Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trompe L'oeil (or Faux, or FX, or Whatever)

Trompe L'oeil (pronounced nothing like it is spelled, truh-ohmp low-ee) is a French word that means something close to "trick the eye". Though most people may not know what it is, they have probably seen it. Most airbrush artists, or even the artists to be, have actually done this type of art and didn't know it. Ever airbrush a drop shadow? How about some fake metal or some faux rust? What about that pop rivet? That's trompe l'oeil. See, you're a sophisticated artist and you didn't even know it.
I have always been a huge fan of this type of hard to spell artwork and it was actually one of the first things I tried with an airbrush. Sure wish I had THAT picture. In any event, I loved the idea of painting something so real that when someone walked up to it, they tried to touch it. I've done this with nails, even a whole, full sized clip board. There is just something close to a magic trick involved in it and to this day I work at perfecting it.
Most artists use paint brushes and a wide range of paints and mediums to get the effects that I feel a single, simple squirt of an airbrush can achieve. What makes this difficult to master is the fact that, in a lot of ways, our eyes are hard to trick. It takes quite a bit of mastery to get those shadows to look just right. To get that blend to be just so. To get that color to be perfect. I admit, there are some instances where the brush works a little better than the airbrush. What I personally think is that these two tools should work together to make the perfect trompe l'oeil.
Now the next time you are preparing some drop shadows under some metal tears on a motorcycle tank, you can sound all Zima drinker like by calling it trompe l'oeil. Tell them I said it was ok.

Todays Video of the Post comes from this guy:

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