Luke Schaefer Blends Realism Into Fantasy


At an early age, realist painter Gustave Courbet rejected the Romantic artists at his time and chose instead to paint real life, helping to pioneer the Realist movement.  Fantasy artist Boris Vallejo started drawing at the age of 13 science fiction characters. Inspired by these two artists sophomore Luke Schaefer blends the techniques pioneered by these two artists to create realistic fantasy artwork.

Luke Schaefer, an aspiring artist in his sophomore year at CVHS, is an artist in development. For him, art is a way to relax and concentrate during class. In the 6th grade, he discovered his burning passion for art and began drawing every day for the next four years to hone his skills.

Schaefer has about 10 sketchbooks, which he works on simultaneously. Taking about 6-8 hours for each of his art pieces. Both his sketches and finalized pieces convey his art style, which is fantasy and realism.

In 2018, Schaefer started to show his art to friends and adults alike, in and out of school. He noticed that more and more people started to gravitate towards his art. This gave him the idea of selling his works. Through talking to potential art buyers, he learned how to appeal to other people’s taste, while also staying true to his style. He now sells his art on 8×11 paper, ranging from colored pieces for 40 dollars and sketches for 20.


From Schaefer’s Sketchbook


One of the images I found interesting is the one above. The drawing displays a tall, fictional creature, that seems like it is right out of a horror movie. Through shading, there is a clear definition of the muscle and bone. The wrinkles and muscle like flesh give it an almost terrifyingly realistic look to it. He draws little hairs sticking out all across the body, which gives the drawing more depth. The creature appears to have a skull or hard protection as the face, making it seem as if it is a half-human, half-bird hybrid. There are four nostrils on the top of the beak, and fangs protruding from the bottom side. The claws of the hands and feet look to be as sharp as knives. Since it is a sketch, it really captures his capability to shade, giving it a realistic effect, even when mixed with a fantasy aspect.


This drawing shows a sketch of an owl in the progress of being colored in colored pencils. Schaefer blends the colors to capture the shine of the feathers, making the owl look as if it is made out of gems. The claws of the bird are digging into the surface that it’s standing on and you can see the scruff on the legs. The vibrant streaks of green and gold with a hint of blue are being used to color the bird, giving off a sense of tranquility. This drawing shows his realistic style, but also his ability to create fantasy from color and paper.

Schaefer strives to become a better artist every day. The improvement and success of other artists inspire him to become better himself. He aspires to exceed his current skills and create a career out of art. And if that isn’t possible, then it’d be a hobby or side-job. As a developing artist, Schaefer’s motivation and perseverance to make his art known to the public speaks of a professional career that is already in development.