DTIYS Behind The Scenes with Artists

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The month of May belonged to the Spring DTIYS Challenge and we could not be more astonished by the 240+ entries we received. Last week, we announced the winners but felt some of the entries deserve even more recognition. We contacted three artists who tackled multiple prompts and are now sharing a little behind-the-scenes from this challenge. Find out about their art journeys and experience with the DTIYS.

Gloria Vannessa Nicoli - Concept Artist on a Rise

Gloria Vannessa Nicoli studied traditional painting on the weekends since her early days in primary school which she attended in China. Her determination to pursue an art-related career led her to study at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan, Italy. After graduating, she started her career as a freelance artist focusing on children’s book illustration. Now, she explores her interest in fantasy and concept art.
Once finished with her fine art education, she decided to self-study digital painting using Photoshop as it had a ton of tutorials and was very beginner-friendly. A few years later, she began to search for a tool that would emulate traditional media behavior and came across Rebelle 5. Since then, all her artworks have been made in Rebelle, and Photoshop is used only for adding text to her work.
In this DTIYS challenge, she wanted to practice coloring people, as her previous work were mostly animals or food and the coloring methods are different. The four prompts with figures took the most time and labor. Gloria’s favorite results are Tiger and Persephone. As she said, “The Tiger is my favorite animal and the painting process went very smoothly without any obstacles. On the contrary, Persephone is the one I spent the most time and energy on and I can see my coloring improvement.” Each painting took at least four hours, but Persephone took more than ten hours.
Gloria uses mostly Rebelle default pencils and watercolors. For some parts, metallic brushes. She likes to set the Watercolor brushes to 100% opacity so that she can control them more easily.

Visit Gloria's portfolio:


Carles Carbonell Bernado - Landscape Painter from Barcelona

Carles Carbonell Bernado’s passion for art started when he won a comic contest for young artists in Catalonia, Spain. Then he decided to pursue a career in graphic design. In 2016, he got back to painting, this time digitally. When thinking whether to take painting as a profession, he decided to continue with it as a hobby to avoid the stress and pressure this career might bring.

Carles started to paint digitally with widely marketed tools but in his own words: “the artworks always looked too digital and lacked something”. Thanks to artists like Karen Bonaker and Steve Elliot, he discovered what he was looking for, software that allowed him to paint like he was used to from a traditional background. He fell in love with Rebelle and has used it since version 3. He has been helping with the beta test and translation of the UI phrases to Spanish.


“Rebelle gives me the expression and freedom I want, not only a traditional art look and feel but everything with a fast and seamless workflow.” ~ Carles Carbonell Bernado

This was the second DTIYS Carles participated in. As mainly a landscape painter who has just recently started to experiment with portraits, he took this challenge as an opportunity to improve and step out of his comfort zone. He kept the fantasy landscape prompt for the last.
“Despite being out of my comfort zone, the artwork I enjoyed the most was precisely the Majestic White Tiger by Craig Werkheiser. Felines are harder to paint than it seems, it’s easy to look like another feline race, or even like a cat. This is the artwork I did not put much hope into. But after all, everything went smoothly and successfully. I enjoyed the process a lot, and I loved the result”, Carles said.
He also shared a little tip with us. Instead of using still references, he watched videos of Bengal tigers, which helped to learn about their poses and behavior.

Visit Carles' portfolio:


João Oliveira - Professional Oil Painter from Brazil

João Oliveira is a professional artist, focusing mainly on figure and portrait painting with occasional landscape or still life projects. He prefers to use oils, both, traditional and digital. Interestingly, using Rebelle and trying out various media made him come back to traditional tools more often. It opened the way to new artistic experiences, as he felt the urge to try acrylics and gouache also in real life.

“As artists, we want tools that become one with us. We want them to allow us to test new concepts, translate what we see, and ultimately help us to perceive the world in new ways.” ~ João Oliveira

João has become a frequent participant in our challenges. This time, he completed three prompts and each deserves recognition. Using alla prima approach and worn grunge brushes with transparent paint to sketch, it takes eight to twelve hours to finish a painting. He admitted, that the winning Persephone was the most difficult prompt to finish as he felt the most frustration and fulfillment at the same time, as he could learn from his mistakes and managed to create an aesthetic experience that was very hard to develop.
Here are a few thoughts on the DTIYS painting process from João. “Although Lady Moira's princess was more technical at first, I had an immense pleasure working on it. All those flowers and leaves kept the late master Richard Schmid in my mind as I tried to digitally emulate what I think he’d do to create those effects with palette knives and strong interplays of opposing color temperatures. Soft and Fluffy prompt by Lorenza Pigliamosche was dreamy, swift, queer, and colorful, and it had some elements that usually make me insecure, like high-key compositions or animals. However, the experience was very freeing and joyful."

Visit João's portfolio:


We hope you enjoyed learning more about Gloria Vannessa Nicoli, Carles Carbonell Bernado,  and João Oliveira. It was a pleasure to hear about their artistic journey and the experience with our recent challenge. If you like their paintings, visit our Gallery or their social media and leave them a like or comment. 

Happy Painting,
Escape Motions Team

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