Dec 152012
 

Another Epic Level Artistry here at Troll in the Corner! This month we have only one artist, but what an artist! Jeremy Kostiew is an an artist and graphic designer whose work you might be familiar with if you listen to any of our podcasts such as IndieTalks or Geek Explicitly. He was awesome enough to answer some questions, talk a bit about about the importance of logos and why as an artist you should have a cat. Let’s read what he had to say!

Portrait of the Artist as a...I have no idea. by Jeremy Kostiew

Portrait of the Artist as a…I have no idea. by Jeremy Kostiew

You do a lot of logos. What do you think a logo should do and what questions do you ask yourself before you dive in and design them?
First and foremost, a logo should make the client happy. It doesn’t matter what I think is a good design goal if the person I’m designing for doesn’t like it. I like to see the client’s logo- and art-related history before I start. What did they have done for their last logo? Do they favor a color or depth of saturation? Is there a style of font they tend to use? Are there other common elements?

Then I start thinking about the medium. Clean lines and vectors? That’ll put me knee-deep in Illustrator and Flash. Details and textures? Photoshop! Something 3D? SketchUp!

And then I have to consider the time I’ve got to complete it. A day? A week? Nebulous? Without a proper deadline I drag my feet like an extra in Dawn of the Dead.

Do you think logos have a place in-game? We all know branding is important in real life but how can people use logos to enhance their settings and adventures?
I certainly do!

White Wolf has always punctuated the insular nature of its character-types with symbols: Clan, tribe, Tradition, Sept — they’re all represented by some pretty fantastic logos. There isn’t a Vampire: the Masquerade player alive who couldn’t pull the Toreador rose from out of the infinite depth of rose clipart you get with Google Image Search.

Then you have Dungeons & Dragons, which has remarkable depictions of its gods’ iconography. How many Forgotten Realms paladins have had the upraised hand of Torm on a holy symbol around their neck? How many thieves have kissed the coin of Tymora before a risky task?
And Shadowrun! How many riggers have stared longingly at a personal assault drone branded with the Ares Macrotechnology logo?

Be it a secret society, a heroic team of superfriends, or an evil megacorp I think solid, evocative heraldry is one of the better ways to flavor a group without direct interaction. It can be a calling card, a warning, a mark of ownership. And having something actually marked with an in-game sigil can turn a simple, printed letter into the highlight of a session.

So, tell us a little bit about yourself and your history with art in games and RPGs.
I got started doing actual game art when I bothered Machine Age Production‘s David Hill on Twitter. He posted a logo for his reincarnation-and-romance adventure game Amaranthine, and I had some critiques. Eventually, I bothered him so much that he just sent me the files, and I made my corrections. And I’ve never stopped bugging him! Eventually, he and his partner Filamena Young began pointing me out to their friends, and I became confident enough in my developing style to bother everyone else in the world.

Farewell to Fear Intro Image by Jeremy Kostiew

Farewell to Fear Intro Image by Jeremy Kostiew

What’s your favourite system to play? Is there a setting/system you love making art for in particular? What is it about this world/system that inspires you?
My favorite system, right now, is FATE. The Dresden Files RPG in specific. I love making cheesy book covers for the “novels” of my Dresden games. All two of them.

Recently, I’ve done some fanart for White Wolf’s Exalted that’s far outside my usual artistic comfort zone. The art in those books is what makes me want to be a roleplaying game artist. UDON, Kiyo, Spencer, Melissa Uran – they’re favorites of mine, and why I strive to improve. It’s my long-term goal to have art in an Exalted book.

Do you prefer to GM or play as a PC? Do you find this affects your art?
Defintiely play. I like GMing now and again, particularly if I’m introducing someone to a game I love, but being a player is where my heart is. Being a player lets me doodle at the table, so it directly affects my art!

Do you find yourself more drawn to drawing locations or people? Do you have them fleshed out before you bring pencil to paper (to use an old idiom) or do the ideas and the image kind of grow side by side?
Actually, I tend to draw objects more than anything else! And I generally have a vague idea before I put anything down, but it almost never ends up as I first imagined it. I do really like drawing locations (mostly in 3D), but my people are almost never satisfactory. I’m working on that any chance I get.

Werewolf by Jeremy Kostiew

Werewolf by Jeremy Kostiew

What’s your preferred medium to work with? Do you work digitally, on paper or some mix?
Digital. Ctrl+Z is the only reason my blood pressure isn’t through the roof. I’m pretty well versed in a large suite of digital stuff, though. Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, SketchUp, Corel Painter, AutoCAD. I’ll use a more traditional medium every now and again, but I hate eraser lines!

How much time would you say you spend in a week making art? How much time in a week would you say you spend gaming?
Art is pretty much a part time job’s worth of hours in my week, with occasional overtime. Gaming is another part time job! Between my day job, art and gaming, I probably don’t sleep as much as I should. When the weather’s cool, I try to make up for that lack of naptime by curling up in the backseat of my car during my lunch hour.

Are there any trends, either genre-wise or technique-wise that you’re seeing in RPG/game art that you’re enjoying now? Is there anything you want to see more of or things you don’t like?
In the past few years I’ve seen a number of artists from online communities like DeviantArt make it big, and that’s amazing. Seeing an artist I dig go from a few dozen views a month to featured in an UDON tribute? That’s the best, most-exciting thing in the world.
There’s also been a push for more appropriate cheesecake in RPG art. Whether that’s gender/skintone/bodytype equitable cheesecake, or forgoing ‘sexy badass’ when ‘badass’ alone makes more sense, I’m happy to see the hobby taking steps to expand its artistic horizons. While I adore beautifully drawn cheesecake, there’s already a lot of it out there for me. It’s pretty amazing to see genre art realize this, and work toward making games even more inclusive.

STAF by Jeremy Kostiew

STAF by Jeremy Kostiew

Whose art do you like the most? Whose art would you say has influenced you or do you try to emulate?
Oh, jeez. Where to start? There are the titans of traditional genre art, RK Post, BROM, Boris Vallejo, Julia Bell, etc etc etc… My comic art talent-crushes: Mike Mignola, Long Vo, Jim Zub, and Alex Ross. There are my personal RPG-art heroes: Melissa Uran, Ron Spencer, Steve Prescott, Kiyo, DiTerlizzi. Then there are the little guys who SHOULD be big: Jenna Fowler, Susan Knowles, Amy Clare Learmonth, Jared von Hindman, Timm Henson. I’m probably missing a dozen more names! There are too many people that inspire me to do art.

What tools do you use to make art? What tools/items do you need to game?
For art? MSPaint, Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, SketchUp. Sometimes a Wacom. Not frequently. And a small mouse for my HUGE HANDS. For gaming? FUDGE dice. A good, small mouse. Lots of D10s and the occasional D20. Oh! And a nice, warm coat for winter LARPing.

What projects have you worked on in the past? Can you tell us what you’re currently working on or have in the queue?
I’ve got a huge number of Machine Age Productions’ logos, some interior art and the cover to their recently released Farewell to Fear. It’s tremendous fun to work with as passionate about gaming as David and Filamena, and I leap at the chance every time they need something drawn. I did the company logo for ENnie Award-winning RPG design badasses VSCA Publishing, and that was sort of a dream. I love their Hollowpoint. Left of the Moon Games, Magpie Games, Play Attention Games. A kindly handful of indie RPG developers have been kind enough to feature my work on their products/brands. I’ve also had the pleasure of doing a number of logos for the Troll in the Corner Podcast network!

Right now I’m working on stuff for Play Attention Games and TrolliTC’s own Wargaming Recon!

Wardogs of Atlantis by Jeremy Kostiew

Wardogs of Atlantis by Jeremy Kostiew

Are there any pieces you’re particularly proud of? A favourite character you managed to pin down or something really funny/touching/dramatic you captured?
I have a character I’ve been doodling since high school. It’s my version of the Mothman urban legend, set in a fictional Hong Kong, with more than a few nods to John Woo movies. But my favorite current piece are either the cover for Nathanael Cole’s Motobushido, or the Indie Talks logo. I love that microphone!

What would be a dream job/commission?
Anything for White Wolf! They’ve fostered the largest number of games I’ve been a part of, including LARPs and tabletop, and almost every contemporary artist I love has done work for them in some manner. Exalted is the title I’d specifically love to work on.

When you’re not making art or gaming, what are you doing?
I’m generally doing design work for the solar industry, or cruising Google+ like an internet shark. I also have a fondness for wine that I’m trying to cultivate – and being so close to the Napa Valley it isn’t terribly hard!

Do you have any advice for people who are trying to find artists to hire? To artists trying to get their work out there?
Bug David Hill and Filamena Young until they question the worth of your friendship! But seriously, never stop asking for work. And have a portfolio that isn’t hosted DeviantArt. If you DO require DA to be your sole place of artistic hosting CHECK YOUR MESSAGES EVERYDAY. And do art a lot. And have a cat to pet furiously when you’re turned down. Feline fur absorbs rejection-tears with amazing efficiency.

************************************

I have a cat for the exact same reason.

I want to thank Jeremy and all the other amazing artists that helped kick of Epic Level Artistry this year! I hope you all enjoyed seeing their art and reading their answers and advice and maybe got inspired to draw a bit yourself. Thank you all for reading and hope to being you even more great fantasy, sci fi and RPG art in 2013. Cheers!

About Tristan J Tarwater

Tristan is the author of 'The Valley of Ten Crescents' series and someone who is obsessed with elves. She once gave her 3.5 elf druid 'Skill: Basketweaving' just so she could take the spell, 'Beget Bogun.' Check out more of her work at backthatelfup.com

Epic Level Artistry: Ryan Rhodes

 Epic Level Artistry, Role Playing Games  Comments Off on Epic Level Artistry: Ryan Rhodes
Oct 152012
 

It’s the middle of the month and time for another installment of Epic Level Artistry! This time we are stoked to have Ryan Rhodes, illustrator, graphic artist and RPG player. From science fiction, fantasy, western and/or steampunk, Ryan is able to lend his style to many different genres and infuses life and humor in many of his images.  Check it out!

Merman by Ryan Rhodes

So, tell us a little bit about yourself and your history with art in games and RPGs.
I joined the Star Wars Artists’ Guild in 2002, shortly after it got its first official site. I was a community member, then, not an artist. I think I was only 15. I was drawing, but I was pretty shit at it. I wanted more than anything to be a guild member and draw people’s characters, but my application was denied twice. I had some personal correspondence with Daniel Falconer (who did concept art for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films), and he gave me a lot of advice. I tried emulating what I saw him and some other artists like Khairul Hisham doing at the time, started experimenting with ink, and built a really novice portfolio. That was enough to get me in the guild. Since then, I’ve done a ton of Star Wars RPG art. I’ve done a lot for free, through the site, and a fair share of private commissions. At some point I branched from Star Wars and started playing other games like D&D, and I started doing art for those games, too. About two years ago I started getting regular paid work for small-time RPG content publishers.

What’s your favourite system to play? Is there a setting/system you love making art for in particular? What is it about this world/system that inspires you?
My favorite system is actually Marvel’s diceless RPG system. I’m not sure how many people play that or even remember it, but I thought it was brilliant. I really liked the Cortex system for Serenity RPG, and Decipher’s LOTR. But of course I play a lot of Star Wars. And recently, a lot of Pathfinder. That’s my favorite at the moment.

Do you prefer to GM or play as a PC? Do you find this affects your art?
I’ve spent a lot more time GMing than playing. I didn’t necessarily choose to, but it’s worked out that way. And once people decide you’re good at something, you’re generally stuck with it. I love GMing, but I love having a break once in a while to play, too. I think when I’m playing (rather than GMing) I do a lot more art for my home game. I think being a player frees me up to be creative in other areas. Being a GM can be pretty taxing.

Do you find yourself more drawn to drawing locations or people? Do you have them fleshed out before you bring pencil to paper (to use an old idiom) or do the ideas and the image kind of grow side by side?
I almost exclusively draw characters. I’ve been playing around with more scenes and landscapes lately, integrating these things together. But characters are definitely my milieu. For me, the concept and the image definitely grow together on the paper. It’s very rare that I get a really clear mental image of what I’m going to draw before I draw it, and it’s usually wrong.

What’s your preferred medium to work with? Do you work digitally, on paper or some mix?
I’ve been doing digital illustration for several years now, which is the avenue I went down trying to find perfect ink lines. The computer gives me a level of control I really like. I can be a real perfectionist with my lines if I want. But I still love sketching on paper from time to time, mostly to unwind. Sometimes I really like that the real ink lines on paper are kind of messy and noisy and misbehave.

How much time would you say you spend in a week making art? How much time in a week would you say you spend gaming?
I think I spend at least six hours a week drawing. I tend to sit down and draw for about 2 to 4 hours at a time, and I almost always do a piece from start to finish in one sitting. I haven’t gamed much in the last few years. My friends and I have slowly been moving away for school and work, and it’s been hard to find time to get together. I gamed almost nonstop over the summer while my little brothers were staying at my house. All they wanted to do was play Pathfinder every day.

Cosmic Frog Jam by Ryan Rhodes

Are there any trends, either genre-wise or technique-wise that you’re seeing in RPG/game art that you’re enjoying now? Is there anything you want to see more of or things you don’t like?
One thing I notice about character art, especially in Pathfinder, is that the characters are totally laden with gear, which I find aesthetically shitty, and totally hilarious and appropriate from a gaming perspective. I still like the sketchy character portraits from D&D 3.5, and I think the character art from Decipher’s LOTR really hit on that style. I think it really works for fantasy, which is funny because I’ve been doing a lot of fantasy art lately, and my style is like the antithesis of that! I remember noticing some art in a style more or less similar to mine in some of the later Star Wars Saga Edition books. I think it really works for sci-fi.

Whose art do you like the most? Whose art would you say has influenced you or do you try to emulate?
My first love was for R.K. Post, and I still really like his stuff. I think a major influence was Daniel Falconer, more than any other. I had been trying to emulate his pen and marker style for years. Grant Gould is also a major influence; I love his brush pen lines and digital colors. But I think I was also influenced by traditional artists like Mucha, Toulouse-Lautrec, Privat Livemont, and others.

What tools do you use to make art? What tools/items do you need to game?
I draw with an Intuos tablet and Photoshop CS4. I also draw on paper at times with pigma microns and brush pen. I have a nice sepia set I really love.

What projects have you worked on in the past? Can you tell us what you’re currently working on or have in the queue?
I did some work for a steampunk space western RPG called Westward, published by Wicked North, and contributed to a couple resources by VonSchlick including a superhero and a horror gallery. Lately I’ve been working for Purple Duck Games, doing fantasy art for various projects. Lots and lots of character and monster art. I’ve really been enjoying the work with Mark Gedak, at Purple Duck. I feel like he has a good handle on my abilities and gives me stuff I really enjoy.

Self Portrait by Ryan Rhodes

Are there any pieces you’re particularly proud of? A favourite character you managed to pin down or something really funny/touching/dramatic you captured?
I’m pretty proud of a character portrait I did for myself, of a character I played in a Pathfinder game two years ago. He was sort of my take on Merman, from Masters of the Universe. I have a few Star Wars pieces that I think are pretty killer, and a couple fantasy pieces that turned out way better than I anticipated.

What would be a dream job/commission?
A dream job for me would be to collaborate with someone really motivated and knowledgeable on a big project, like creating our own sci-fi RPG. I’d also love to work on a big illustration project, maybe like a storybook or something. That would be challenging, but worthwhile.

When you’re not making art or gaming, what are you doing?
I’m working on my MA in linguistics right now, so I do a lot of research and conduct experiments occasionally. I do a lot of reading, and I play a lot of board games with my girlfriend. She’s not into d20, so we’ve been trying to find a game system she and I can both enjoy.

Do you have any advice for people who are trying to find artists to hire? To artists trying to get their work out there?
For people looking to hire artists, I think I’d say don’t over-specify your wants. You never know when an artist might surprise you with something you didn’t even realize you wanted. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone else’s input on your vision. To artists, I would say try to be outgoing. This is my biggest hurdle. I’ve been lucky that other artists have opened up to me, because I don’t really put myself out there enough. I owe a lot to the artists that do!

Your ‘Context Free Comics’ are really funny. Are those posted anywhere or do you just do them as the mood strikes you?
I post them here: http://contextfreecomics.blogspot.com/. But I should warn you, I haven’t updated in 7 months. Maybe if my other work slows down, I’ll get back to the comics. I know my girlfriend has plenty of ideas!

Regarding your graphic design pieces, when you’re designing for an organization or an event, what do you take into consideration first? How do you decide on fonts/images? What comes first when you’re composing the design? How is it different from illustration?
All the graphic design work I’ve done has been pro bono, either for an organization I belong to, or as a favor for friends and family. Sometimes they have very specific wants, which can make the job a lot easier. Otherwise, I try to find the core message and use that to guide the aesthetic. Like everything else I do, this is a monkey-throwing-darts kind of process, where I try lots and lots of different angles until I find something that resonates. I never studied this stuff in school, so it’s a very intuitive process.

The first thing is always the imagery. I find the image I want to convey, and I fit everything else into that, hopefully in a way that flows well. In illustration, I have to think about how to highlight a character within the parameters of the medium, so I have to decide what they’re wearing, what they’re holding, how they’re poised, in a way that reveals something about them. In graphic design, there are similar principles, but applied to the arrangement of image and information.

Your bio says you’re a linguist. What languages do you speak/have you studied? Do you ever incorporate this into gaming?
Well, I’m not a polyglot, but I think every linguist knows something about a huge number of languages, even if we don’t speak them. Right now I’m working on a local language called Chukchansi (a Yokuts language of Central California). Their tribe recently donated a lot of money to our linguistics department for a language revitalization project.

As far as incorporating this into gaming, I think it has definitely aided our ability to make up alien languages on the spot. My friends and I have fun ad-libbing alien dialogue during our Star Wars games, and I think having studied so many languages, and having a general linguistic curiosity plays into that. I actually spent hours in front of the TV with a notepad during middle school trying to decipher the alien languages of Star Wars. I found out later that there’s nothing to decipher, and they’re all nonsense. I should have invested my time in Klingon…

Please drop a fresh beat for us.

Fresh Beet by Ryan Rhodes. HA!

 

So there you have it! If you dig what you see here you can find Ryan’s portfolio or check out his dA. Thanks to Ryan for taking the time out for answering our questions; happy gaming!

About Tristan J Tarwater

Tristan is the author of 'The Valley of Ten Crescents' series and someone who is obsessed with elves. She once gave her 3.5 elf druid 'Skill: Basketweaving' just so she could take the spell, 'Beget Bogun.' Check out more of her work at backthatelfup.com

Sep 302012
 

Welcome back to Epic Level Artistry, where we get to hear from the artists that illustrate the RPGs we know and love. For our second installment we have Devin Night, a designer, illustrator, teacher and family man out of the Midwest. In addition to designing crafts and weapons for your characters to drive and wield, he also creates overhead tokens, a really awesome tool GMs can bring to the gaming table or gaming screen. Devin was awesome enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his art and gaming career. Check it out!

Displacer Beast by Devin Night

How did you get into making overhead tokens? I learned about their existence through the Tabletop Forge Kickstarter and honestly, they’re very cool.

Thanks. I started making tokens shortly into using Fantasy Grounds. It came with a base set of letter tokens for marking character position on a map. Once I realized they were .png files I made some really simple orc tokens. They were crude but as I kept working on the tokens over the years the style has matured and the tokens look better.

Between producing such great work at a high volume and having a family, how do you manage to keep from going insane?
It would be hard to prove that I’m not. Creating is what keeps me sane, I love making stuff, any kind of stuff, from the tokens, to illustrations, game pieces and also shelves. There just isn’t enough shelving designed to hold board games, or art supplies or miniatures. Custom shelving is what I do whenever I need to make something with power tools. But the bottom line is that creating things keeps me feeling good about myself. Also I’d like to mention that my wife is very supportive and my girls are totally awesome.

Do you have time to illustrate your own characters for campaigns you’re in?
I will sometimes sketch things from my games, but I haven’t really had time to do that for the past couple years. I’ve been working on so many projects over the course of the past couple years that when I have downtime I think about doing more… but I usually just end up relaxing instead. Being creative all the time can be very draining. I used to illustrate everyone’s characters. Now I make tokens to represent them in game.

What’s your favorite Classico pasta sauce? (you don’t have to actually answer this one, I just saw the images in your portfolio and thought I’d ask)
I did a bunch of work for Classico right out of college making mock-up boards for a lot of their products and possible product ideas. It paid well and was a great experience, sadly I have ever only had one flavor, which I can’t remember.

What’s your favourite system to play? Is there a setting/system you love making art for in particular? What is it about this world/system that inspires you?
I have been playing DnD for 30 years. I have dabbled in other systems and own a ton of boardgames. Just recently I decided I needed a break from DnD and I have a really yearning for some sic-fi. So once I get the current batch of tokens done I plan on making a set of tokens that are space/sci-fi in nature. Throw in some robots and aliens and I may have a whole new line of tokens.

Old Temple by Devin Night

Do you prefer to GM or play as a PC? Do you find this affects your art?
I actually prefer to DM. I love the story telling aspect and I think I love getting the players to work with me to advance the story. When I GM I’m ore likely to make the maps, handouts and tokens needed to make the game feel more cohesive.

Do you find yourself more drawn to drawing locations or people? Do you have them fleshed out before you bring pencil to paper (to use an old idiom) or do the ideas and the image kind of grow side by side?
I love locations, I could have easily been an architect if my math skills weren’t so horrible. Even though I do a lot of character drawings I feel like I need to improve a lot in that area. I don’t draw as many places as I would like to either. I think it’s just a matter of not having the time to get to all the things I want to do. I like places with history where the people changed the place and where the place changed the people. When I make maps I try think about how a natural environment becomes the home of a group of people, and then how that group of people would change the place to suit their needs.

What’s your preferred medium to work with? Do you work digitally, on paper or some mix?
I work almost entirely digitally now. I used to hand draw everything then color it digitally. Now I do all my rough sketching on paper… I think it’s still the best way to conceptualize. However once I have a rough sketch I go right to re-drawing and coloring on the computer.

How much time would you say you spend in a week making art? How much time in a week would you say you spend gaming?
I spend about 4-6 hours a day making art. I would spend about 10-12 if I didn’t have other things that I needed to do. Like eating, moving around, and taking care of the girls. Now that the girls are in school I’m getting more time to focus on work but I would still love to add about three more hours to the day. I just recently broke up with my gaming group, well more like took a break. We have played regularly every Tuesday night for over five years. It’s fun but right now my heart is just into creating art, and the 3-4 hours we were playing just seemed to keep me away from doing it. I still like to fit in a couple hours or an evening when I can to play board games with friends or family.

Aether Pistols by Devin NightAre there any trends, either genre-wise or technique-wise that you’re seeing in RPG/game art that you’re enjoying now? Is there anything you want to see more of or things you don’t like?
I’ve always been a closet Anime lover. I like very stylized and clean art. But there is just amazing art everywhere you look and on any given day I’ll see something that just makes me want to try and push my own work that much further. There isn’t much I don’t like except maybe bad art :) that includes some of my own past work.

Whose art do you like the most? Whose art would you say has influenced you or do you try to emulate?
The list of great artists worth trying to emulate would be a long one. It would also change depending on what project I wanted to work on. I really like Wayne Reynolds and Steve Prescott as far as illustrators go. Full disclosure, Steve and I are pretty good friends who graduated from CCAD together with several other talented people. It was freshman year that I decided to go into design as a direct result of seeing how good Steve was. I figured if I couldn’t compete with him and some of the other guys I would get more computer classes in. Back then Computer classes were reserved for Design majors and getting to use them was easier in the Design track. I have several pieces of Steve’s art hanging up around me and it keeps me pushing to get better at what I do. Fortunately I found a niche making overhead token art that not too many people seem interested in doing.

 What tools do you use to make art? What tools/items do you need to game?
Mechanical pencil and paper to get started. Then a 27 inch iMac and Wacom Tablet running Photoshop and Illustrator to make the digital art. Sometimes I will open up Carrara to do quick 3d models of the things I need to draw, or given the time use 3d modeling to complete an illustration. Virtual gaming has really changed the way I play games, though I still buy tons of board games and recently invested a small amount into making my own dungeons using Hirst Arts Castle molds. Making three-dimensional representations of dungeons to play games on just seems so cool. Also the girls will really like it when it’s done.

Skeleton Mage by Devin NightWhat projects have you worked on in the past? Can you tell us what you’re currently working on or have in the queue?
I don’t know for sure when this will be posted, but I’ll guess that my Kickstarter has finished and I’m making 200+ tokens of monsters. I’m also making 30 custom character tokens for the Tabletop Forge Kickstarter. I help Rite Publishing with their monthly ezine Pathways doing the layout for the covers. I’m working on maps for the En Publishing Zeitgist campaign and did 12 ship maps for the Naval Warfare Kickstarter. I work a lot with small publishers and indie game developers as well. I just got asked to help with a very cool project, but it’s in the early stages and I can’t talk about it yet.

Are there any pieces you’re particularly proud of? A favourite character you managed to pin down or something really funny/touching/dramatic you captured?
Usually the last piece of work I managed to finish. Like most artists I’m pretty critical of my own work so I’m never really satisfied with things when I look back on them. Most of the work that gets posted to my blog makes me happy at the time I put it up there.

What would be a dream job/commission?
I’ve always wanted to run a hobby shop, one with really big tables for open play and lots of sunlight. I’d also really enjoy working for most major board game companies like Fantasy Flight, my job description would have to include walking around and dipping my fingers into every game and every aspect of those games. From rules, to art, layout, game design and mini visualization. I wouldn’t be happy with just dealing with one tiny aspect of any part.

When you’re not making art or gaming, what are you doing?
If I’m not making art or gaming I’m thinking about it. Sometimes when i have no choice about working I will visualize myself working through a project and make a step by step outline of how to approach a project. When I do get back into the chair the majority of the work is done, I just then need to perform the action of doing it. This summer I spent a lot of time running around with the girls, swimming, biking, and a little camping.

Dragonkin Weapons by Devin NightDo you have any advice for people who are trying to find artists to hire? To artists trying to get their work out there?
Look around, there are a ton of great artists, and they are easier than ever to track down and work with. I have worked with more people that I have never met than people who I have ever spent time with. Hang out forums where they post their work. You can get a good picture of an artist by their posted work and how they handle themselves publicly. If you are an artist trying to get exposure.. do your work, do a lot of it, share it with others. Don’t expect to make a ton of money early on, but don’t give it away either. Art is job and even if it is fun, it’s still work. Once you get a job do your best to fulfill the needs of the client in a timely manner and keep communications open.

 

If you’re interested in seeing more of Devin’s tokens and art you can check out Devinnight’s Token Blog and his portfolio at Immortal Nights. With so many great projects he’s working on, I’m so glad he took the time out to talk to us; hope you enjoyed reading about his experiences and seeing the great art he’s bringing to the RPG world!

 

Are you an artist interested in being interviewed for Epic Level Artistry? Send an email to trisj at backthatelfup dot com with a bit about yourself and a link to your portfolio. We’ve got a few slots left for this year and will be starting up again in 2013. Happy drawing!

About Tristan J Tarwater

Tristan is the author of 'The Valley of Ten Crescents' series and someone who is obsessed with elves. She once gave her 3.5 elf druid 'Skill: Basketweaving' just so she could take the spell, 'Beget Bogun.' Check out more of her work at backthatelfup.com

Oct 192010
 

Our friend Olan, author of the Loaded Dice rpg webcomic over at Red Dragon Inn is looking for some help.  Unfortunately, due to busy schedules his artist Lyra needs to drop the comic and that leaves him desperately searching for someone new to take over.

This could be a great opportunity for an artist to jump into the RPG comic crowd and it comes with a nice following (myself included) right off the bat.  If you’re interested, click HERE to read what Olan is looking for and how you can get involved.  Even if you don’t, it’s just on hiatus while they get themselves together, so take a little bit of time to read through the older content and get acquainted with some great gamer humor.

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[tags]Comics, webcomics, artists, rpg, gaming [/tags]

About Nick Nundahl

I'm a wild haired demi-viking living on the East Coast United States. I've run games in countless systems and tanked more game nights than I've ever run successfully, but hopefully I learned a lot in the process and I'd like to pass that on. Follow me on Twitter.