Artist Feature: Lauren May

An Interview With An ArtRage Artist


Lauren May is a professional illustrator from England who creates cute fantasy illustrations and Impressionistic digital oil portraits across fantasy, cartoons and fandom.

portrait of will graham by Lauren May
Portrait of Will Graham

ArtRage Editions: ArtRage 4.5

Platforms: Windows 7

Background: Traditional Art

Website: www.behance.net/lauren-may

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

I’m Lauren May, I’m a freelance Illustrator living in England and I work mostly within the children’s illustration field. I graduated in 2013 with a First Class BA Honors Degree in Communication Design and a Distinction in Illustration from Northbrook College.

What kind of artist are you? What kind of subjects do you draw? (How would you describe your style and/or theme?)

I’m an all-around kind of artist, I suppose. My drawings feature a lot of fantasy themed things like dragons and sword-wielding princes. I also have a keen interest in character design and video game art and hope to get into that industry some day. Other than that, I’m a bit erratic as an artist – I’m always experimenting and love exploring new ways of working. I also love expressing my appreciation of thing through the creation of fanart, but that is usually a more cartoony affair. It has only been about a year since I stepped out of my cheerful cartoons to experiment with a sort of Modern Impressionistic style of portraiture.

Portrait of Will Graham (Cropped) by Lauren May
Portrait of Will Graham (Cropped)
the chesapeake ripper by Lauren May
The Chesapeake Ripper

Do you come from a digital or traditional art background?

I grew up drawing and sculpting traditionally and didn’t have a computer until I was about fourteen. My college level workshops and assignments were almost entirely traditional and focused on fundamentals, but I worked on digital art in my spare time. When I began studying Illustration at degree level my work became half traditional, half digital.

Do you use other programs or traditional media?

Photoshop, Paint Tool SAI and a little bit of Illustrator. For traditional art I use pencil, watercolour, ink, gouache, and acrylic (very rarely). Sometimes I sculpt with plasticine and air dry clay.

Ella's Kitchen by Lauren May
Ella’s Kitchen
will graham by Lauren May
Will Graham

How long have you been using ArtRage?

About a year for serious pieces.

How did you come across the program?

A free copy of ArtRage 2.5 came with my Wacom Volito 2 (my first tablet) over 10 years ago. I didn’t have the skills back then to properly utilise it, but it always stuck in my mind because it was unique.

What ArtRage works or projects are you most proud of?

My favourite one is my current project ‘The Quartermaster’ which is still a work in progress. I’ve had a lot of fun painting it so far and it feels like my most successful portrait so far. I’m very excited to see it through to completion.

The Quartermaster in progress by Lauren May
The Quartermaster in progress
The Quartermaster by Lauren May
The Quartermaster

How do you choose what to draw? Are you trying to tell a particular story/convey a certain meaning, or just basing it on what looks good? What response do you want from people?

Inspiration for portraits comes whenever I see a scene from a film or TV series that has lighting, colouring and composition that I like. I’m also interested in the form of a person, say, their face, hair, clothing etc. and try to capture that particular thing.

These paintings are just for fun and personal development but I do aim to convey an emotion or character trait within the artwork. For example: in the painting of Hannibal Lecter, his appearance is prim, opulent and pleasant – a ‘Person Suit’, as he puts it – so that he can be a functioning member of high society. His narcissist personality is his greatest and most revealing flaw, as such his Person Suit is bleeding out into the long, loud streaks of red paint in the background that symbolise his true murderous nature.

Why do you use ArtRage?

It is a surprisingly versatile software when you start utilising the sliders and presets on the tools. I absolutely adore the texture and real paint effect. It is as close to real painting as you can get and the best part is that it’s digital so you can undo mistakes.

hannibal by Lauren May
Prince-Lars by Lauren May
Prince Lars

Where does ArtRage fit into your workflow?

It has everything I need to complete a portrait from start to finish.

What are your favourite ArtRage features?

The oil brush.

Least used?

I’ve yet to find a use for the very fun stickers and glitter tools.

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

As with any medium, practice makes perfect. ArtRage is no exception. Once you have grasped how the tools behave and how they interact with what’s already on the canvas it becomes as intuitive as real painting.

Is ArtRage suited to professional artwork?

Most definitely!

Further Reading

Check out this tutorial – Lauren wrote about how she paints portraits using the oil brush and chooses colour values for her work.

will graham study by Lauren May
Will Graham Study

See more of Lauren May’s work and commission her via her website, Tumblr and Instagram.

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