As soon as I heard Massive Black was to do a dvd with Donato Giancola I put it in my wish list, "why? after all you don't paint in oils yet Teresa" well, the main reason is that I've been a diehard fan of Donato for years, notice how I call him by name, and second because it happens that the only other dvd about oils I have was made by Massive Black too, featuring another of my idols, and judging by it I could tell that the amount of knowledge dropped into this one would be enormous even if it would only have a 10% of the Dan Dos Santos one, and I wasn't wrong!
What you get inside this DVD box is 2 dvds filled with 5 hours in the studio of Donato Giancola extraordinare, up close and personal, creating The Mechanic from start to finish:
What I've always loved about Donato's works is that he paints like the old masters, he's a classic master embodied in a current 21th century painter, so I was looking forward to see how he paints skin, as if it were a chance of peeking over Rembrandt, Rubens, or Michael Angelo's shoulders, if you don't believe me is that you've never seen his works. Check Faramir at Osgiliath or The Battle of Agincourt or Elegy for Darkness-The Lady of Shalott if you don't trust me.
That was my main expectation, to be able to see him rendering skin and talking about how it's done to get that kind of finish, I must say I was a bit disappointed when I found that the demo would be a sci-fi illustration instead of fantasy, maybe because I relate him so much to the classics and sci-fi didn't click for me for the one and only Giancola's workshop I'd get.
Well, I couldn't be more wrong, whoever made the decision nailed it because there's a bit of everything, not only skin but a spacesuit that equals any armor demo, machinery - in case your metal needs weren't fulfilled by the spacesuit - and a galaxy, enough technique insight to your heart content.
Being a bit more specific what you can expect to get from this dvd is:
- Preliminary work, one of the things I love in the 2 dvds I have on oils is that they didn't stick to show oil techniques, there's a lot of information about a lot of other stuff, in this case starting with a talk about the concept sketches or a whole photography session with a model and objects in the studio so you can see how and why it's done.
- Beginning of the painting process, or should I say the drawing process, from start to finish, how all the drawing is made, materials, influences, adjustments made from the concept sketches and an explanation why every decision was made. Drop in some talk about his influences and the old masters and you have a happy Teresa, it's great to hear someone talk about the classics knowing he obviously knows what he's talking about, it's so evident that Giancola has studied in depth the old masters works that you can't help to smile while hearing him talk about them, you can feel the enthusiasm and admiration.
- Mounting process of the final drawing, getting ready to paint.
- And the oils workshop per se begins, I was surprised of the amount of medium he uses because my only reference was Dos Santos and you can tell it's completely different, don't ask me which one is more often used, I have no idea, the only thing I can say is that both of them seem to work for their users and I've always been a true believer in Whatever Works so... Well, he starts with the galaxy, a deep analysis of how he makes it and why, and how many failures it took him to get to do them the way he does them now, then begins the rest of the background (and finish it after painting the foreground). After that he goes to the flesh, I was drooling too much at this point to be coherent writing about it, perfection, the way he blends is perfection, also he talked about different pigments and how they react and why he uses them. Then he begins an analysis on metal, how it reflects it's surrounding and the light and how to make it believable and paints the upper spacesuit making some changes to the base drawing as he goes on. After that come the parts of the spacesuit that are not around the focal point and the machinery with some more talk about the old masters and how he used to go to the museum to copy them (with examples!) while he was talking about editing out information in some areas.
Here's a promo:
13 hours ago