Meet the Artist: Nicolas Bouvier (AKA Sparth)

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  06 June 2005
tinitus: wow...fantastic work you've done there!

Where are you getting the ideas of your artwork?!

- from my education and culture.
- from my surrounding world
- from uncommon people and objects
- from my favorite artists and friends
- from the games i play
- from the movies i watch

- for personal concepts, the range is very large. space, anticipation, epic, post apocalyptic,
anything goes.
- in the professional field, the concept artist is here in order to help and emphasize the vision of someone else by sharing his own input.
in this case, the inspiration comes mostly from resources available in the project's database.
sparth construct
  06 June 2005
conundrum: 1. You seem to only use warm colours in your work, is this just personal preference or is there another reason behind it?

- something keeps me from using only cold tones for my illustrations.
maybe it comes from the fact that the eye, in many cases, is more attracted by warm tones than colder ones. actually, when working, i happen to catch the same tones very often. like if you were mixing colors together, and that your subconscious would tell you to add the exact same amount of your favorite colors.
now i am satisfied because i have the feeling to have understood several ways of mixing colors together and obtain what i like. but the challenge has just begun, as i wouldn't want to get stuck in the same process for too long. i have entire worlds to explore yet.

2. Also, your work always has an impressionist quality to it, with very few unnecessary details, because of this, your paintings very rarely seem to be overworked. At times are you conscious of trying to acheive this looseness, or is it something which always comes naturally?

- i am conscious that if you try by several means, to overdetail a piece, you might ruin it for good.
the trick is to add details if your scene needs them, but without loosing the nervous aspect of the image. a way to do so would be to divide by 9 your illustration, and then consider that each extract is now a new image, that you can improve by adding details. there's a limit to it, as impressionism is about vibration, but it can help doing so in some situations.

there is a simple theory that can also be applied: if you give too much to see to the eyes, in terms of outlines and detailing, you remove all the effort from the viewer. if you keep undefined areas in your paintings, in a way, it would be like asking the viewer to participate to the image, by using his own imagination. it is an important matter that must not be forgotten.
sparth construct
  06 June 2005
I'll just start off with one question (hey, I have to leave ideas for everyone else...)
What's your attitude towards color and do you use a color 'formula'? Do you reserve certain colors for certain moods- do you have a sort of color 'mood book' or something similar?
I ask because I see certain sets of colors cropping up in your work and t hey always work!
Aside from that, another instant fan here!
tayete: Sparth, I've been loving your work for a long time. My question is about your palette. You seem to always use the same brownish/reddish hues. Is it because you feel comfortable with it, something impossed from outside for your recent works, your current animic situation?...

- i probably reserve certain colors for certain moods for sure. i think that when you try to imagine a mood, logical colors connected to that particular mood comes to your mind for sure. spooky/cold tones sunny/orange ... without of course forgetting about the complementary colors.
- 'mood book', no, i'm not going that far. because by doing so you would probably add to much science to something that must first be felt with emotions. adding too much theory will not help you much, it would become a systematic process.
i sure have some sorts of formulas without even realizing it though. but there is not way to repeat the exact same process like a formula.
i do have a private texture bank that i often use in my images. textures that i have created myself containing a big amount of abstract stuff and materials, previously done paintings, and color pannels useful for my images.
finding the right atmosphere for an image is about doing a lot of testings and experimenting. multiple layers + layer properties ... try it, and you'll see that after a while, you'll be able to play with it like if you were playing piano, and you'll have a lot of fun.
sparth construct

Last edited by sparth : 06 June 2005 at 05:50 PM.
  06 June 2005
Instant fan here too

wassup man.
cool stuff. you make wonder if i'll ever get to where you are.
just some small time qtns
1. how long did it take you to do such cool stuff
2. i would wish to enter into the field of CG so wat softwares would advocate i start with
if you ever come to Africa, Kenya. i'll show you around

thanks man
  06 June 2005
Hi Sparth, I have loved your work for awhile you are my hero in the concept artist world and i'm hoping to one be as good as you.
Okay now I only got one question that I think has been asked before but who cares:

Are you thinking of making more tutorias or 'Artistic Process', I hope you will.

I gave a PM on about a month ago but i didn't get an answer, maybe
you didn't see it so i'll ask you know.(This Is about the tut thing...)

I was just wondering if you have ever considered a video tut, just a small demo in normal speed and parts or daster spped if you would like that better, if you might think of doing
this someday the use CAMSTASIA STUDIO search for It at google, or follow this link:

  06 June 2005
Hi sparth,

Its allways a pleasure watching your artworks. I very much adore the design. Things look very technical without loosing the overall shape which defines what the objects supposed to be. I love that


-Your images at first view seem to be very detailed but they often contain loose but precise placed brush strokes. I allways try not to zoom in but I must recognize that I often get entangeled into some areas loosing track of the composition. Do you have any hints to prevent getting to much into the details during working on an image?

-will there be a gnomon dvd available of sparth scetching techniques in future?
Why I ask? Because at least Im just curious to watch a photoshop user painting environments without rotating the canvas for example.

best regards
  06 June 2005

I am Peter, Do you have a personal website? I want to see more your concept art?

from Peter
  06 June 2005
Hi Sparth, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. I've just got a quick question about layers. How much layers, for example, did you use for this image? And what is your overall layer strategy? Thanks
  06 June 2005
I hope Leigh won't kill me for this

Hello, Sparth !

I have the feeling you might have missed my post and questions the first time,
so I hope I wont offend you or Leigh if I repost. If you didn't miss the post but only
found the questions irrelevant, then please excuse me for my attempt.


I'm always amazed by the forms, you use to build up your compositions, and characters. I can almost see how they develope from dynamic brush strokes to finely detailed pieces.

Your work is always fresh, which I find really hard to pull off, with the warm subtle colors scheme you use. Just incredible!

The other thing I really like is the ingenius use of contrasting/complementary color stripes and dots. The blues and the really saturated oranges and reds. Jaw dropping sence of ballance and dynamic.

1. - Your armour and vehicle designs seem to draw a lot on natural froms, crabs and other insect like. Do you get alot of inspiration from nature ?

2. - Do you work in traditional media besides digital ? If so whats your favourite tool ? (chalk, pastel, oil,...)

3. - Do you use small thumbnails to get composition and tones right, or do you just jump in and overpaint if something is not in the right place ?

4. - I read an interview with you, on another CG site, where you talk about balancing work and family life. Could you give any advice for freelance artist, what to look out for, if they want to remain freelance, but still have a family ?

Great having you here !

The Dune covers are the best !!! Frank Herberts vision comes to life. Wish I had a copy of those editions.
  06 June 2005
Hello Sparth.
Amazing work u have done and thaks for all those educative answers.

Maybe i missed this question, but here it is:

Whats the most important things in concept desing?
exmp: is fotoreal paintingskill necessary, or how necessary is paintingskills at all?
(Feng Zhu vs Erik Tiemens..they both are conceptdesingers right...but same time their skills are very different)


Last edited by g-nome : 06 June 2005 at 09:21 AM.
  06 June 2005
Thanks for "passionate" answer.
I'm happy that I'm not the only that work in "envy mode"...
I thought that it's wrong, but, as u make me thinking, it's the right way. In fact we use every time an ispiration, from other artists, from nature, from our mind and experiences...It's not wrong if we use our brain.
And I must to use my personal window...
Thank u very much 4 your time, and your experience.

PS. nice work by your father...

| my demoreel on cgtalk | |

...... O L D F U T U R E d i g i t a l ......
  06 June 2005
You make great stuff Nicolas. Its hard to pass up the opportunity to get some answers out of you

Where do you think you need to grow more? (If at all)

How long did it take you to get a feel for the right colors, and lighting?

Thanks, and keep up the good stuff!
"Although all of this remains quite questionable"
[ Strange Behaviour ][ Sketchbook] [ Little Chicken ]
  06 June 2005
Hey Sparth, it's always a treat to see your sps on sijun, keep posting them...

Last edited by PBlades : 06 June 2005 at 09:51 PM.
  06 June 2005
micrypt: Are you ever going to put a tutorials section on your site? And what photoshop tools do you find yourself using the most?

- i really lack time in order to put more tuts on my site. i'll do my best.
within photoshop, i think i pretty much act like a traditional artist. adding layers when i need to complete a new "session". i rarely go backwards. if i do, i try to put an end to it as fast as i can in order to flatten layers and start on a new session.
each layers represents a session, bot at all a defined area or zone, or object. the image is seen as a whole. i never use the selection tool. except maybe in order to move or rotate parts of the image.
concerning the brushes, i really depends, as each brush is obviously having different parameters. generally speaking, my most regular brushes have the shape dynamics/size jitter on pen pressure. i rarely use the dual brush, mainly because the brush runs slower in larger sizes. however, i use the brush preset / texture parameter very often. having always several custom textures preloaded that will add definite effects to my brushes.
for extremely specific brushes (pattern brushes, trees, natural forms etc ...) i put the spacing parameter quite high, between 10 and 25%.
but for all my other regular brushes, i use a low spacing, between 3 and 4%.
i flip my canvas horizontally extremely often too, maybe every minute or so.
sparth construct
  06 June 2005
noob!: what programs do u use? painter/photoshop?
- photoshop only

how did u go about getting into the industry?
- things never happen at once, like a snap. it takes time. each year is a new adventure.
i think everything is already summed up in the bio on the first page concerning this matter.

thanx for your kind comment.
sparth construct
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