Meet the Artist: David Levy

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  06 June 2006
Originally Posted by vyle-art: MV>>
We should meet one day! I really enjoy your work, I am sure we would have lots to discuss!
Thanks for passing by!

Definitely maybe some day in Montreal

  06 June 2006
Wow, your art is amazing. See I am 13 and I wanna be a concept artist when I grow up. Can you answer these questions for me?

1) What is the hardest part of being a concept artist?
2) How do you draw (digitally or traditionally)?
3) If you do traditional art alot what are your tools?
4) Just wondering cause this is a question that keeps buzzing through my much are you paid from ubisoft for your concept art?

Last edited by CharmedFable : 06 June 2006 at 02:50 AM.
  06 June 2006
Since I'm not really a 2D artist, I don't have any questions, but I will say that your work is jaw dropping! very inspiring.
  06 June 2006

hi david how are you, love your work,
This question may come a little out of left field but i've been lucky/unlucky enough to be drawn up against Viag in the latest thunderdome, the other concept artist at work laughed his arse off when i got drawn up against one of you ubisoft boys in the first round

Anyways . . . my question has viag started yet his piece yet? haha coz i havent

Ubisoft publishes some of our games in europe, and both of the concept artists here are in the thunderdome, myself and bumskee/min.

Good luck with your future games and good luck to any of your team in the thunderdome


  06 June 2006
So who's the speediest speed painter amongst the Ubi guys (sparth included before he moved)?

To put it in another way, who usually finishes first when you do your lunchtime 3ch speeds.
  06 June 2006
Hi David. I really love your work. It's a big inspiration to me and many of my peers.

I was actually looking back at your site a day or two ago, so I thought it was kind of funny when I saw the "Meet the Artist" feature when I checked CGTalk today.

Anyways, ever since you posted your PoP3 concepts I couldn't help but assume that Ridley Scott's recent films have played a bit part of inspiration for some of the production paintings. Is there any truth to this? Also, did you work on the recently released concept art for Assassin's Creed? The lighting and atmosphere reminds me of "Kingdom of Heaven". Good luck with everything!
  06 June 2006
Hm, name rings a bell... didnt you once work at Bits Studio in London? Or is that another David Levy?! You've gone a long way if that is the case!

Great work, by the way!
  06 June 2006
Hi, Mr. David. Most of the questions I wanted to ask has already been asked so I just want to say how I love your work.
I've never played any Prince of Persia before, but when I first saw The Two Thrones artwork on Gamespot I was swept. It was totally awesome! I really admire your work and wish I could be as good as you someday (I'm still practising now)
  06 June 2006
Thanks for your time mister Vyle!

I really love your stuff, great atmosphere and everything! I live in the Netherlands and I hope to get as good as you are, it's just that I don't really know what school to go to now.

- Does the academy in Maastricht teach the basics you were talking about (like anatomy, composition etc.) or is it all just about expression and arty art? I'm studying by myself now, but I think a good art school would be a nice idea. It's just that I can't seem to find a school that also teaches these important basics.
I was almost thinking about finding a school outside the Netherlands, but now that I see you went to the Netherlands I'm starting to doubt more and more.

- Oh and do you do mostly game concepts or also many side projects, and is there any difference (in the kind of project) between art you do at work or at home?

Keep it Up!
  06 June 2006
Hi Vyle,
I'm a former student from EID in Toulon (la tour H forever yeah!), and I see that you spent a nice time there. Of course there are sun,sea and...other stuffs, but what did that school bring you? I remember too that industrial design, with Pantone feltip pen, is not necessarily artistic; when you just have to design a car or a garbage, you don't really have to care about lights,atmosphere, feelings. Therefore, your work is amazingly creative. What influenced you at this moment, was it thanks to your teacher, to Gaston(), to your classmates?I guess that competitiveness between classmates helped a lot too.
I've seen that you knew Barontieri there, and personally I knew there a lot of very talentful people ; it is amazing to see that such a little and not much well-known school has produced some great talents - some of my former classmates made successful studies in great animation and design schools too.

Thank you for your time, hope I didn't annoy you with my little "nostalgia" speech!
Anatomy Thread

BLOG : Agou's blog
  06 June 2006
Hiya David, Rudy here, what's up

I kind of was wondering why you chose to attend the academy in Maastricht.
Was it your first choice? or did you also check out other dutch schools like let's say an academy in Amsterdam? if so do you think there's a big difference between these schools educational wise?

Have fun at the CA workshop and Gnomon, hope to see you and Thierry later this year


  06 June 2006
Hey David,

Congrats on your exposure! Looks like you made the right career move switching over to Ubisoft. We'll miss you here in Dallas my friend!

Also wanted to say, that even though I'm a lowly 3D guy, you're painting style really makes digital painting look like a lot of fun. You make it look like there is so much you can do with the different media. I'm quite envious sir!


CGNUGGETS - character process training
  06 June 2006
this is going fast! I will try to answer as fast and thoroughly as possible!

- The academy in Maastricht does teach those basics (at least it used to 10 years ago ). I especially remember having met there an amazing anatomy teacher (but can't remember his name), a dutch interior architect, and also an excellent sculpture teacher. Those guys had a great influence on me. The degree I did over there (interior architecture ) was fairly technical, and not "arty art" like you mention. And eventhough you do not learn only how to use paint as much as to do technical drawings it teaches you something even more important: structure in your train of thought. The same goes with industrial design.This knowledge will even help you in more "destructured designs" anyway. The more you know about structure, the easier it is to destroy it.

- Nevertheless, if you feel like you need to move, it might be that you have a thirst to see other things, and at that point, you should follow your desires! Go and visit the world!

- The work I do at home and the one at my day job, is VERY different. At home, it is more like a relaxing and freestyle desire that drives me. Sometimes I don't even know where I am going until I see something appear on the digital canvas. Almost like automatic writing I guess.

HEY ! A Tourrachien! No probleme with nostalgia, I miss la Tour H a lot :( if only I had a second to go there and say hi, I would...
- EID brought me the best basics I could dream of: a strong analysis of problems, and the technique to find ways to answer those. Gaston is probably THE teacher that made who I am today (alongside with Roger Barcilon that I met 10 years later and who taught me painting and colors and who directs Gemini's art school in Austin now). I remember very well the exercise that made me realise 13 years ago that I would do what I do forever. We had to draw a small object on a huge sheet of paper using a pencil. I choose a Key, and it took me 4 weeks to finish it I think... But during the process I understood one simple thing: once you do what you love, work is not an issue anymore since it is driven by passion.

- Classmates and teachers are a plus, competitiveness is stupid I think, at least under the same roof. It will create discord and hate. Competition should be as a team against other schools, or companies, not within friends. Unless it stays friendly, but it does not last forever.
That is one issue with most art schools: they teach you how to get good, but they don't teach you how to work in a team environment. They tend to create self centered people, which is the opposite of what is necessary in a production.Teamwork is hugely underated, and that's what destroys most companies.

- When you design a garbage can and a car, I still think you are trying to convey an EMOTION. Shapes and colors influence us even in the most recluse depth of our subconscious. And in the end, that's one of the goals of the industrial designer: get an object to unconsciously communicate to the user. Emotions drives each and everyone of us every day, more or less depending on the people.

Yep that was me! Did you use to work there too?? I wonder how foo is doing these days.

Great choice, concept art is a great job!
1) What is the hardest part of being a concept artist?
When producers think they can do your job.

2) How do you draw (digitally or traditionally)?
Both, I love to vary my tools as much as possible. Nevertheless in a production environment I stick to digital because of its speed and easy access to the rest of the team.

3) If you do traditional art alot what are your tools?
When I do figure drawing I use: recycled paper, with a double tip black marker, and a white corrector. If I do illustrations I use acryl. I usually warm up with black chalk.

4) Just wondering cause this is a question that keeps buzzing through my much are you paid from ubisoft for your concept art?
Can't answer this one sorry Let's say that your experience plays a lot in the balance.

Maytridy, theghostdragon, Pegahoul>> thanks!

1> I usually paint directly with colors, I experimented with black and white, and it's not for me. I prefer the depth in material that color layering offers. And it takes me more time to recolor a picture than starting with color. I have seen many other artists who prefer the other technique though.
2> on huge environments, I usually zoom in and out very often when I work, and also use the photoshop navigator, it helps keep track of the overall lighting. Also, once in a while, I do a copy of the image, and turn it black and white to redirect my focus.
3> On job assignments I use a LOT of 3D, it is much easier when I need to do many view of one area, and keep the right proportions.
4> the video is there
I hope it is ok to post it here.

Koppa> I can't disclose if Viag started his pic yet I have to ask him first :P

Pinoy McGee>> It depends on the day! We all have ups and downs, and we are more racing against the clock than each other It's more a fun thing than a contest.Lately, we actually have even more fun doing team attacks than single illustrator speedpaintings. We noticed that collaborating on one pic, is much more fun! That's what we will do in L.A at the gnomon workshop in June.

robincho>> Ridley Scott has always had a huge influence on me, as many other directors. Assassin's creed definitely has a lot of Mr's Scott's influence, as Nicolas Cantin, the art director on the project loves his stuff too. I have to say that thanks to him, the team managed to lock down a look on such a demanding next-gen platforms. My hat's off to Assassin's art and programmers team, amazing job.

Rudy>> Hey rudy!Wassup! For this year, give us a date and we'll be there. June was just too hectic!
I chose Maastricht, because they had agreements with my school in France. Our school had welcome some of their students, and so they decided some frenchies should come and visit too!

Hey Jesse!>> Funny how I am meeting more people here than anywhere else It's a small world! I miss Texas a lot, especially the heat! Winter was kinda tough in Montreal for a southerner like me! But you are right, it was definitely a good career move... You can't have everything in life...
When it comes to 2D, I sincerely think that what I am doing is just "emulating" 3D using 2D tools. Once the 3D tools are as flexible as the 2D ones, we will all be free !
Hi to your Dallas crew at greengrass!

Last edited by vyle-art : 06 June 2006 at 02:00 PM.
  06 June 2006
Hi David! or Vyle, which ever you want to be addressed as on these boards.

I got a question that came from an interview you did on CGC, which you have probably explained before, which I apologize in advance

i will start it off by showing this quote:
Quote: David: I think it gives a huge advantage, for various reasons. First of all, doing concept art is more the ability to solve complex problems than really being a good illustrator. You have to keep in mind many parameters (lighting, colors, composition...) and be able to mix them together to make sure the art director gets the results he needs. Maybe including and industrial design course in modern entertainment school would be perfect. Few schools already do that in LA and thanks to teachers like Scott Robertson for example. I sincerely think he is a pioneer when it comes to teaching entertainment.

CGC: Other courses you'd recommend other than Industrial Design?

David: Filming / photography and also sculpting.

Now I find these qualifications irregular, I would have thought some form of art qualification would be recommended. Well, i am going into a degree course in september which allows me to join two subjects together, which I chose Painting/Drawing AND Graphics. I thought this would be perfect because I could learn all the art basics and more through the first one and learn new techniques and styles through the computer all in one course. Would this type of course be suited to CD also? I know it neglects the composition parts of filming/photos and it doesnt give you an overall knowledge of the netertainment busines, but it does give me the skills to create images and to think up all new ideas. Please try to clear this up for me, thanks!
Anatomy Thread of Rist

  06 June 2006
Good question,
The best creations come from high contrasts balanced in a subtle way. If your education is very linear: ilustration+illustration+illustration... You will not be as flexible as if you had two very different (but complementary obviously) courses.
The more abilities you have under your belt, the more flexible (hence creative) you will be.
Learning how to film using film and video, taught me more about painting than I would have ever thought. Not only that, but it taught me how to tell stories. Whether it is about exposure curves, or choosing an angle for a scene, anything's good to learn.
Concept art is not only illustrations, it is more like directing a movie: you have to sometimes be a costume designer, prop designer, lighting artist, shader designer, architect.... And it changes every day!

Last edited by vyle-art : 06 June 2006 at 03:53 PM.
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