Could you tell us something about yourself?
I'm julian from Amsterdam. I'm 18 years old. I'm planning on studying graphic design next year.
How and when did you find out about vexels?
I've been making vexels for about a year and a half now. When I first visited DA I saw all these amazing digipaints and I was heavily impressed. Back then, I didn't even know that some of those were actually vexels & vectors hah.
At first sight, I really liked the layered style. It reminded me of Asian woodprints, Russian posters, GTA and french impressionism. 4 Things I love. I immediatly wanted to try it out haha.
The result was a monkey vexel, it's still in my gallery. For a first vexel i was pretty happy with it
Are there any vexel projects you're currently working on?
Yes m'am! Lately I've been feeling very inspired, and I've got a lot of ideas flowing through my head! I'm going to submit a lot of pieces to the digital art collective I'm currently a part of; Cosmosys. So... they can't be released to public just yet, but I can say the stuff I've been working on lately are pieces I'm very happy with. Maybe my best series to date
I'm currently experimenting with the tought process that leads to a piece. I am using a Dreams-Notebook at the moment. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I quickly write down what I've dreamt.
The upcoming pieces I'll make will consist of stuff that happened in my dreams.
Since you have some vectors in your gallery as well do you find yourself more as a vexel or vector artist? Which one do you like working with more?
I'm definatively a vexeler.
A while ago I tried using illustrator in combination with photoshop. I found it too much of a hassle to learn an entire new program for my art, because I had really accostumed myself with the photoshop pentool. It's quite different. All these little tricks you learn after alot of vexeling in photoshop aren't usable in illustrator, so I just decided to stick with photoshop.
Besides, I've been developing a style of creating vexels that uses photoshop-only options. Blending modes for example. I also never really used vector masks in photoshop. After I create a pentool shape, I prefer the "fill path" option.
I've also been doing other styles, like using 3d models in my work. I've been trying to mix these styles lately, and it's much easier in ps.
Vexels also have softer outlines than vectors, which tend to be very crisp and sharp. I really like the softness of vexels. It complements the style I'm currently working on.
So yeah, Vexeling for life
Did making vexels help you somehow in your school/job projects?
Being good in photoshop opens up some paths @ school and in social life yeah making posters or small stuff for your friends or school projects is always pretty cool.
Vexels in particular are what helped me get good grades in drawing. My teacher liked them alot haha .
Vexels were also a way for me to get relatively cheap birthday presents for close friends. I made some vexels with them in it for them hah.
How would you describe your style?
I started out like most vexelers. Vexeling a photo like a draw-over painting. But a while back I started experimenting more. Started to vexel scenes with less references and put time in combining elements. It's much more fun. I love dreamy / surreal art, so that's the direction I'm going. I've been experimenting with different types of shading and colouring as of late, and it is really bringing back the "impressionism" I mentioned before. I don't like sticking to one style though, I try to do something new in every single piece I make.
Are there any artists you look up to?
Monet and di Chirico are great artists. Probably my all time favourite painters.
I also adore limkis her work. When I started experimenting more with vexeling, some friends pointed out that it reminded them of her work, so I checked her stuff out, and it's pretty awesome From then on, I've been trying to differentiate my style from hers, because I don't like it when people are saying I'm copying stuff, when I'm trying to be original.
What inspires you?
If I knew the answer to that question I would be rich right now hah.
Though I can say music is my main inspiration. I always have music coming out of my speakers, always.
I find music taste very important. Never liked mainstream music, and I've always searched for underground music / classics, because it sounds so much better. It's got soul.
Besides music; meditating, nature, movies and being wasted at 2:00 AM hah.
Are there any vexels in your gallery that you like the most? If yes, could you tell us why they are so important to you?
This is my favourite piece due date. It's when I started experimenting more with vexeling. I've put hours of work in that one. Most of it was thinking. I'm so happy with it because it turned out actually how I wanted it to turn out back then. Clean, dreamy and.. bringing across the message off Pink Floyd's the wall.
My Technically best vexel due date is probably the one I'm currently working on. So, my number 1 piece right now is probably either this:
or this one:
Any tips for people who have just began their journey with vexel art?
- All art is about creativety, patience and willpower. Vexeling requires more patience and willpower than other styles of art. Mostly you start vexeling the main part of your piece. For Example the face. I know a lot of people that made a great vexel of the face, and got so bored they rushed the hair and the background, or didn't even do those at all. So yeah, when you're a new vexelarian, always be patient and keep working. don't rush things. have the willpower to actually finish your pieces.
- When using photo reference: don't use posterize. It takes the general levels of the ENTIRE photo. If the background is light and has a green colour, it will automatically distort the levels and the colours in the rest of the picture. Basicly it causes you to pick unnatural colours and more detailled parts (like the eyes, nose and mouth) look weird. Parts with higher contrast also look ugly if you trace them over from posterize. Always work from the original picture. It's harder, but well worth the effort.
- Practice your weaknesses.
This goes for all facets of art styles I guess, but still do it anyway.
Keep making eyes that look like watermelons/horses? Well, practice on eyes.
- Don't make hyperrealistic vexels. What is the point of taking a photograph, vexeling million layers over it till it looks like a photo again? (no offense to those who are great at this, I friggin envy your skill).
Vexeling imo is like impressionism. Making realistic scenes unrealistic, in order to increase the beauty of the art over the beauty of reality. So make sure the different layers are visible.
- Experiment. Try different vexel styles. Break your boundaries.
- Sometimes lower the opacity (for example a pure white shape on 10% opacity for a highlight)
- Sometimes use blending modes (for example a pure orange shape on multiply for shadowing)
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
Every self-conscious digital artist that calls himself/herself a digital artist should have tried making a vexel/vector. If you haven't, go try it out, it's really fun
Nothing as relaxing and statisfying as waking up one morning, watching the sun rise, sipping that last bit of coffee and laying the final vexel layer.