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Today we bring you an interview with talented Canadian digital artist Mostafa Nassar. His unique paintings feature a lot of dark and horror themes that he feels have endless possibilities. In out interview we discuss many topics ranging from the equipment he uses to why he decided to start painting. Be sure to check out this great interview.
Q Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you're from and how you got started in the field?
Hello I'm Mostafa Nassar, an electrical engineer and a self-taught artist. I have been interested in art since I was little and been doing digital art for 3 years. I started learning Photoshop when I first saw forums signatures and banners. I got hooked with doing signatures for a while until I stumbled on digital painting using "tablets". I experimented with Photoshop and Corel Painter because the brushes felt very organic and rich.
Q Your paintings cover a wide variety of unusual topics and almost no two paintings are the same. So where exactly do you fish for idea when you are looking to start a new illustration?
I get inspired mostly by the people in my life, listening to music and my own imagination. Almost all of my paintings have a story and they somewhat relate to my own personal experiences. I have always been a fan of "alternate realities" and video game bosses, so video games also inspire me at some point. I concentrate on challenging myself to draw a disturbing concept to any idea I have in mind, I believe it pushes my ideas to be different.
Q The majority of the paintings seen on your page could be classified under fantasy and horror, what exactly draws you to this specific genre of paintings?
I find fantasy/horror art to be a very open ended theme because everything and anything is possible, I have been a fan of witches, exorcism, and dark art which brought me into drawing fantasy and horror. I personally found dark art to be emotionally expressive and seeing a disturbing yet appealing painting feels very satisfying.
Q You definitely have a signature style to all of your paintings, do you believe it is important for designers to build this type of trend and follow it throughout their careers?
Before doing digital painting I tried photo manipulation and vexel art but didn't find myself progressing, being restricted by photos and solid shapes didn't cut it for me because my ideas are always changing. When I finally started painting I didn't have any defined style or basis to follow, I experimented with different brushes and different software until I found a painting "style" that didn't feel like doing "homework", to me using oil brushes in Corel Painter was my turning point.
Style is the artist identity and what defines ones artwork. But it is very misinterpreted by many young artists, having a "style" is not an excuse for an artist to stay in his comfort zone, but trying different themes and color schemes could help such artist to have a new and improved "style". Bottom line, the best way to discover an artist's inner style is to think outside the box.
Q "Disturbed" is a truly unique painting that you submitted for the latest Intrinsic Nature Experiment, could you walk us through the idea of this illustration and how you created it?
Oh I was afraid you're going to ask me that, well this piece is very personal but I'll share some of the insight behind it. I wanted to express that any exterior emotion is a disturbance to the overall "balance", be it good or bad disturbance.
A heart simulated by a demon was exactly image I was going for, it started as a normal heart, then the demon started taking over, then the dark aura is the "disturbance" is the resulting after effect. I used oil brushes to do that "painterly" effect, I followed a heart diagram just to draw the proportions correctly, once I got all the basic shapes in I started blocking in my shadows and detailing (which took the major portion in producing this piece).
Q All digital painters use a tablet, so break down your set up for us. Also, why do you prefer your tablet to all others?
I use a Medium Wacom Intuos 2 with Corel Painter X and Photoshop 7.0, I'm not planning to upgrade yet since the difference in the new model seems very insignificant to me. I prefer a Wacom over any other tablet just because the pen feels very light and the nibs are very robust (I have only changed 2 nibs in the past 4 years).
Q Who would you say are your "heroes" in the design field? And why do you look up to them?
Tiziano Vecelli aka "Titan" is my all-time favorite, his art is very expressive (especially his latest paintings) which up to this day are being taught in many art schools. I like how he expresses moods in his body language and color pallets.
Bobby Chiu, is a Canadian artist and has been an inspiration and the reason I kept doing digital art till this day, his video logs and painting sessions on Youtube are very motivating and inspiring, plus his art is very innocent and fresh.
Q Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thanks for the interview, it was a pleasure. My advice the reader is to keep experimenting as much as you can and always push yourself to the limit.