Leo Lee (Interview)

Originally published on CG Hubs on August 27, 2014.

Welcome to CGButterfly: Interviews. This week’s artist is Leo Lee.

What brought you to CGButterfly?

A friend’s invitation.

Do you design as part of your employment, or is it a hobby?

Yes, I’m currently a freelancer but still got huge enthusiasm in doing art stuff as my hobby.

Do you have any special preference, such as texturing, painting, lighting, modelling, etc?

Painting, for sure. But I’m trying to touch something fresh to me.

Do you have a favourite piece of art? What is the story behind it?

I paid a lot of attention on studying classical painting, like Joaquin Sorolla, Johannes Vermeer, Andrew Wyeth and so on. They are all my favourite great artists and I got inspiration from them. I would like to introduce the series of painting in terms of fishing by Sorolla, he shows awesome sense of light on the sea and sails, as well as the people. It was describing the fisherman’s work which should be a hard life for them, but with Sorolla’s painting, people were enjoying it rather than suffering. I guess this could be the power of art.

Can you provide a summary of your creation process?

I usually start with B&W only and focus on the relationship with different values, and pushing depth by using light to build up a proper sense of space, then I can throw whatever I like into this ground. Sometimes I may play around the colour first, but still keep the sense of space and light in mind. In terms of colour, just keep it simple at early phase and then introduce more along with the progress. A good use of colour is totally dependent on the good structure of values. By the way, I don’t like to follow any rules to put in colour, and, usually, I spend around 80 percent of the time on the valuable rough level, like brainstorming, light, dynamic movement, composition and so on, 10 percent on polishing details and texture stuff, and the last 10 percent of the time might be for beer, cigarettes, and browsing Facebook.

What is your workflow from the idea to the finished design?

I will work out the line sketch as the rough to show to my art directors and get the commentary, then push further to the final line level or with values. At this level we probably could decide the final proposal of design, and then they perhaps need me to list several groups of colour for choice. So, following the two main steps before, I will continue to work on the details, like rendering, texturing, blocking outline, till finish this project.

Where do you get your inspiration?

As I mentioned before, I get inspiration from those classical masters from 19th century, as well as some current great artists, like Craig Mullins, Moebius, Gino, Adrian Smith, these people are all resource of knowledge to me. I learn techniques from them, but in terms of design stuff, I usually find realistic things as my reference.

What is your current project? What are you working on right now?

I started to work on my personal comic book since the beginning of 2013, and it is still a long journey to go.

Is there anything you want to share with our community?

I want to emphasize the importance of basics here, basics are everything.

You can find Leo Lee on his Wix page.