LONDON, United Kingdom — While hopping around Google, I stumbled across a wonderful artist from China, Ju Zheng, who has created some of the most captivating digital drawing I have seen in a long time. When I first stared at his work, I had to pause for a bit and have a closer look at the drawings as I was not entirely sure if I was viewing a photograph or a drawing.
I had to think that having access to such advanced techniques available for digital drawing and the right talent to master these techniques, young generations are creating unthinkable, jaw dropping digital art work.
Mastering Digital Art Techniques and Traditional Painting
Talent is not inherited but it can certainly be gained through practice and learning from experience. In this competitive world, there seems little room for individuals who do not back their knowledge with an endless list of titles, but there are great talents with no specific training that have managed to master techniques and let their creativity skyrocket and have taken, in this case, the digital art world by storm!
As Ju Zheng comments: “I graduated from Chongqing Arts and Crafts vocational high school. However, I did not go to a College and, I have to admit that I do not have much knowledge on the subject matter, but I am able to make a digital painting as well as a painting in the traditional way.”
This does not seem to have affected the creativity and applied knowledge of Ju Zheng who uses Adobe Photoshop CS5 and specific painting techniques methods to create his drawings as fabulously demonstrate in a video of his drawings. An admirer of the Spanish painter Vicente Romero Redondo, Ju assures that his long cherished dream is to be a painter and to pass on his knowledge to future generations.
Creating a Digital Portrait
While admiring the work of Ju, inevitably, I had to ask myself: How long does it take to make a portrait of this kind? And while this would take a mortal like me ‘maybe a lifetime’, it takes Ju less than a day but long enough to show his perseverance, attention to detail, patience and the complexity of the techniques he uses:
“If I really work hard, I can create a portrait in about 11 hours; once though it took me more than 22 hours to finish a portrait.”
We asked Ju what technique was the most difficult to master: “I think the difficulty in ultra-realistic paintings lie in the details and colours applied. Light, shade and colours, are a very strong visual stimulation. Therefore you need to grasp the colour, but to achieve this you need to train your eyes so that you do not miss the minutest detail, and this can take a long time to get right.”
Digital Drawing is a Continuous Learning Process
An expert eye might be able to see the nuances and subtleties in these drawings; I personally find them exceptionally good and almost impossible to differentiate from a photograph, especially the portrait of the young girl with red hair. As many artists are, Ju is his own biggest critic:
“Now that I am looking at my old drawings I can see the improvements I have made on painting the skin, but I am still rubbish at painting hair. I need to improve this skill.”
Technology evolves at a fast pace, almost too fast to catch up, but when your passion is entirely reliant on these new applications, then certainly taking advantage of them and continuing to learn from them will determine how far your talent and perseverance will take you.
Ju seems to have taken this concept to heart: “I will continue to exploit the advantages of digital art and drawing speed, suitable for those daring to learn and try new methods. What can I say, my ‘fans’ love to be surprised.”