Smith Micro Graphics Software Blog

Featured Artist Spotlight: Sean Earley

Posted by Kayla Cytron-Thaler on Feb 16, 2015 1:00:49 AM

Smith Micro is launching a series of weekly Featured Artists to promote skilled digital artists who use our software; Anime Studio, Poser, and Manga Studio aka Clip Studio Paint. These featured artists are also promoted on our Twitter page and a piece of their work will be shared on Twitter every day of their featured week. Thanks for reading. Enjoy!

Sean Earley is a digital consultant, entrepreneur, writer, musician and pin-up artist from Seattle Washington. By day he helps companies design, develop and market digital platforms and software. By night, as a way to relax, he creates digital pin-up art using Poser Pro 2014 as his tool of choice. His art has been featured in numerous books and publications. He also recently released an online video course that teaches how he creates his amazing pin-up art using Poser.


I originally started using Poser because I was really bad at drawing people. The software is an amazing and invaluable tool for helping me create the more complex, anatomically correct parts of my art that I can't do well by myself. What I love about Poser is its user interface and its ability to very quickly, grab things, move them around, and get the pose and look I am going for.

One of the most common remarks I hear about my work is that they can't believe it's 3D and not an illustration or watercolor. I find this interesting, because it's not something I intentionally do. In fact, what I feel mostly contributes to my personal style is not my technique, but instead my ability to convey an emotion in my work. At least that is my goal.

Based on that, here are 5 useful tips that are key to creating amazing, vintage style pin-up art using Poser

1. Have a goal before you begin - If I know what I am going for in advance, I get better results. I always begin my creative process by doing a great deal of research on pinup fashion and photography, then I try to get an image in my mind before I begin. I rarely just start clicking and hope to come up with something. By doing so, I ​spend less time worrying about perfection, tweaking lights or adding too many unnecessary extras and focus more on getting a well posed character with some life in it.

2. Expression and Emotion - Smiles everyone! Smiles! In my opinion, an alluring expression is 50% of the power of a great pin-up. People naturally tend to focus on faces first and bodies second, so making sure your figure is not only well posed & rendered, but also has an expression that conveys an emotion, is very important. A simple smile, a sultry squint or raised eyebrow will go a long way. It can amplify the wow-factor of your work 100 fold.

3. Less is more - Some of the greatest pin-up art from the old masters feature only a model on a white background. I recommend getting the character to look as realistic as possible and then decide if you need extra scenery. It is so easy to overdo it in 3D. Sometimes it really helps to add things to make an image pop, but sometimes it just distracts. A simple chair, box, flower or standard shape such as a square, ring or circle will often accentuate your image in a much more classy way than lots of complex scenery. Keep things simple.

4. Use Multiple Render Comps - I am definitely not, what some might call, a highly technical "Poser Power User." There are a lot of features in the software that I still have not fully mastered. As a result, I often do many different renders that only highlight specific features. I then take the best parts of each exported render and comp them together and paint them using external image editing programs such as Photoshop and Manga Studio EX.

5. Layer Blending - During post work, I do a lot with layer blending using features such as Overlay and Multiply in Manga Studio. It allows you to achieve some really cool, vintage looking effects by experimenting with the layers, textures and transparency. I think the post work part is where I have the most fun!

All in all, I think what separates true artists from hobbyists is the ability to create something that conveys a compelling emotion and moves people. Use the software as a tool to get you there, whatever your technique is, and you will truly be able to create something special.

You can view more of Sean's work on his art website at:

You can also follow him on: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & DeviantArt

Sean's personal website is


Topics: Featured Artists

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