Being a mixed bag of ethnicities, exoticism comes naturally to my creative process. I draw from a deep and complex genetic pool to infuse flavor and color that dazzles the eye. Some of these influences also come from my passion for belly dance. For me, exotica is not just an inspiration, it's a way of life. 


The challenge of digital art is that it can be very flat in presentation needing a good mix of texture and layer effects to make it come alive. The trick, always, is finding the right combination, knowing when to stop messing with it, and making sure the printed piece looks as good as it does onscreen. With Backside Beauty, it's mission accomplished.

This piece has a somewhat sinister vibe and no particular message or inspiration. I simply have a fascination with hookah and their beautiful design. Not a smoker myself but I have collection of hookah as decor. As in my usual style, multi-layering and texturing effects bring the exoticism of this piece front and center, with a rich desert palette.


This digital gem, meant to convey a sense of tranquility, is 55-layered monsterbytes of texture, color and light play. When the mood strikes, I'll balance my  gritty, earthy images with pieces that are light and ethereal. Serenity, I hope, is what comes to mind when you view this. 


It took three days to birth Nathania which in Hebrew means 'God's Gift' and she is one of my more lengthy labors.  As always, the original line art was created in Illustrator, finishing the fine details in Photoshop. Layering and texturing is where I shine and the part of the process I enjoy most. I have many texture images in my arsenal, from florals to grunge, to watercolor effects and various patterns. When mixed in just the right amount, the results can be beautiful.


I created 'Masks' for my own promotional purposes, to use on business cards and flyers. I then realized this would make a cool canvas on its own which consists of other pieces and textures of my other works. That's the absolute beauty of digital...I can easily master an effect and transfer it at will. 'Masks' truly highlights my love of exoticism, textures and exotic textures.  


Meditate is another creation meant to invoke a sense of peace and calm in the midst of life's storms. It took numerous texture layers to get the vintage look I desired for Meditate. Well-aged, seasoned and slightly damaged effects are an integral part of my digital style.  I like my art to invoke feelings of something well-loved that carries its own worn edges and imperfections.


This creation sums up a truth: we're all flawed individuals, but we can be serene in that knowledge. Flawed and Serene uses multiple layers of the exotic textures I love, in this case distressed bamboo and weathered stone, along with a color palette that I hope conveys the patina of age and timelessness. 

'Lotus Eater' started with a Balinese mask as a model. This was one of my earlier pieces created while still trying to master the digital pen using Illustrator and Photoshop as my mediums. Adding hairline cracks and distressed textures, so much a part of my digital signature, Lotus Eater was the first piece that sold at my first art show, and has been a consistent seller ever since.


Although I learned belly dance in the Arabic Cabaret style, I've developed a passion for tribal fusion as well as a fascination with the costume styles. Tribalene was another of  my very early works after first acquiring my digital pen and pad. Although I haven't been a digital artist for long (just under 2 years), I can definitely see the progression.


This piece was inspired by a YouTube  video of a favorite bellydance song. Capturing a screen shot of the somewhat rudimentary character, I made her my own with many effects layers to give her a space-age meets old world charm, with a touch of anime. And as a finale, set her in a temple fit for a goddess of the galaxies.  

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© 2019 by Victoria Caro Johnson / The Sketchie Beast

 Ecclesiastes 3:11