This versatile, distinctive freelance artist tells us what it’s like to work for Tor
What’s your background?
I grew up in Montana, and moved to Seattle in 2000 to start school at the Art Institute of Seattle. I graduated in 2002 and started working as a modeller and concept artist for ArenaNet in early 2003. Through a lot of work and luck I started as a full-time concept artist in 2007 working on the Guild Wars franchise. In 2008 I began a new role as senior concept artist and illustrator on Guild Wars 2’s cinematic team. I love working in the media arts and feel privileged to be a part of the industry, and I still find time for freelance work on the side.
When did you start working for Tor, and what projects have you worked on so far?
I started working for Tor in 2007. It was my first opportunity to do a cover. The projects I’ve worked on so far have included Grey Moon over China, The Iron Shirts, Faster Gun, and The Last Boat. Cartography is the latest.
How did you get noticed by Tor?
I was part of an online community (ConceptArt.org). One day in the grocery store I walked past the books and I saw a cover I liked. I looked into the publisher, artist and art director, and found out the latter was Irene Gallo. I wrote her an email, and I guess she had seen some of my work already, and she gave me a chance. I was lucky, and I’m always grateful to her for the opportunity.
What’s been the highlight of working for Tor?
I love it when someone says they bought a book just because of my cover. My family are always taking pictures when they see one of my books in the store, too, it feels good! It was always a big goal of mine to do at least one book cover, and now I’ve done plenty!
Outside of work, what do you like to do?
I love going out and drawing at cafés or pubs. It’s also fun to just work in Photoshop by yourself without having a bullet list to go over.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to be an artist, considering the state of the industry right now?
Stay focused on the right disciplines. A lot of people take the easy way out and learn little software tricks, but you can never beat just holding down and working hard on drawing. It’s the key foundation, and it will flow from there.
As well as working for Tor and ArenaNet, work-hungry Richard has created concept art for the movies Prometheus and Thor: The Dark World.