Our artist of the month for September 2020 is the very talented Renderosity artist - BellaDark. She has been a member of Renderosity for 20 years now. In that time she has built an impressive gallery of work with over 300 followers. BellaDark's work is distinctive. Her use of color and lighting is masterful.
This video features 10 works hand-picked by BellaDark herself. Please visit BellaDark's gallery at Renderosity for more of her impressive creations.
We were fortunate to get BellaDark to interview for this article. She is a delightful interviewee, so the following interview was a lot of fun.
BellaDark has a wonderful Facebook page which features more of her work. You can visit the page here.
Interview with BellaDark
Renderosity: BellaDark is such a great name, how did you come up with it?i
BellaDark: Bella Dark is the actual name of my great grandmother. A few years ago I was known by DarkPhoria. Also during this time, I was looking up some additional family tree information on Ancestry, and saw my great grandmother's name on a census -- Bella Dark. Just like that. Her actual name was Isabella but it was listed on the census as Bella Dark. I fell in love with it. Since Dark was already part of my name, I just eased into this incarnation of it, and that was that. Oddly, too, I got a response from others in the community saying how much they also loved the name. :)
On your FB page you mention that your journey as an artist started as an accident but evolved into a passion; can you tell us more about this journey?
BellaDark: The accident is this. I was working as a receptionist in a law firm at the time, and one of the secretaries there showed me some art her husband had done in Bryce. It was of a group of raptors running through a backlit forest. I said THAT is what I want to do. After that I started looking things up, and happened on Renderosity from a search engine link, and I joined here on June 21, 2000.
You work is so full of life and color. It has a very distinctive look. How did you develop this style/look?
BellaDark: The simple answer to how I developed this look is "I have no idea." I don't keep track of my steps when I work, I go by feeling, and so sometimes in that process I will forget "oh who made this resource" or "what did I do there". In the early days I would try to replicate art that I saw, or some effects (like volumetric lighting in Bryce which took me two weeks to render at the time)... and since, it's just really opening up the program, usually starting with a figure, and trying out poses, then I like one, then it's "oh what lighting"... and it happens.
I'm not trying to be coy here, I just have been following through with whatever feelings I have at a given time and seeing what happens from it. And there is amazing art I still see, that I wish I could do too, so I will try, but I never seem to quite get there. :)
What is the typical workflow on a project and what tools do you use regularly?
BellaDark: Ok so I've covered the workflow to an extent above but I'll outline it here too just in case. :) First and foremost, I primarily use Daz Studio now. I used to use Poser exclusively, but I became a vendor again about 5 years ago and Daz was cornering the market a bit, and I've since come to prefer it. I'm also still trying to relearn Poser in the meantime. BUT primarily it's Daz. I start by opening the program and loading a blank G8 figure. If I'm using a specific character, I load that -- otherwise it's random. I play around with poses, see what hits me, and when I settle on something I like, I start adding other elements like light and setting.
The image usually evolves from that. It gets a little bit more focused if I'm doing something more on the promotional side and, for instance, if I want to do a portrait. Then I will set out to do that portrait, but still, I play with poses till the posture and face are right to me, and I go with it. After the render is done, I do postwork in Photoshop. Compared to my earlier years when I was known primarily for rendering naked figures and painting most everything else, I now spend a lot of time on the actual rendering part of it, so my postwork phase is minimal by comparison
One of my favorite pieces (I've been following you for years) is "Another Day in Paradise". How did you create this wonderful work? What was the thought process behind it?
BellaDark: Another Day in Paradise. I covered this theme in a promotional artwork I'd done I think it was last year, and I wanted to expand on that, so I reopened that initial scene, changed some things in it, and re-rendered it. During the process I remembered a newspaper template I had found some years back and I had had an idea to put a render in that kind of frame, and it occurred to me maybe I should try that here. So I customized the template and fit the image in, and used the headlines and tags to make a statement.
The world is really hurting right now, and so many people have gone through so much this year, more than usual, and I'm no exception. As with the workflow, it started from a feeling, and in this case a moment of overwhelming sadness and anxiety, then remembering that promo, then redoing it, then adding the template, then the taglines. I suppose it was my way of expressing that very personal experience of mine, and many people seemed to connect with it as a result of their own very personal experiences during this past year. The title of course is from Phil Collins's song which deals with the same theme. :)
You've been a Renderosity member for 20 years now; how has the site made a difference in your work/life?
BellaDark: Yes, I joined Renderosity on June 21, 2000. How has it made a difference. In every way. I met my husband here in December of 2000, I met my best friend here in May of 2001. Add to that an incredible list of many others, new and old, friends and foes alike without whom I would not have fully realized what a magical place this is, or faced some occasionally very hard truths from which I was able to learn and grow. :) If I had not had encouraging words from some people in the very beginning, I would not have continued, and I definitely would not be rendering now. If not for this encouragement I wouldn't have been able to finish a novel I had been writing, and I would not have started drawing.
Literally every facet of my life has been affected by my experience on this site, and after 2020 the year from hell, I really wanted to start focusing on my gratitude for things. Renderosity has given me everything. I would like the opportunity to give back.
Any advice for artists trying to develop their own style and look?
BellaDark: "Advice." I don't even know that I'm qualified to give any. The only thing I can say is to follow your bliss, to try new things, to trust your instincts. The work is its own reward, it really is. It has pulled me out of the deepest pits. That's the tea, as they say. :)