'We don't paint robots, we paint impressions of robots'

'We don't paint robots, we paint impressions of robots'

What’s your background?

I’m a concept artist and illustrator, though I also do directing. For the past 10 years, I’ve mainly been doing concept art for video games and the film industry.

Is there a typical concept artist role?

There isn’t a straightforward process in concept art, but that’s good. Concept art has become a huge part of development, and of entertainment beyond that. Now there are subsections of the field, so there are concept artists working on the design side of a game, and then people who provide illustrations to help everyone have a clear, shared vision of what the team is producing. Concept art is there not just to help with the design of things, but to keep the vision alive and on track.

Does it guide the creative process?

Yes. You have concept artists who are specialists in characters or animation and figure drawing, and they are an incredibly valuable asset in helping the character and animation teams developing a game. Then there are the artists who work to create environments, and they have an impact on the level design and the team lighting a game.

And then, if you are a prop concept artist, you’re helping the team building 3D art assets for use in the game. Concept art has become so versatile that today we have many specialists in the field.

And it has gone even further now?

What has become increasingly common in recent years – because concept art tends to be quite attractive – is that marketing people have started to use it to promote games. And I’ve worked on games where concept art is given to the player as unlockable achievements. People really like to look at it, so it’s taken on many roles.

Why is it so popular?

I think it resonates so well with people, because it isn’t necessarily an exact presentation of a game. It is more of an impressionistic interpretation of a game. You could say Monet didn’t paint a pond and some flowers; he painted an impression of it. So, in a very cheesy way, I could say we don’t paint the robots fighting; we paint an impression of that.
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