Artist Feature: AndreaMG (digital oil paintings)

An Interview With An ArtRage Artist


Andrea is an Italian portrait painter who creates powerful impressionistic digital oil paintings of inspiring people.

Into The Stars (Avril Lavigne) by Andrea MG section
Close up on ‘Into The Stars (Avril Lavigne)’

ArtRage Editions: ArtRage 4.5

Platforms: Windows (Desktop & Microsoft Surface Pro)

Background: Traditional Art

Who are you? What do you want the internet to know about you?

My name is Andrea, I’m self-taught and I paint because I (recently) re-discovered I like it!

I remember when I was a child I used to draw a lot, unfortunately the studies at first and the work later made me kind of forget it.

It all came back only a few years ago, I was reading an article about an artist (I think it was Seikou Yamaoka) who was able to produce amazing paintings just with his fingers and an iPad and there was this beautiful picture of his replica of Johannes Vermeer’s masterpiece “Girl with a Pearl Earring” which woke me up from my sleep igniting my inner fire.

The Demure (Jeremy Mann's Study) by AndreaMG
The Demure (Jeremy Mann’s Study)
Into The Stars (Avril Lavigne) by Andrea MG
Into The Stars (Avril Lavigne)

I bought an iPad mini and began to use a program (Procreate), which was nice, but while browsing a forum one day I read someone mentioning this wonderful program called “ArtRage”, which happened to be also available for the iPad. I downloaded the app and it was instant love, it made me realize how beautiful painting is, no matter the medium, and soon I decided to get a professional Wacom tablet and the desktop version of ArtRage itself.

Where are you from?

Italy. I don’t know me being Italian translates into my works though since I mainly make portraits, but in the future I might paint some landscapes of places where I live, maybe then…

What kind of artist are you? (how would you describe your style and niche?)

In some works the outcome can be slightly abstract while in others it is more realistic, but at the end of the day I consider myself as a (modern) impressionist painter. In terms of how I approach art, I think the best word to describe it has to do with your software name itself, “ArtRage”, because painting is a primitive way of expression and as such a very direct way to translate your emotions and passions. I find painting so immersive and addictive that I can literally spend an entire day just doing that!

All the artists that I admire are, with a few exceptions, portrait painters so me being such is the consequence of that I guess. Besides I think that portraying a human being is almost a God like thing and I can’t even imagine something more challenging and rewarding at the same time.

My portraits are all about people whom I consider talented in what they do, being a musician or an actor for instance, so that makes me a “pop-art” artist as well.

Do you come from a digital or traditional art background?

I come from traditional mainly because, when I was younger, painting programs simply didn’t exist. I always think it would be awesome to see what one of the great masters from the past might accomplish through digital art today; in that regard I recall recently someone made a huge discovery finding out a floppy disk with a series of digital artworks that Andy Warhol made with a Commodore Amiga in the ’80s, the primordial era of digital art, how cool is that?

In autumn (Bryce Dallas Howard) by Andrea MG
In autumn (Bryce Dallas Howard)
Jumpers (Penguins) by Andrea MG
Jumpers (Penguins)
Lisa (Avril Lavigne) by Andrea MG
Lisa (Avril Lavigne)
Guitar Pick (Avril Lavigne) by Andrea MG
Guitar Pick (Avril Lavigne)
Modeling (Imogen Poots) by Andrea MG
Modeling (Imogen Poots)

Do you use other programs or traditional media?

I mainly use ArtRage because as far as I know is the only one capable of simulating real paint so well. Recently I also tried PaintTool SAI, which is a nice little Japanese program.

How long have you been using ArtRage?

Almost two years, if memory serves me right.

Why do you use ArtRage?

First of all it’s simple, real paint. It’s simple too (you only need a brush, a knife, a few colors and a canvas), digital painting in my opinion must be the same. Of course paintings always need to be painted, so you still have to put a lot of effort into them but being able to do it almost forgetting you are doing it with a computer, it’s a great accomplishment in my opinion.

The beauty of ArtRage is that it can give the painting an incredibly organic feel, especially if you use one layer only. Another thing that I do love about it is how the paint interacts with the underlying canvas and the fact that paint actually builds up as it would do in real life.

I recall being asked by people who used to paint with real media if one of my works had been done with a program or was real, whereas someone else told me it was scary how much it looked like a real oil painting!

Profile (Avril Lavigne) by Andrea MG
Profile (Avril Lavigne)
A Vision (Sarah Michelle Gellar) by Andrea MG
A Vision (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
Porsche (Emilie de Ravin) by Andrea MG
Porsche (Emilie de Ravin)
Lost in thought (Avril Lavigne) by Andrea MG
Lost in thought (Avril Lavigne)

Do you have any tips for other artists who might want to do the same thing as you?

Digital painting must not be stressful, it sure requires a lot of focus and control, but unlike traditional painting, with digital you can undo mistakes, you can use layers, you can play with colors as much as you want, you can resize, flip, rotate images and so on. Not only can you do all these thing easily, but very quickly too, so if I had to give an advice to someone new to digital art it would not be afraid of trying, painting is not about pondering or over thinking, it is a lovely journey in which sometimes you drive some other times you are not, let the painting speak to you and try to experiment always new things, ArtRage gives you the tools, you just pick them and have fun!

Any ArtRage specific tips?

I generally use one layer only to keep the feel of a real oil painting as much as possible. The tools I use the most are the brush on par with the flat knife. For the impasto effect I utilize the paint tube along with the knife. The “grunge” effect is achieved with the a large radius wet knife over areas where the paint is thick enough. My paintings do not show a lot of shading but when I need it, it’s done with the knife or pastels. I also often utilize the fill tool which is a very powerful instrument because allows you to make instant changes in term of colors in vast areas of the painting allowing you to decide which color might work best.

I can hear you now (Natalie Portman) by Andrea MG
I can hear you now (Natalie Portman)
LookatME (Avril Lavigne) by AndreaMG
LookatME (Avril Lavigne)
Spacesuit (Avril Lavigne) by AndreaMG
Spacesuit (Avril Lavigne)
Vicky (Bella Heathcote) by Andrea MG
Vicky (Bella Heathcote)
Smile (Avril Lavigne) by Andrea MG
Smile (Avril Lavigne)
Red jacket (Avril Lavigne) by Andrea MG
Red jacket (Avril Lavigne)
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