Jesselee Lang is a superb 3D fantasy-based artist that tells astounding stories through digital art. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he provides design, artwork and graphics to the web, print, and video game industries. He offers free images for download at his website, and you can also find his art spray-painted on the sides of train cars.
Jesselee enjoys crafting powerful stories, projecting them into a single work of art for others to appreciate. His works put you in the middle of the action.
I’ve always thought of my images as mere snap shots of a greater story, a glimpse into a world of fantasy I constantly build upon in my mind.
Jesselee started doodling and sketching in elementary school. By the time he was in his late teens, he’d graduated from sketch pads to abandoned buildings and railway cars.
The underground graffiti art scene can be a harsh environment. The works are up for public ridicule, especially from peers and mentors. It’s a sink or swim world that cultivates only dedicated artists.
Perhaps my choice of canvas was questionable but it was the beginning and birth of a passion that drives my goals to this date.
Jesselee prevailed and continued to hone his craft by developing skills in photography. Photography is an important medium for many fine artists because it requires the operator to capture a living scene as a single, still image. Thus, it teaches the foundations of composition and lighting. Jesselee continued to learn as he worked for professional photographers, using computer software for touch ups and photo manipulation. This was his gateway into the digital medium that would later become his mainstay.
Its been a journey that’s for sure. Out of high school, I worked a lot of different labor work. I ran a fork lift for a while, did a lot of manual labor, worked in confined spaces, going down sewers. I worked in security and even trained as a private investigator, from there I decided to follow my passion for art one way or another and that lead me to photography.
Jesselee attended Northern Alberta Institute of Technology to become a Photoshop expert. He continued from there, teaching himself 3D software such as DAZ Studio, Bryce, Carrara, Poser and Hexagon. With his experience and skilled hands, in 2003, he began to fully realize his abilities.
I remember completing my first digital render and that is when I knew I found the way, and it was exciting.
Jesselee shows passion and creativity in the quality and depth of his portfolio. He says that he is inspired by film, music, anime, and video games.
That’s right I said it. “Video Games.” LOL
However, Jesselee’s biggest inspiration is from anime, a modern, stylish form of animation that originated in Japan. Inspirations include: Vampire Hunter D, Ninja Scroll, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Dragon Ball Z, and Claymore.
I have also gained a tremendous amount of inspiration from the Wizards of the Coast, the Forgotten Realms, and the many stories they have shared over the years.
Wizards of the Coast is the intellectual owner of the world famous hobby game Dungeons & Dragons. Their world of knights, elves, goblins, dragons, and magic, partly inspired by Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy, continues to be the source of a multi-generational treasure trove of game materials, fictional books, video games, and films.
Jesselee continues to be inspired, mentored, and pushed by fellow artists in the same realm.
If I was to drop a name … it would have to be Michael Oswald, a phenomenal digital artist, I cant imagine his work failing to inspire anyone.
Graffiti artists are pushed to develop a signature, or unique style. It’s the same way in the traditional and fine art world. Jesselee Lang’s signature is apparent if you compare the lighting, color palette, composition, and use of textures in his works. Jesselee’s biggest strengths are in lighting and composition, which give him fine control over the moods in his work.
Many of Jesselee’s works have a heavy feeling. The imagery in “Goblin Mystics” hangs on my mind and heart and makes me feel like a scared child hiding in the woods as the events unfold. In contrast, “Alien” has a similar composition, but the lighting is altered, and instead of cowering in fear, I have a sense of awe and curiosity.
In “Centurion War” and “Drow Man Eater”, the characters feel multidimensional. They seem battle weary, yet strong. You want to know what amazing things have happened, and what’s going to happen next.
Due to their mastery in composition, story telling, and similar use of lighting, I think that Jesselee can most easily be compared to popular fantasy artist Luis Royo, especially the work depicted in Royo’s hard cover book Malefic. Jesselee’s work is also similar to the work of popular book cover illustrator Stephan Martiniere. My favorite works by Jesselee are “Centurion War”, pictured above, and “Ranger”, pictured below.
Jesselee admits that his most prized accomplishment is launching his own website and company in May, 2010. Dark Geometry provides professional, awe-inspiring, 3D fantasy-based art and graphics for various projects. Having one of Jesselee’s images as cover art on a fantasy novel or video game would catapult it off the store rack.
On average, Jesselee says he spends about four hours designing a scene in 3D, followed by approximately ten hours of rendering, and two hours in Photoshop. Of course, it varies, depending on the complexity of the image. It took Jesselee fifteen hours to complete “Centurion Wars”, and another twenty hours to render the image.
I asked Jesselee if he had any advice for aspiring artists wishing to create similar art.
First and foremost, enjoy the time you put into your art. I believe it is important to let your creativity come through effortlessly in passion and not to force results. Stay excited and inspired. Expose yourself to as much of the things that inspire you as often as you can. Ideas will flow.
He also says that investing in quality hardware pays off.
A good piece of hardware (PC or Mac) goes a long way in 3d artwork and rendering, and believe me, is worth the investment.
Jesselee Lang’s artwork can be found at his Web site Dark Geometry, where you can commission him for new and original pieces. You can purchase many of his ready-made works directly from his gallery at Shutterstock. He also maintains galleries at deviantART and Flickr.
Surprisingly, a number of his pieces are free to the public for non-commercial purposes, through a Creative Commons share-alike license. Also, he provides many of his pieces for free download, in HD quality, for use as your computer, PS3, or XBox 360 background. Actually, now that I think about it, this might not be so surprising for a guy that leaves his work on the side of a rail car.
If you like what you see here, go check out the rest of Jesselee Lang’s art, and let me know which piece is your favorite. If you like his artwork or would like to see more similar stories, don’t forget to click the “I heart this” button at the end of the article. Also, if you happen to catch Jesselee’s signature work on the side of a building or train car, be sure to send me a photo.
Now go put your signature on something that you’re passionate about.
About the author
Marcus is a software developer and an award winning screenwriter, editor, and cinematographer. He enjoys helping other local filmmakers create independent films and documentaries. Marcus also makes a conscious effort to support local food producers, especially providers of whole and organic foods. Marcus resides in Cincinnati, OH, where he reviews food and art for Made With Passion.