Can you guess which one is my version? Have a look, and you can find out if you were right down below.

If you don’t know already, I have a contemporary art / fine art background, and have been making digital art starting around 20 years ago. I’ve given up on the contemporary art world, and am moving more into digital painting. I’m trying to learn the industry techniques of illustrators to add to my own styles and techniques, and come of with some sort of unique hybrid.

Aaron Blaise has a ton of online art and digital art courses, and I just completed his Digital Painting course. You aren’t really expected to replicate the alien. It’s a demo, and you just observe and take note of the techniques. I’m a bit of a stickler though, and I have to do things to really pick them up, and even now I’ve got to keep my PS file as a reference to remember all the steps.

I did an earlier blog post about how I approach tutorials when I finished Andrew Hou’s digital painting course, and this is kinda’ it. I just duplicate the whole process as best I can, and then hope to integrate it into my own work later.

Mine’s on the left here, and Andres Hou’s is only blurry because it’s a screen capture on my part.

Some artists don’t like to do this sort of thing, and they get spectacular results, but I’m one for getting technical and doing whatever it takes to level up my game.  Sometimes I have to drag my feet and force myself to go through the work, but hopefully it’s worth it. Aaron’s style is much closer to my own than is Andrew’s, so it was a bit more fun to copy his alien (I do lots of aliens) than to do Andrew’s more cartoon-oriented approach. But both are exceptional teachers and their digital painting courses are solid.

Aaron Blaise worked for Disney for 20 years, I believe, and only switched to digital towards the end, and was very reluctant to do so. I also have a traditional background, and only taught myself Photoshop after I got my MFA. He does some aliens and other creatures, which are what I’m most interested in by him, but specializes in wild animals, particularly big cats.

OK, my alien is on the right. Here’s the pair again:

Mine’s on the right.

I thought they were much more alike until I put them side by side. I’m working on one monitor, and never had the images together, but switched back and froth from his video to my own painting. I took some liberties, and there are so many variables it’s probably impossible to replicate his alien exactly. I also threw in a few of my own tricks.

[Note: If you looked closely at the images, Aaron signed his. I didn’t sign my copy because it’s a COPY, essentially. It’s not for sale or anything, and all credit for the design and technique goes to the original artist!]

I learned a lot more about secondary lighting, rim lighting, highlights, using texture, and depth of field. Andrew covered most of this is his course, but with a lot different emphasis, and I hadn’t nailed it down yet. Aaron’s my age, roughly, and he’s just an easy teacher for me to pick stuff up from. I’ve got some more of his tutorials I may work through.

But it’s time for me to make something new using the techniques I’ve been developing. Stay tuned.

~ Ends

7 replies on “Learning from Aaron Blaise

    1. Thanks! Color I’ve already got a good handle on, so I shine there. It’s the lighting and shading techniques I’m trying to improve at (secondary light, reflected light, rim light, specular highlights).


  1. Your version adds crispness, strength and a reddishness to the original. It’s fun to compare the two. If I had to choose (and I realize I don’t), I’d favor yours. It’s an ominously impactful image, yet somehow not quite terrifying, which makes it complex. Kind of flirtatious even? Hideously nice?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s not a fair contest, because he just did his as a demo that could fit in about 2.56 hours. I’m sure it took me twice as long to copy it, and then I threw in some of my own techniques, which you picked up on. I used a technique to sharpen the details, I changed to color away from yellow nad to red, and otherwise tweaked out the color usiong my photo-editing skills.

      I actually know things he doesn’t, despite his working for Disney and being a seasoned professional. But he definitely knows a lot I don’t, which is why I did his class.

      As for the expression. Well, you can date the artist out of Disney, but you can’t take Disney out of the artist. A lot of his work has a tinge of Disney animation about it. Not a bad thing, but, I think I lost that element while making my version (less of a sly smirk on mine).


  2. I had a feeling the alien on the right was yours, because its grin is so much wider and more mischievous (at least when viewed on my phone).

    Then I started to second-guess myself: “Wait, Eric is taking the class, so his alien can’t be better than the demo?”

    I wish, when doing art, I could get the final product to look as much like the image in my head as your alien looks like the demo alien.

    Liked by 1 person

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