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Renowned artist Bert Monroy is known for his hyperrealistic style of extremely large format Photoshop illustrations. As an early adopter of digital imaging tools, he has been working with Photoshop since before it was released as a product by Adobe. He is the author of several books that showcase his illustrations and digital paintings, co-authored the very first book about Photoshop, and has authored numerous courses on photorealism for lynda.com. He is the former host of the long-running podcast Pixel Perfect with Bert Monroy, and an inductee of the Photoshop Hall of Fame. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside the home studio and the personal world of this modern-day master. Watch as Bert adds the finishing touches to his largest digital image yet, a 25-foot wide digital illustration of New York's Times Square.
In Bonus Features, Bert talks about the differences between digital and traditional art and how he chooses reference material for his paintings.
(Music playing.) So we are here at one of the sites of one of my paintings. It's Spenger's Fish Grotto, which is a landmark here in Berkeley, and when I got the inspiration I was basically driving down the street right here. It was one of those autumn days when the sun is a bright orange, and the white of the building was being bathed in this orange light.
So it actually looked like it was an orange-colored building. I was in my car. I couldn't actually take the shot at the time. I came back later to do my photo studies. But it was just this color, and the intensity of the shadows that just caught my eye, and it was just so beautiful And I had eaten here many times before, but I never was inspired to painting it until that one moment, because the light was just right, the shadows were just right, and the inspiration hit me, and I said, "Here is a painting." A lot of people will say to me, 'Well, I can't draw. I can't draw a straight line.' Well, the beauty of the computer is that by holding down the Shift key and the Line tool, you automatically get a straight line.
You don't have to worry to being able to draw a straight line. I tell people that because they look at my work, and they say, 'Oh, I can never do that kind of stuff.' They don't have to do my kind of stuff. You don't have to be able to draw to be creative. You don't have to go in there and suddenly create something that looks like a photograph. I said, "Art is not something that's structured in a certain way. It's a feeling that you feel inside." You have the Richard Estes who does the photorealism, and you have a Jackson Pollock who just throws a lot of paint and stirs emotions by doing that.
Art is a personal thing. I don't do my paintings for other people. If I did, I won't be doing rusty, old bar signs. I would be doing nice, little floral arrangements with little fruit baskets and stuff. I do things that I feel, things that I want to do. And that's what I want to encourage other people to do is to do what they feel, what makes them feel good and not feel that they have to make it look perfect. No. It doesn't have to do anything. So you don't really have to be able to draw. You just have to be able to express yourself, and however you do it is fine.
I mean, a child finds a tremendous joy in drawing a stick figure. He knows what it is. 'Look, there's mommy.' He knows. The adult will say, 'Well, that doesn't look like me,' but the child will say, 'That's you. Look, that's you.' He felt it. That child felt that thing, and he just had fun drawing that little stick figure. It's not important that they couldn't draw. That child doesn't get frustrated because they can't draw. They are just very freely going in there and doing something. We should find that little child inside of us that just does something just for the sake of it, just because it makes us feel good and because it's fun doing it, and not get ready to criticize and say, 'Oh, nobody else is going to like that.' I used to do that a lot when I used to work traditionally.
I used to do a lot of things that never saw the light of day. People never saw them because they didn't look good to me, and that was very frustrating to me. It wasn't until a long time later that I realized that it doesn't have to look good to anybody. It doesn't even have to look good to me. I just had fun doing it, and that's what's important. The fact that I was being creative, letting go, and just going in there and drawing something. If it wasn't perfect, it didn't matter. I wasn't looking for perfection. There was no such thing as perfection. I wasn't looking for it. I was just looking to spend a little time being creative, and letting loose, and doing something that I like to do.
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