Inspiration - Yoann Lossel

Article / 14 June 2022

As an artist, I am always looking for new sources of inspiration. Over the years, there have been a few important influences that have revolutionized my outlook on art. For me, Yoann Lossel has been one of those major sources of inspiration.

I believe there are three things every illustrator needs to create great work.

  • Information
  • Inspiration
  • Imagination

This is the core of my art-making approach. Read more about my philosophy here.

Who Is Yoann Lossel

Yoann Lossel is a French contemporary artist that is well known for his intricate and detailed work combining graphite and gold leaf. His illustrations often depict dream-like fantasy scenes with a touch of Surrealism, which I find mesmerizing.

Here are a couple of the illustrations that captivated me as a young artist and  continue to inspire me today.

The Golden Age

This was one of the first works that I saw from Yoann Lossel. The subtle shifts in value that permeate the entire illustration blew me away and reminded me of the equally masterful Allen Lee that I was more familiar with. I was drawn into the world that Yoann was creating and had to see more.


FATAE is an illustration by Yoann Lossel that features three female characters wrapped in swirling gold and darkness. What inspired me about this piece is, beyond the incredible illustration, Yoann applied the same level of craft to the border design that he surrounded the artwork with. The level of detail and the use of gold leaf to add an ethereal quality to the illustration is also always inspiring.

What I Learned

I found Yoann's work my freshman year of college. I was instantly captivated by the intricate details and the contrast that came from his use of gold leaf and graphite. I had never heard of gold leaf, and it would have never occurred to me that artists would employ it as a medium for their work. From that moment on, I began to experiment, research, and learn as much as I could about gold leafing and Yoann's work.

At that time, Yoann had not published much information regarding his technique. Fortunately for  me, He was willing to answer the tedious questions of a young artist ignorant of so much of his craft. From my research and our conversation, I learned about watercolor graphite, the techniques for applying gold leaf, and many more technical aspects of his workflow. By creating pieces that were specifically trying to match his style, I learned about drawing the figure, creating atmospheric perspective, and so much more! I always recommend new artist try to work in the style of their artist idols to level up their own craft and understand more about the work that they idolize.

How It Impacted My Work

I immediately wanted to apply what I had learned and began to experiment with gold leaf in my own illustrations. However, I was quickly disappointed by the results. One of my notable experiences was when I chose to create a large scale graphite and gold illustration for a university class final. I was so captivated by the works I was seeing, I forgot just how far my skills needed to be developed to create anything remotely resembling the beauty that Yoann was creating in his illustrations. Never before had I attempted to create an illustration so large or detailed before. As the detail shot shows below, it was not a success. As a result, I abandoned the experimentation to dedicate myself to mastering the basics of my craft. However, the inspiration to be more experimental in my work, especially relating to traditional mediums, made a big impact in my approach to art. As you can see from my branding, I also never got over my love for the contrasting combination of black and gold.

In Conclusion

Although Yoann Lossel's work is not directly related to my own (since I now strictly work digitally), his mastery of traditional mediums and intricate details have been a constant source of inspiration for me. His ability to create dream-like scenes through his illustrations is something that I aspire to achieve in my own work. Hopefully, this article has provided some insight into the mind and process of one of my favorite artists. To see more of Yoann Lossel’s work, visit his website here.

The Three Principles of Art That Every Artist Needs to Know

Article / 08 June 2022

Very early on in my quest to become a professional artist, I was mentored by an artist that taught me the three principles of art that I now live by. I believe these  same three principles can help any artist, no matter their experience level, create their best work.

What are the three principles of art and what do they mean for artists?

These principles of art are a set of guidelines that help artists create their work. There are three principles-inspiration, information, and imagination-that I was taught, and I believe all artists should be familiar with.


Inspiration is the first principle of art, and it refers to the idea that artists should be inspired by their surroundings in order to create their work. They should observe the world around them and take inspiration from many sources in order to produce pieces that are original  and truly their own.


Information is the second principle of art, and it refers to the idea that artists should be knowledgeable about their craft. They should learn about different techniques and styles so that they can produce artwork that is both unique and professional.


Imagination is the third principle of art, and it refers to the idea that artists should use their imagination when creating their work. They should be inventive and innovative in order to come up with something that is genuinely one-of-a-kind.

By understanding these three principles, artists can produce artwork that is both meaningful and beautiful.

How do artists use inspiration to create their work?

In order to create their work, artists often draw inspiration from their surroundings or personal experiences. They may also be inspired by other artists, music, or nature. By drawing inspiration from the world around them, artists are able to create pieces that are unique to their own perspective.

It is important to draw upon many sources of inspiration because it is from this range of influences that we can gain a unique perspective. Some common sources of inspiration include:

  • Experiences: Artists may be inspired by personal experiences or the experiences of others.
  • Surroundings: The artist's environment can be a source of inspiration. This may include nature, cityscapes, or man-made objects. This can also include situational surroundings. The weather, season, and social settings can all affect the way we see the world and, in turn, be a source of inspiration.
  • Other artists: Seeing the work of other artists can inspire us to try new techniques or explore different subject matter.

Inspiration is a key part of the creative process for artists. By drawing upon their experiences and the world around them, artists are able to create pieces that are truly unique.

What role does information play in the artistic process?

Information is key to the artistic process. Whether an artist is working in a particular medium for the first time, or looking to expand their knowledge of that medium, information is essential for creating their best work. In some cases, it can be the difference between amateur and professional-level work.

The internet has made information more readily available than ever before, and there are now plenty of resources available for artists who want to learn more about their chosen subject or improve their technique.

Some ways artists can be informed in their illustrations are:

  • Using photo reference or drawing from a live model
  • Creating master studies from other artists’ work
  • Attending workshops, classes, or lectures
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Reading books or articles on the chosen subject
  • Watching videos, documentaries, or tutorials

There are many ways for artists to get the information they need to be successful in their craft and business. It is important for artists to be open to learning new things and expanding their knowledge, as this can only improve their work. With so many resources available, there is no excuse for not being informed in your artistic process.

How does imagination help artists create their masterpieces?

The imagination is probably the most powerful tool for artists. It allows them to tap into their creative potential and create works that are uniquely theirs. By using their imagination, artists can express their ideas and emotions in ways that are both beautiful and transformative. They can bring new life to the world and share their unique perspective with others.

The imagination is a vital part of the creative process. The principles, inspiration and information, are both meant to be taken in, while the imagination is where artist give back.  It is what allows artists to see beyond the ordinary and create something new. Without it, they would be limited to only what they can see and experience in the world around them. But with imagination, they can take those experiences and turn them into something magical.

There is only one you in this world. You are an original and your perspective is unique. When you create art, you are sharing a piece of yourself with the world. Your imagination and the way you combine the two previously mentioned principles that sets you apart from everyone else. It is what allows you to see the world in a different way and to create works that are uniquely yours.

Pro Tip: If you're experiencing an artistic block, just remember these three principles and understand that you may just need to revisit one of them to break through the wall.

Can these principles be used by anyone, regardless of their artistic ability?

Yes, anyone can use these principles to create their best work by tapping into their own personal inspiration, gathering information about their chosen medium or craft, and using their imagination to bring the two together to create something new. This  is how all artists create their best work, whether they are just starting out or are seasoned professionals.

In Conclusion

When it comes to creating your best work, understanding and using the three principles of art-inspiration, information, and imagination-is key. By learning more about these concepts and how they can be applied to your own creative process, you can take your artwork to new heights.

Unshed Tears

Making Of / 28 April 2020

I was asked to work on the cover illustration of Unshed Tears back in early 2017. After reading just the prologue, I was so excited to get started. Upon reading the book in it's entirety, my mind was filled with possible illustrations. The author Arden Emil made it easy for me to paint out scenes from the book through the rich descriptions of his amazing world. The following is a brief excerpt  from the prologue, the inspiration for the final cover art. 


The sun’s last gleaming pillars burst through the sable veil of smoke; like columns of some great building whose ceiling was of mist and cloud. Within one of these radiant beams Kaileth slumped over the front of his horse’s saddle, cradling the small bundle in his lap. A long thin shadow from the arrow shaft lodged in his left shoulder ran over the etched steel of his pauldron and down onto the rings of his maille shirt.

He stopped his horse upon the crest of a ridge and turned his face toward the setting of the sun. The landscape that surrounded him resembled a grand painting of dynamic colors, both beautiful and sad. The warm sunlight felt comforting, as the touch of a longed-for friend, driving the chill from his tears

Turning his gaze from the warmth of the sun, he looked upon the sight that caused his grief. In the distance lay a great city, lit now by the fires that burned within it. Her once golden stone walls were now black from the scorching of fires, and red from the spilling of blood. The sounds of battle had changed to those of slaughter. Children crying, women screaming, and the roar of the conquering foe echoed through the streets, filling the air about the lofty towers. Kaileth slowly turned from this terrible sight and continued to ride away from the city. As he turned he shifted the cloth-wrapped bundle he held close in his arms.


Visit the Authors Website by selecting the icon below. There you will find more about him and his works, as well as more of my artwork from the world of Miljah! 


Watch the creation of the cover art for the incredible book, Unshed Tears by Arden Emil, and learn more about my process.

4 Step Process

Most of my major illustrations follow a four step process. This process is described below. I use this process to establish a level of realism from imagination (I also use reference of coarse). The process described below is only a portion of the entire illustrative process, it is focused on the creation of the final image. This process leaves out the innumerable amounts of thumbnail sketches and research that goes into an illustration. For this book cover, I not only read the entire novel, but I met with the author. We spent hours talking about his world; poring over his sketches and maps, so that I could understand what the final image needed to look like. I gathered hundreds of reference images, both from the Internet and from the world around me.  I love the beginning stages of an illustration. I usually experience the most excitement about a piece of artwork at the very beginning and very end.


The Sketching phase is one of the most important phases of the entire process! Just as our bodies rely on a skeleton to be structurally sound, so too does an illustration rely on a sketch. Sketching is where the composition, movement, focal point, and all other hugely important principles are first decided.


The second heavy lifter in the creative process is the values. Making sure the values of an illustration read clearly and correctly is so important! The illustrator decides what is "correct" for the image, but there are certain rules that need to be followed to make a desirable work of art.


While color is important, it allows for more freedom of choice. As long as the value structure is still intact, the image will read well no matter the colors. Colors can really assist the value in setting the mood for an illustration.


The Rendering phase is the finishing phase. This step can be as long or as short as the illustrator desires. This is where personal style and creativity really shine. For me, this is where I love to spend most of my time.


Every artist experiences "breakthrough" images, and this was one of those for me. This entire project pushed me creatively more than I previously had been. It came to me early in my career, while I was early in my schooling as well. I emerged from the completion of this project with a newfound illustrative process, mentor, and confidence. These have forged the way for me to improve so much in my art! I'm truly grateful for the opportunity I had to work with Arden Emil. He has broadened my imagination and given me incredible opportunities. I hope you will read his works and look at more of the artwork I created for his world.