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Home 3D The Art of Kassidi Keys (NSFW)

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Kassidi’s work is a mixture of light, shadow, female form, fantasy and vintage deco. Her dark, sensual style is reminiscent of the 20’s, 30’s & 40’s, only as it would look spotlighted through some sort of sparkly, futuristic looking glass.

I met Kassidi via DeviantArt and we share a mutual obsession/frustration with Poser. One of my personal favorites from her work is a series of nudes, done to the theme of the board game Clue.

What made you start creating digital art? Why do you do pin-up?

I come from a traditional background and work best when I can draw with reference models. For the longest time I drew based on personal photos, or photos of my friends- but after several years of doing that I was tired of drawing myself/buddies and didn’t particularly want to draw based on someone else’s photos, and since I didn’t have access to live models, I hit a slump. That’s when a fellow artist suggested that I grab a copy of Poser 5- so I could use it for my reference and always be guaranteed to get the exact pose and lighting I was looking for.

Once I started using Poser, it just seemed like the natural step to continue work in digital format rather than pose and render an image, print it out, and move over to my sketchpad and pencils- so I bought a tablet and went from there. Eventually, I stopped painting the image from the ground up, because using my poser render as a base saved me anywhere from 8-15 hours of painting right out of the gate- and that’s how I ended up working a combination of 3D render with digital paint. I also feel it should be noted that I got lucky in that Poser was in it’s early stages, and oh, the tearing, and horrible deformed faces that would come from Poser 5.. it forced me to do oceans of repair on the models to make them look human, much less “alluring” and that taught me just about everything I know about texture, lighting, and color matching that I still use today.

As far as why I work in pinups? I play to my strengths. When I worked in traditional I had a knack for anatomy. In day to day life, I think the human body is the most amazingly beautiful thing there is. In particular, hands, backs, and those gentle slopes and curves between major body parts. The female body is the most curvy of them all, so I gravitate towards that. I’ll tell you, though, 99% of my images? They aren’t about the nude at all. I never work on art unless I’ve got a problem to sort out and need some down time. The image may be a nude pinup, but, whether or not anyone else can see it, there is always a subtle issue underneath that I’m expressing.

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Do you do this professionally or just as a hobby?

It’s definitely a hobby for me. I’ve had several offers to take it to a professional level, but my art has always been deeply personal because it’s my coping mechanism. It’s seen me through the darkest times of my life- as a result, I’m very protective with what is done with it and don’t like giving others the authority to dictate what forms my personal expression should take.

How did you stumble upon your unique style?

Honestly, I have done this for 23 years now, 13 of those years in the digital format. I spent most of that time wondering when and how and if I would ever manage to develop my own style. I’ve only begun to recognize “my style” over the past couple of years- which, I think is due to my relatively recent obsession of lighting- and that is purely thanks to the advancements that Poser 9 and 10 have made with accurate lighting in the pre-render work room. I no longer have to spend hours moving lights and rendering test images to get the lights the way I’d like, so I’ve got more flexibility (and time) to make sure that I get exactly what I see in my head instead of “close enough” that I was forced to settle for in the past due to time constraints.

Who has been your biggest creative influence?

Frederick Leighton, the master of texture and light. Franz von Stuck, the master of gritty, emotive, symbolist passion. Luis Royo, the master of all that sex. Alphonse Mucha, the master of curves and colors.

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Your Fav artists at the moment??

ALL THE ARTISTS.
Lately, though, if I had to choose just one, I’d probably go with W. T. Benda- a popular artist during the 1920’s and 30’s. He’s most well known for illustrating magazine and book covers. He has a very unique use of color and composition that makes my brain incredibly happy.

How do you overcome those times when the creative spirit has left the building?

I distract myself until my ideas come back with the use of video games, books, tv, the standard stuff. I find that trying to force it makes for uninspired art, so I’m better off just relaxing and letting it come on it’s own.

Most inspirational food, drink, other? What has to be on the desk at all times for you to get into the flow?

I have a collection of Gashapon. You know those little vending machines in grocery stores? In Japan some of those vending machines sell highly detailed, tiny, plastic, naked women. It’s a silly thing, but I have four Gashapon in various poses, along with a copy of Vallejo’s Medusa and a few cheeky Anime statuettes- they’ve been on my desk for so long, I can’t imagine them NOT being here while I’m working.

Mac or PC? Other Hardware?

PC not necessarily loyal, it’s just what I had when I started and I stuck with what I knew.
Wacom’s Intuos 4 tablet. I’m in love with the Intuos line. You can do all that you need with lesser drawpads, but once you’ve used an Intuos you will never ever want to go back.

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Current software of choice?

Photoshop CS6
Poser 10- which is integral. The recent improvements Poser has made to stability, render times, and accurate pre-render displays have shaved so much time off of my work. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t know if I’d even create anymore if I had to do it all from scratch like I used to. I just don’t have the time to dedicate to it anymore.

Do you draw, paint traditional or just digital?

I draw, I used to paint, but my hands naturally tremble so it was difficult for me at the best of times. I’m also handy with a camera, like to carve wood, sculpt, and, well, just about anything if it’s creating something, I’ll try it and generally stick with it til I get the results I want… except for the ukulele.. Damn those things. Damn them to hell.

What does the future hold for you? What are you working on next?

Who knows! To quote Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost”. I have the luxury of having no restrictions and no obligations so I can pretty much do whatever strikes me. Everything else in my life is rigidly structured. Art is the one place where I prefer to just let it flow in whatever direction it happens to take. If you had told me five years ago that I would soon spend two years working with lighting as the main technical thrust of all of my forthcoming work, I would have thought you were insane, but that’s what happened.

What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out as an artist?

In general: Challenge yourself. You never know what you can do until you try it- and don’t expect to succeed on your first attempt. Everyone has to put in the work.

As far as digital painting: my biggest breakthrough moment as an artist was the day I realized “I don’t have to paint the exact image, I only have to trick the viewer’s eye into *thinking* that’s what they’re seeing. Prior to that, I was blinding myself painting all of the tiny minute details that no one ever saw, when 5 minutes of slapping paint in the general shape did it just as well- and often times better.

On the technical side: Don’t fall prey to smooth shading. Nothing in life has flawlessly smooth shading- spending all of your time trying to get those perfect gradients will only make your models look like plastic. Throw in some grain, some grit, some imperfections, some lose hairs- they will give you the realism you’re looking for.

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Is there any promotional/marketing advice you would like to offer to other artists?

Work the social media to your advantage, you can get far just by making yourself visible and rubbing elbows with your fellow artists.

Never give your work away for free. In the digital age an artist is perfectly capable of promoting themselves on a wide scale, self publishing, collaborating with other artists, and doing just about anything they take a mind to. Don’t ever, ever, EVER let someone try and convince you that they’re doing you a favor by publishing your work without payment.

You can see more of Kassidi at:

Website: www.theartofKKeys.com
DeviantArt Profile: kassidikeys.deviantart.com

Most recent published work?

http://kassidikeys.deviantart.com/art/Fleet-383728944

Special projects you want to mention?

nope, I’m like the wind, baby.

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