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Digital art with a traditional feel

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Date Added: 30th May 2014
digital art, dinosaurs, landscapes, A.J Trahan  

Take a look back at 2dartist’s interview with talented artist A.J Trahan, who shares some of his digital work with us, as well as letting us know a little about his traditional work!


Hi A.J, it’s great to speak to you. I have spent a bit of time doing some research about you and realized that you have worked for some great clients. How did you end up in the industry? Also how did you catch the attention of big studios like Steambot?

A.J Trahan: Thanks for taking the time to check out my stuff! I was lucky enough to go to a really cool little art school called Gemini just outside of Austin, TX, which is where I’m from. The school is run by the Spanish master Roger Barcilon, who is good friends with the Steambot guys. My concept art teacher at Gemini was Manuel Carrasco who also worked with Steambot, and after I left Disney he recruited me to start working with them. I remember Roger showing me some of David Levy’s early speed paintings and thinking, “Damn - I’ve got to learn how to do that!”


“I’ve been influenced and inspired by so many different artists with different styles...”

I don’t think there is any artist that hasn’t been affected by David Levy’s work in that way. Which artists would you say have had the greatest influence on your style and also is there one artist in particular that you are a fan of at the moment?

A.J Trahan: Hm... well I’m not really sure about that one. I’ve been influenced and inspired by so many different artists with different styles and backgrounds. I would say my instructor Roger Barcilon had a huge influence on the way I learned to paint, but even before that the book How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, cartoons and dinosaur books all played a huge role in my style since that was what I was copying whilst I was learning. When I was in high school I found Justin Sweet, Craig Mullins and Supalette’s websites and they left a huge impression on me. It wasn’t really until my second year at Gemini that I started looking at painters like Sargent, Zorn and Sorolla and began to pull from them in terms of style. Of course now there are countless people who influence my work. I’m still very much a fan of the guys at Steambot and people like Sparth, Scholes, Lipking... the list really goes on and on.


One thing that stood out to me when doing some research on CGHub for this interview is that you have done an outstanding amount of work. Then I was blown away to find your blog containing your traditional work of which there was also an unbelievable amount. How do you find time to create so many amazing images?

A.J Trahan: [Laughs] Thanks! After leaving school and going to work in the game industry I started to miss painting with traditional mediums. Because of this, a fellow concept guy at Disney and I started to paint still lifes and plein air studies after work or on the weekends. We even started a plein air painting group that would meet at various locations around Austin, although most of the time it was just me and him because of the Texas heat. It was really fun to try and get as many paintings done as I could to give to family and friends for presents. I still try to keep pushing myself to do more paintings and sketches, whether it’s using traditional mediums or working on the computer. For a while I was trying to complete at least one speed painting per day, but these days it’s hard to find time outside of work to do many personal pieces.


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