Queen of Demons Book cover 1997 Guest appearances by Dorian Vallejo, Steve Ellis, Steve Youll and myself.
I find that other visual artists make for some of the best figurative models as they are consciously aware of the shapes their bodies make. They also have an idea what another artist may be seeking in their posing and take directions extremely well:
Tilt your head a little to the left,
Bend your right elbow and keep the hand at the same level,
Show me more of your back, break your wrist, etc….
The paintings below offer a broad sampling of artists and friends I have used over the course of my career as models for commercial commissions. These are not portraits of my friends but rather their likenesses are used in the service of my narrative work. Considering no one has ‘seen’ these characters before, models used to interpret characters within these narratives are all strangers to my audience. Therefore I find it fun and a challenge to capture the likeness of each of my friends as a tribute to their help in advancing the quality of my work.
As I know I am not alone in this venture, do you have any like images of artists to share??
Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1993 Michael Mrak model (and roommate at the time) and now Design Director at Scientific American
Psychohistorical Crisis, book cover, artist Dan Dos Santos (posing twice) and Carey Johnson (my wife) as models, 1999
Saint Crispin’s Day – Right panel for the Battle of Agincourt triptych 2007
Red Sonya – Lover’s Quarrel artist Kelley Hensing model 2011
The Night’s Watch , artist Tony DiTerlizzi, writer George R.R. Martin and a host of others as players in a Game of Thrones , 2014
Fortune and Fate , book cover, artist Kristina Carroll model , 2007
Alien Crimes, book cover, artists Owen Weber,Rebecca Solow and Scott Murphy models, 2007
Reader and Raelynx, book cover, artist Scott Murphy model, 2007
Cartographer from Magic: The Gathering artist Claudia Rodriguez model 1999
Joan of Arc – On the Field art director Irene Gallo model 2010
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato as a young man, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for the game Dungeons & Dragons, paint figurines, read comics, and construct model tanks and dinosaurs. His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenges himself within each new project. Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.
Over this past year Donato has released the revised hard cover compilation of his works on the theme of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend from Dark Horse Comics.