There’s a type of artists who firmly stick to their own style, think a couple of steps ahead with their works, and manage to grab attention from those not interested in art at all. 

Tithi Luadthong (grandfailure at Depositphotos) is one of those creatives. His sci-fi inspired digital illustrations are in line with one of the 2020 major Visual Trends – Neon Dystopia. What’s even more impressive, Tithi’s works translate dystopian vibes and feature real landscapes at the same time. 

How the artist manages to combine present and future with his illustrations, where does he draw inspiration from, and how does his workflow look like? Find out about all these things in our interview with Tithi Luadthong. 

Tithi Luadthong on digital illustration, sci-fi inspiration, and the creative workflow

On illustration as a hobby and a job

Drawing was my hobby since childhood. In my free time, I enjoyed drawing cartoons from comic books. As a teenager, I studied subjects related to art and design. After I graduated, I started working with interior watercolor rendering. I also practiced my skills in sketching, watercolor and ink painting for quite a long time. 

Photoshop has introduced me to digital painting. There was no need to buy all the equipment: paper, colors, brushes, and airbrushes. Everything happened in one program. 

As my interest in digital painting grew, I practiced more and looked for inspiration on the internet. I realized that the limits of painting aren’t just on paper anymore. I fell in love with digital painting and have been practicing it continuously ever since.

I didn’t want to copy images from the internet and photography became a way of finding references. When I had a chance to travel I would always take photographs of the location for sketching. 

Later, I found out about stock photography platforms from a friend who suggested that I sell the pictures I sketched. At first, I wasn’t interested or hopeful because I thought these platforms were better suited to graphic designers and photographers. My main goal was just to show my skills to other people. 

 futuristic city

A while after, people started buying my works through various platforms, it made me feel good and I considered getting into the business seriously. 

On the creative workflow

I am a full-time interior illustrator and my work is digital painting. Every step is done on the computer.

At first, I took my old photographs and turned them into graphics. At the moment, I am trying to make sure that all these landscape works have a story. Sometimes I make them look more sci-fi, horror, or fantasy, and put in the main object such as people or animals. It makes the landscape become just a background that sets the atmosphere of the work.

Creating work for customers needs sketching skills too, as you have to present them with a rough idea. You also need to think quickly to revise your work in response, drawing from the customer’s perspective and making the work appealing to them first and foremost.

However, when working with customers, creativity is quite limited because you’re limited by strict instructions. It’s quite challenging and helps me develop my skills continuously. The good thing is that I get to see new perspectives, ideas, and techniques that I can use next time.

Sketching in my free time has no boundaries. I draw immediately without making a sketch and include anything I want to.

The female robot

 

On sci-fi inspiration from movies, books, and games

I like watching sci-fi movies. They are full of ideas about technology, objects, buildings, and robots. Each background has complex details. I think that seeing things that are different from the modern world is always fun and exciting. 

When I see something interesting such as miniature people, giant animals, hi-tech things, torn roads, red clouds, green sunlight, or floating trees, I write it down as a keyword. I save everything in a database that I always keep at hand. The more you look at different media, the more ideas you get.

I look at works of artists I’m interested in on Artstation, Deviantart, Pinterest, and locations that I travel to for inspiration. My art is also influenced by a range of sci-fi books, movies, and games. 

Movies: Matrix, Terminator, Bladerunner, Madmax, Upgrade, Godzilla.

Comics: Akira, Blame!, Evangelion, Zetman.

Games: Metalgear, Badland, Resident evil, Silent hill.

 

On the meaning behind illustrations from the Depositphotos portfolio

Actually, I like almost every picture in my portfolio. If I really had to choose it would probably be this one:

digital art

This picture depicts a single boy rowing to another world and while traveling, seeing stars like this in the sky. I first got the idea from the movie “Interstellar”. I also like photos with long exposure of stars because it can’t happen in real life. 

The image with sci-fi screens illustrates the near future. I imagine that our work desks will be filled with lots of tangled hardware, high-tech equipment, and multiple monitors. All in a stuffy, dark room with no windows opened, only neon lights. Working at a desk for 20 hours and another 4 hours for sleeping. Offices in the future will probably look like this.

 

On developing a signature style and approach to illustration

I’ve drawn in many styles and genres before – both fun and boring. However, when I started focusing on what I’m drawing and having fun with it all day without being bored – I realized that I have found my signature style. 

After that, I practiced by drawing in it even more often to help develop my skills further. That being said, you should also find works of other artists that you like and try to get inspired and creative. For me, creativity is all about expressing ideas, creating new things that come from you but at the same time benefit other people.

See artist's portfolio

people walking through a desert

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