The industry veteran tells us how to be a successful artist
What did you do before your started working for Carbine?
Besides a lot less driving, I was a senior concept artist and senior animator for Sony in San Diego. Before that I started as an animator on An American Tail [an animated film released in 1986]. I did various character design, animation and storyboard and layout jobs, working both full time and freelance, until I landed at SCEA (Sony Computer Entertainment of America) and we made The Mark of Kri for the PlayStation 2. Since then I’ve launched nine more games.
Who do you count as key influences on your work?
The earliest memory I have of something being imprinted on my mind was seeing Disney’s The Jungle Book. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated and obsessed with character animation and character design, specifically the work of Milt Kahl, John Lounsbery, Marc Davis, Ken Anderson and Bill Peet, as well as Ed Benedict. I was also greatly influenced by European comic artist Albert Uderzo of Astérix and Obelix fame, and Norman Rockwell. And thanks to the internet I’ve discovered so many other great influences it’s ridiculous!
What’s your best tip for artists who want to get into the industry?
Be flexible artistically. If you want to be a visual development artist, in any field, then you need to be able to convey many different ideas visually. If something’s not working you’ve got to try something else. Successful artists are able to adapt to different mediums, styles and genres. As visual development artists, if we want to stay vital then we need to be able to evolve while keeping our work appealing and convincing.
How do you find living and working in Aliso Viejo?
I only work here – I still live in San Diego (and south San Diego at that) and commute every day. Not trying to sound kiss-assy or fake, but doing what I do with the team I work with at Carbine Studios is worth the 160-plus mile drive. That’s three to five hours driving a day. My car isn’t very happy and I wish I was closer to my wife and kids, but it’s not so bad. I just keep the gas tank and iPod loaded.
What are you working on next?
Right now I’ve just got WildStar and its potential incarnations in my sights, and it’s going to look absolutely awesome!