, is it just great to have people talking about it?

KL : I think it’s understandable for people to question the video’s authenticity because the final painting is so close to the original photograph. My primary concern at many stages during the painting process was that it didn’t look realistic enough, so in some ways the conversations that have followed have been amazing to me. Like you said, I think what’s important overall is that people have enjoyed watching the video, and are now talking about the idea of painting with their iPads and computers.

YCC : So we know he’s an acting God but why did you choose to use Morgan Freeman as your model?

KL : I was looking for a portrait to paint that people would relate to and that would allow me to showcase the level of detail that it is possible to achieve with the app Procreate. The photo I found of Morgan Freeman taken by photographer Scott Gries had all of these qualities and became the obvious choice.

YCC : You spent 200+ hours on this. Is that the average length of time for a digital portrait?

KL : Not at all, normally I don’t spend more than a couple of days on a painting. This was an extreme example of painting intricate detail so it required a whole different way of working. Most of the pieces I paint are a lot looser and stylised so don’t take up quite as much time.

YCC : Why have you chosen your main medium to be digital?

KL : In most of the creative work that I do, digital gives me much more freedom to experiment and make changes. If I want to try something during the middle of a painting, I can do so without fully committing to the idea. I can make multiple versions of an image to offer a client a range of options and fully explore an idea without ever compromising the work that has already been done.

YCC : Technology is a big part of your art – are you still inspired by traditional art?

KL : Very much so, when looking at art I don’t tend to make that distinction between digital and traditional. When I’m inspired by an image it’s usually because of the way the artist has used his tools to effectively communicate their idea. I understand that the aesthetics of a painting can be heavily dictated by the medium used, but it is only a very small part of what I find inspiring about a piece.

YCC : Can you explain to us less-savvy-techy peeps how you go about creating a digital illustration from start to finish?

KL : Absolutely. The process is very similar to how you approach painting with real world materials, but you are working within a digital space. The tools are different depending upon the application that you are using, but the principals are the same.

You basically begin by choosing a digital canvas size and then select from a range of different digital brushes. There are brushes that make lines similar to pencil, paint, pastel and spray paints as well as sets of more unconventional choices. Lastly, you select the colour that you want to paint with from a colour wheel and begin making marks.

From then onwards your approach to painting is very personal. Sometimes I will do a very detailed sketch and work from there. Other times I just dive straight into painting and refine as I work. There are many different techniques and approaches but the essentials of selecting brushes and picking colours are easy to get started with.

YCC : Do you have any words of wisdom to aspiring digital visual artists?

KL : I think the key is to spend a lot of time practicing with the tools that you enjoy working with. Many artists find it hard transitioning to working digitally because they try to paint a complicated image right away. You need to get to the point where you have mixed colour and configured your brushes so many times that you aren’t even thinking about it when you are working. When you are at this point you can really focus on the specifics challenges of each painting.

I feel very comfortable working on my Mac with Photoshop and on my iPad with Adobe Ideas and Procreate, but still spend a lot of time in-between projects trying out new techniques to see if there are better or more interesting ways of working.

There you have it. We're quite simply mind. Blown. See more stunning digital pieces by Kyle at his site. Have a great bloody Christmas and we'll have plenty more Scores for you in 2014.

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