An Interview With An ArtRage Artist
Steve Goad is a well-travelled US artist who paints breathtakingly magical landscapes, epic fan art, and imaginative realism, as well as occasional birds and realistic scenery.
ArtRage Editions: ArtRage 4.5
Platforms: Windows 10, Wacom Intuos Pro
Background: Traditional Art
Who are you? What do you want the internet to know about you?
Hmm, who am I? I’m an artist that sells 300 paintings in just a few weeks and no one really knows who I am. My paintings have been on several TV shows on Cinemax and TNT; I’ve done magazine covers, graphic novels, concept art for games and was in Vogue magazine this year. Most recently I was named South Dakota’s artist of the year for “exploring TOSCA” magazine in the twin cities and I still feel I haven’t established a name for myself.
My social media followings are low and I still get the “I had no idea you were an artist” from people I know. This isn’t to say I don’t recognize and appreciate what I’ve accomplished but honestly, there’s always another level of excellence not only in art but in anything we do in life. We must always strive to be better in all that we do, starting from within ourselves and letting it flow outwards.
Art is wonderful, it’s always been a part of my life and it’s something I’ll be doing until my last breath on this planet, but it isn’t everything. It is more rewarding to me to make a positive difference in someone’s life, to look beyond myself and help those around me. I love seeing my wife smile at me as I help her pursue her dreams. There’s more to life than “making a name for yourself”, I would much rather people know me for my character and how I treated them than what I painted.
Where are you from?
I’ve always hesitated with this question because I was born in Kansas, then moved to Iran, and then lived in Thailand. Moved to Oklahoma for a few years then moved to Saudi Arabia, then lived in Greece. I then moved to Colorado, then back to Oklahoma and then Texas. I spent most of my time in Texas so I think it’s safe to say I’m from the U.S.A.
What kind of artist are you? (how would you describe your style and niche?)
I’ve never been great with “art talk” especially when it comes to describing the process or my style. The best way I can describe my work is I’m looking for a nice balance of realism mixed with impressionism. I don’t always pull this off but it’s something I’d like to master.
Regarding subject matter, I don’t limit myself to one thing. I’ll paint something whimsical one day, a superhero afterwards and then wildlife the next. There’s so much to paint out there, why limit myself to one subject? Plus in my humble opinion, you’ll reach a broader audience if your subject matter is wide.
Do you come from a digital or traditional art background?
Traditional, started out with pencils and pens. I got into digital art but was horrible at it in the beginning; I kept at it and then got into Oils and Acrylics. I started bouncing back between Oils/Acrylics and digital, I noticed each time I did this I’d improve with each medium.
Do you use other programs or traditional media?
If it’s traditional, I stick with Oils and Acrylics. In digital, my main programs are ArtRage and Photoshop, with the occasional Paint Tool Sai and Krita.
How long have you been using ArtRage?
I’ve been on ArtRage since the first release. I really love programs that mimic traditional mediums, and I’m really looking forward to the day when the engines truly mimic paint. (Where water color runs, or you can take a brush and flick it on your canvas to mimic splatter effects).
How did you come across the program?
While browsing the internet for name brand alternatives or programs that mimic traditional mediums, Ambient Design showed up in the list.
What ArtRage works or projects are you most proud of?
A Hero Is Born
I’ve always really liked this piece for some reason, not only am I fan of the game series but I’ve enjoyed the comics and some of the movies. I did this piece for a Tomb Raider competition and even though I didn’t even make the top 25 submissions, I’m still proud of the way it turned out. And I say this with humbleness; this piece won the competition for me.
Give ’em Hell
I started watching Hell On Wheels and really enjoyed the series, I’d be painting on one monitor while Hell On Wheels was playing on the other. I painted this one for fun and not too long afterwards I received a message and invitation to a private group on Facebook. I thought sure why not, we share the same interests so I joined.
Shortly after joining I noticed posts that were popping up in my feed about one of the members buying a new Ferrari to replace their old one. I thought to myself, wow who are these members?? So I got to looking and noticed they were cast members of the show who took an appreciation of my work. So this piece holds a special memory in my life, what are the odds to enjoy a TV show you watch and then the members of the show invite you to their group.
Lori the Astronaut
This is another piece that holds special meaning. I painted this to step away from the grind of other people’s projects and paint something personal.
My wife Lori took a quiz on Facebook on what her career should be and it was Astronaut. Reading that I immediately started painting, it was also around the time ArtRage was holding their competition so I thought why not! After I finished I entered it in the competition and won 1st place. So I was definitely smiling that day, to paint Lori in a whimsical setup and for it to win 1st place in a competition is pretty awesome!
How do you choose what to draw?
The amazing thing about art is you can pretty much paint anything and someone somewhere will like it. Not everyone will like it but there will always be someone that will, so with this in mind it’s best to paint what interests you. It’s taken a long time to figure this one out because I was always doing artwork for someone else. So if painting butterflies is your thing, or creating custom heroes or doing romance novel covers… do it whole heartedly.
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?
Honestly? All three! I like telling a story, I’ve always been fond of the Star Wars posters because it’s one painting telling multiple stories. I like choosing colors that are moving and full of passion, similar to my “Woman In Red” series. I also like to create paintings that have a personal meaning for me, like my “Christ Within” series. With that said, there are times I sit down to paint and have no purpose, just sketch and let something evolve.
Art is so subjective, what one thinks is beautiful another does the “meh” its OK response. So I try not to trouble myself with what people will or won’t think. I’ve done artwork that I felt was “OK” that had a HUGE impact on someone’s life that brought them to tears. Other times I’ve done stuff I was proud of and people picked it to pieces to the point of calling it garbage. Take the good with the bad and focus on your own response to your own work. You stay consistent in this and you’ll always run into people who will appreciate your work and there’s a lot of them out there, trust me.
Why do you use ArtRage?
I use it because the GUI is one of the best I’ve seen. It keeps your work area clean to where you can focus on your art. I also choose it because of the way the color blends; this is also the best I’ve seen. When you take yellow paint and blend it with blue to make green… that is a thing of beauty. Most programs, if you want the color then you have to pick that exact color. Coming from a traditional background to be able to blend on canvas is perfect.
Most importantly, I support ArtRage for the quality of character I’ve experienced with their staff. Do the math; great product coupled with great people is an instant win in my book. Each update I purchase or each post I promote them in will only make this product better. I look forward to seeing what’s next.
Where does ArtRage fit into your workflow?
Actually, ArtRage is consistently a big part of my work flow. Sometimes I’ll do entire paintings with it, other times I’ll get to a certain point and hop over to Photoshop to add splatter effects or to adjust contrast with the dodge/burn tool.
What are your favourite ArtRage features?
Sticker Spray tool – The power of this tool is overlooked. You can actually import a lot of your Photoshop brushes into this tool. Adjust the settings to mimic what you’re used to seeing.
Watercolor Brush – I use this as part of my blending process
Oil Brush – For areas I want to throw down a lot of paint I generally use this. I also use it as a touch up tool by applying additional layers and setting them to “highlight”, I’ll then use the “dry varnished” brush to add an impasto or clear coat effect. It’s also nice to use the “dry clumps” to add visible brush strokes to your work.
References – ArtRage gets it in this department. Art comes from someplace, any successful artists uses a reference to paint from. ArtRage does this perfectly with a pinned reference feature. It’s great to always have your reference sitting on top of your work instead of flipping through windows like most programs.
Oddly enough, I never find a use for the Gloop or Glitter tool. I’d much rather the Glitter tool to be turned into a “splatter” tool that does random splatter patterns with paint. The Gloop pen would be perfect if it would actually glob the paint in one area to where the paint would run and drip.
Do you have any tips for other artists who might want to do the same thing as you?
Do it better and follow the joy. Artists are driven by their passion and joy; if you find yourself working on something that’s a struggle, ask yourself if you’re really enjoying it. To me, painting something that I’m not enjoying is like trying to jam a square object into a smaller round opening. If it’s forced, it’ll never be your best. Your best should flow naturally; you should always look forward to working on your painting, this is where your best will stem from.
Any ArtRage specific tips?
If the paint seems to build up too thick with any of the brushes, simply add a new layer and lower the opacity of that layer for a more desired effect. This has a different effect than adjusting the “loading”.
Need an additional blend to certain areas of your painting? Use the airbrush tool instead of the palette or watercolor brush. It’ll create that nice gradient you seek in your blends.
Miss having the round Photoshop brush that builds as you paint? Try these settings for the airbrush:
Tilt Angle: 0%
Taper Length: 0%
Drip Spread: 0%
Would you recommend ArtRage for professional work?
Of course, I did a personal piece in ArtRage one time and a major TV Network contacted me wanting to license it for a scene on their series. That’s professional enough for me.