Corel Painter Master - Ryan Church

Name: Ryan Church
Occupation/Profession: Concept artist
Location: California


Ryan Church is one of the leading concept artists working today. He has taught Entertainment Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked with clients like Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Studios, Industrial Light and Magic, and Lucasfilm.

Ryan served as a Concept Design Supervisor for Star Wars: Episode III and a Senior Art Director at ILM. Ever since he was introduced to version 5.5 while working at ILM in 1998, Ryan has been using Painter™ as his primary creative tool.

Trained traditionally and having once vowed to “never use a computer to paint,” Ryan now works completely in the digital realm to realize his designs and illustrations. Ryan says, “Sitting at a fast computer with a large monitor and a large Wacom tablet running Painter is as close as I've ever gotten to the seamless transmission of my mind's idea to the page.”

For more information:

Says Ryan Church:
Before beginning a concept sketch or painting for a movie, I work with the director and review the script for that particular scene. In the case of this image, the scene is an air battle. To create this scene two-dimensionally, I needed to do research on actual aircraft in order to understand their construction, their main features required for flying, their markings, their materials, and their reflective properties. All of this research helps me create fictional aircraft based on something known and understood.

In this particular battle scene, I have painted air combat ships fighting across a night sky. In the final composition, the eye moves from left to right with a large aircraft in the foreground contrasted against the light of the background and the rocket exhaust. It becomes evident as your eye moves across the frame that this larger ship is closing in on a smaller ship, which is itself chasing three other planes further on ahead in the painting. I used smoke and condensation trails (contrails), as well as the light from the rocket ship in the foreground, to move the eye quickly from left to right as the scene unfolds. It is important in any composition to have a foreground, a middle ground and a background. In this particular scene, the middle ground depicts large airships in strong one-point perspective. They were placed along the perspective line to draw the eye in and across, but also to create a sense of depth and space. The background draws you in further, where you see another large airship and some carefully arranged ground details. This is my favorite type of painting—one that faithfully depicts in detail the aircraft's design but also illustrates the illusion of speed across a motionless frame.