The recent influx of cyberpunk works has led a number of people to think that its static vision of hi-tech dystopias must evolve if it means to survive, but this reimagining doesn’t seem like a good idea to fans of the genre. After all, the cautionary tale it offers its audience is only just beginning to be relevant now that a Blade Runner-esque world has become one of mankind’s potential futures. As Eddie Mendoza says, “I think that we are already kind of living in that cyberpunk era.” With this in mind, it might be fair to say that cyberpunk’s unchanging message is yet to reach its zenith—something that’s bound to happen if we ever begin to see its many worlds morphing into ours.
Romain Jouandeau is a French concept artist who’s currently working on Ghost of Tsushima over at Sucker Punch Productions. Admittedly, we didn’t hear anything about the game until Sony’s E3 2018 press conference, but the gameplay reveal showed a visually striking action-adventure game set in 12th century Japan—putting you in the shoes of one of the few samurai that survived the Mongol Empire’s invasion of Tsushima. Surprisingly, a few days after we saw the VOD, one of our staff writers stumbled upon Jouandeau’s ArtStation portfolio and found a piece for this new game—the one that was selected for the “Into the Pixel” collection. That’s when we knew that we needed to get in touch with Jouandeau to talk about effective environment design.
Andreas Rocha is a Portuguese environment artist who specializes in fantasy and Sci-Fi. He started out with a degree in architecture, but now he’s working as a freelance concept artist whilst creating exclusive content for his sixty-seven patrons. In the past, Rocha’s painterly style earned him the opportunity to work for world-renowned clients like Fantasy Flight Games, The Mill and Wizards of the Coast. Now, you can often find him posting amazing fantastical paintings on his ArtStation page. Our personal favorite is “High Places,” which is a piece he created for one of his Patreon illustration packs (inspired by Paro Taktsang monastery in Bhutan). In this exclusive interview, we will discuss how Rocha feels about Patreon and the benefits that it can bring.
The new Battle Chasers: Night War (2017) is a unique RPG game that needs its artists to work in a very specific art style—an art style like Grace Liu’s. It’s no surprise that hand-painted low-poly 3D will always feel at home in a stylized game, and that’s why the vast majority of you might have seen Liu’s work in games like Diablo III (2012) and League of Legends (2009). With nine years’ worth of experience and the opportunity to work at Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games and Airship Syndicate, I’m sure that she has a lot to teach us all.
Some of you may remember our 2016 interview with Even Mehl Amundsen, and we hope that you’re as excited to catch up with him as we are! For those of you who don’t know, Even is a Norwegian concept artist who specializes in fantasy art. In the past, he has lived in Canada, Czech republic, Norway and the UK, and he has had the opportunity to work for companies like Blizzard Entertainment and VOLTA as he made his way around the world. Now you can find him back Norway, or more specifically, Oslo, where he is working on TEGN. This is Even’s art-book series, a project he started when he challenged himself to draw three hundred and sixty-six unique, story-laced illustrations over the course of one year.
This isn’t the first Vox Groovy interview to feature someone who has worked on Duelyst (2016), but Anton Fadeev is the artist who made the game’s art style pop. His bold colour palette and stupendous environments have been around since the start of its Kickstarter campaign on March 9, 2014. Of course, those of you who continue to follow the game’s development know that the majority of its marketing art was made by him too. We spoke to Anton recently, and we were able to learn more about how he got his first credit (Duelyst) through Keith Lee—an ex-Blizzard developer who showed Anton that his artwork might be worth more than initially thought.
Jakub Javora is a Czech concept artist with a degree in fine arts. In spite of that, he always wanted to work in concept art, and after working as a matte painter for a couple of years, he built a portfolio and moved to Canada. This was Javora’s first opportunity to work on AAA titles at Volta, a renowned concept art studio that has delivered a number projects to companies like Capcom, Riot Games and Ubisoft. In the interview, he said that, “I felt humbled because the artists who are working there are so skilled.” He also said that, “I’ll try to come back to the fine art side of things, just to keep the balance.” So it’s clear that he wants to keep both of his skill-sets sharpened for the for the foreseeable future.
Florent Lebrun is a French concept artist who’s currently working at One Pixel Brush. After moving to Montreal, he chose to transition from matte painting to concept art—a decision he doesn’t regret one bit. When he explained why he made the transition, he said that, “I think that concept art is a lot quicker and more reactive […]“ As a matte painter, Florent worked at MPC, Rodeo FX and Solid State Images. For those of you who are interested in the productions he’s been involved with, the main ones are: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Skyfall and Wrath of the Titans. Still, this is all but a stepping stone in Florent’s journey as a creative professional.
John Grello is currently living in Georgia, United States, where he works as a concept artist at Tripwire Interactive. He is a very good all-rounder, and it’s clear that he enjoys experimenting with new workflows in his spare time. John’s ArtStation is one of the few professional portfolios where you can see a continuous drive to improve. In the interview, he says, “I continue to study on the weekends, just doodling, trying new techniques and hunting down those ‘ah-ha!’ moments.” And it definitely shows!
Michal Sawtyruk is a digital painter and illustrator based in Warsaw, Poland. His work was recently published in THE BEST POLISH ILLUSTRATORS 2—a hefty art-book that features some of Poland’s best contemporary artists. A few well-renowned ones have already been featured on Vox Groovy. But today’s interview is with someone whose work we absolutely love! Sawtyruk has a wonderful collection of personal artworks on ArtStation, but he’s also had the opportunity to work with 3DTotal, DreamWorks Animation and Platige Image in the past. We’re going to talk to him about why you should only draw what you enjoy, and what that could mean for your future as a creative professional. As well as that, we’ll be looking at the ongoing changes in the Polish art scene—specifically at how digital art has changed the industry’s landscape for the better. Finally, you’re going to learn more about Sawtyruk’s journey and personal approach to creating art.