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Robert Venosa – an all time favorite

Salvador Dali – who for a while was a neighbor to Venosa – wrote: “Bravo Venosa! Dali is pleased to see spiritual madness painted with such a fine technique.”

Spot on, Dali! His outstanding capacity to portray seemingly otherworldly perceptions with such a fine technique is truly unique. Still today I cannot figure out a few aspects of his technique. For example, how did he create those long and fine lines in this artwork?


As some of you may see, the image above was my starting point for one of my first large paintings:


Robert Venosa’s technical brilliance and creativity astounds me even today. No wonder he was the artist who had most impact on my art.

He was an artist in the fantastic art genre and his approach was very different from the typical fantasy artist: Rather than finding inspiration from a commercial viewpoint he soemtimes used the hallucinogen Ayahuasca for inspiration. Rather than painstakingly draw sketches and then color them he immediately smeared colors on the canvas in a very random way and used that as a base for the artwork. Rather than knowing pretty well how the painting would look like in the end, he had no clue and improvised from beginning to end.

This is one example of his fine tuned creativity (notice the head in the top part of the painting):

It is amazing what fantastic artworks that can be created with just some black paper, white color, and simple tools like a palette knife:


Thank you for a great contribution to the art world, Robert Venosa. May you rest in peace.

The soulful art of Kinuko Craft

Ah, finally we get to a personal favorite – Kinuko Craft – her art oozing with heart and soul.

© Kinuko Craft

What is the soul essence of her art? I’d say it is the little girl’s dreams and wonders in a world that is still full of magic.

Artwise she gets her inspiration from classic victorian art, faery and various other sources, weaves it in with her inner beauty and presents classical fantasy art that is full of soul.

Thank you, Kinuko!

© Kinuko Craft

© Kinuko Craft

Luis Royo and his women

Luis Royo – loved yet disrespected by so many. Loved because of the dark and sexy touch of his artworks, presented with such prefessionally artistic feel, disrespected because he is considered sexistic and shows such a lack of creativity and variation.

© Luis Royo

I bring him up because of his brilliant technique. As some of you know, my favorite way to teach art technique is to let the student choose artworks they think is the very “best” and then try to do something similar. That way they must puch themselves beyond their limits.

What makes his technique so brilliant?

To start with he always chooses a very simple composition, gets perfect body proportions and shadings. So far nothing unique. Then he adds shadows and light effects with such an artistic and professional perfection. Also, notice how very few colors he uses.

Yet there is something beyond that. He has a feeling for what gets people going.

Let me finish off with one of his earlier paintings, which shows that you don’t necessarily become “better” the more experienced you are.
© Luis Royo

Fantastic technique and visual balance!

Boris Vallejo – a fantasy art king?

Without Boris Vallejo the fantasy art genre wouldn’t be what is is today.

I bring him up because studying his technique is an excellent way to learn the basic traditional and professional way to do fantasy art. Take a look at this image and I’ll describe how he did the artwork:

© Boris Vallejo

Firstly, he is a naughty man who loves nude female bodies, just like me. Because of that he developed the habit of sneaking into a gym and ask female bodybuilders to visit his photo studio so he can take sexy images of them. The girls can show off and feel desired, while he enjoys the sight of them, takes photos of them, and shizaam… gets perfect photo references for his next artwork!

He now copies the proportions of the photo reference directly onto the masonite board (or what surface he is using), and smeares out some acrylic colors to ground his artwork and use as inspiration for the background. (He uses acrylics because it dries so quickly.)

Now he has a perfect full color photo of the sexy female bodybuilder next to his artwork and begins to copy it by hand to the artwork. He uses oil colors, much because of its malleability… perfect for making skin tones! He really doesn’t care much about the background, he loves the nude body and that’s what matters most to him. That’s why the nude figues always look so techniqally accomplished in his artworks, while the background usually looks like, well, some background.

Before the figure is finished he might play around a little with the background, especially the colors, so that the figure will fit in well to the surroundings. Then he finishes the figure and the background. Voilá!

I’d say that this is the essence of Boris Vallejo’s art technique. A perfect school book example of how to do traditional fantasy artworks that looks professional.

The key is to have a really good photo reference, passion and focus.

~Stefan Loå

Paul Bonner – one of the giants

Paul Bonner. I did one artwork to see if I could immediately reach his level, and I better admit that I failed. He is a giant.

Take a look at his work below and I’ll suggest how he did it:

© Paul Bonner and Riotminds

Amazing, isn’t it? Juat look at the water reflections, the limited number of colors used which adds to the balanced feel of the painting. The silent anticipation.

So, how did he create this painting?
I’d say that he got a lot of inspiration from his wanderings in the Nordic forests and by studying old Nordic classics like “Kalevala”. (Yes, I know some of his personal history.)

He puts on some rock music. Thinks about the communication he had with the Swedish guys at Riotminds – the ones who contracted him for the work. Then begins to draw the figures that’ll be in the painting.

He makes sure that the facial expressions and body language are perfectly synced. He gets into great detail in the drawing, to such an extent that he pretty much makes the entire painting in black and white.

Then he thinks that the fun begins as he starts to blend his water colors. Things run smoothly now. It usually does. Except sometimes when he feels like hurling the painting out the window. Without thinking too much he continues the coloring until it is finished.

So simple yet so difficult.

I figure that the most challening part of his work was to come up with the concepts and ideas, with how the figures should look like, body language and face expressions, and to get it all together in a seamless way. Once the drawing was finished the coloring followed easily and naturally.

This is a typical way to make professional fantasy art paintings. And what a fantastic result.

~Stefan Loå