Dave Rapoza's Monster Portrait Painting

This article was taken from the July 2010 issue of ImagineFX magazine. Be the first to read ImagineFX articles in print before they're posted online and get your hands on loads of additional DVD content by subscribing. Visit our shop for more options.


Monster in the mirror

"I’ve always been a fan of artists who could render realistic monsters. So when I got serious about art, one of my goals was to bring my own creatures to life. A lot of people who are starting out tend just to pull information from their heads and forget how crucial research is. All my creatures are grounded in reality, which is important when you’re working on unreal creatures. You need to have a good understanding of the fundamentals to bring your ideas to life successfully.

Shine a light

I’ll explain how I light and pose my character, and create movement. When I’m working on a piece like this, I collect reference materials and keep a mirror nearby. It’s crucial that I introduce life into my characters, and if I’m ever stuck on something, I try to solve the problem immediately. So if I’m having trouble with teeth, I go and get some reference, rather than just fiddling around. If you’ve never done a study of teeth, chances are you won’t be able to pull them from your imagination. I don’t mean you should follow reference sources completely. Instead, study from life and then memorise how the things look, so you’re less likely to run into trouble later on.


Dave Rapoza
Country: US
Dave is a full-time freelance
artist. He spent a lot of time
drawing while he was growing
up, but only started taking
it seriously a few years ago.


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