Lee Fitzger­ald

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - North Front Studio -

The ex-me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer talks about his lucky break

How did you go from me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer to con­cept artist?

I’d been draw­ing all my life. But I never re­ally thought I’d get good enough, so I didn’t work at it pro­fes­sion­ally. I stud­ied en­gi­neer­ing at col­lege, and per­se­vered with that for a cou­ple of years. But I re­alised I wasn’t re­ally happy, and felt like I could give the art thing at least a good try. When my girl­friend and I planned to move to Canada on a work­ing hol­i­day, I thought I may as well go for it. So af­ter we moved here, I spent two months work­ing on my port­fo­lio, try­ing to get it up to con­cept art qual­ity. I had no job, so I spent eight hours paint­ing, ev­ery day. It was a bit of a grind.

And then you got in touch with North Front Stu­dios?

Yeah, and I asked if they were think­ing of hir­ing any­body in a ju­nior po­si­tion. I spoke with the guys, we got on re­ally well, and they made me an of­fer to come here on a three­month con­tract, just to see how we got on. And it’s been ab­so­lutely bril­liant. I’ve been re­ally lucky.

What work have you been do­ing?

When I was build­ing my port­fo­lio I thought I was more in­clined to char­ac­ter de­sign and char­ac­ter art. But since I’ve come here, I’ve had the chance to do more keyframe il­lus­tra­tion as well as tech­nol­ogy de­sign, ve­hi­cle de­sign… things like that. And I’ve grown to love it. I’ve been us­ing MODO, Pho­to­shop and lit­tle bit of DAZ Stu­dio. It’s been a great chance to com­bine all those pro­grams and learn all about that kind of work­flow.

How have you found life in Canada?

I know it’s a bit of a stereo­type, but ev­ery­one here’s so po­lite. Peo­ple on the street will just come up and start talk­ing to you. It’s very dif­fer­ent from back home in Ire­land. And the in­fra­struc­ture is a lot bet­ter: the trans­port sys­tem makes it so easy to get to and from work.

Who in­spires you?

Over the past five or six years I’ve been fol­low­ing the work of a lot of con­cept artists on­line. I never re­ally thought I would come into this full­time, but I guess I must have al­ways thought at the back of my mind, “One day I’m ac­tu­ally go­ing to give this a go”. So I fol­lowed peo­ple like An­thony Jones, who are re­ally open about what they do and how they’re de­vel­op­ing their tech­niques. Since work­ing here at North Front, of course, I’ve felt in­cred­i­bly in­spired by Tim and Ryan, and started pro­duc­ing my best art.

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