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Digital Artist Stephen Harlan

July 12, 2024

Digital artist Stephen Harlan’s unique style is inspired by his love for the water. His passion for all things nautical began as a young boy when his family moved from rural Minnesota to Fort Meyers, Florida. Steve learned to sail and, as he explored the area, he began carefully observing different aspects of the sea, harbors and sunsets.

These images have remained with this talented artist and are what move him to create his amazing artwork. Steve describes his paintings as being “hyper photo-realistic in terms of perspective, detail, color, shadows and light”. More of this incredible digital artwork can be seen at Stephen Harlan Art.

A Leader in the Field of Digital Art

Most of the 1980’s were spent in California where Steve established himself as a leader in the field of digital art. He placed “Best in Show” in many exhibits throughout Los Angeles and was regularly commissioned to create custom paintings. While living on the west coast, Steve continued to draw his inspiration from the sea, but he also expanded his style, creating abstract art and southwestern inspired paintings. After leaving California, Steve spent the next 20 years living in Maryland on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, adding more nautical images to his memory bank.

How Does Steve Create a Digital Painting?

Steve’s digital art is complete fantasy originating in his fertile imagination. Usually he will start with a pencil sketch to establish the basic layout and perspective. His canvas is a blank computer screen, and he paints using electronic brushes which he programs. These brushes can depict an array of media including oils, acrylics, watercolors, and pastels.

His customized computer has tremendous memory to handle the extremely large digital files. As he works, Steve zooms in and out, expanding small areas of a painting so he can work on the most intricate details. The amount of time it takes to complete a digital painting ranges from one week to several months depending on the amount of detail involved. Detailing could go on indefinitely, but Steve always knows when the painting is complete.

Some of the finest galleries in the United States and Europe exhibit Steve’s paintings. Currently Steve lives in Carolina Beach, North Carolina where he continues to create digital masterpieces inspired by the Atlantic.

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