Tan Hui Tian
The senior illustrator on the industry and success
Hello Tan. What did you do before coming to CDS?
I was a game artist at PD Design, and my portfolio consisted of character design, GUI and some environment art.
What’s been the highlight of your time at CDS so far?
Being able to set the art direction and helm projects from start to finish, such as the board game Aether Captains, has been exciting. I also really like working with clients such as GoBoiano [the global network for anime fans and creators]. They are open to wilder stuff and tend to set clear art directions as well.
Outside of your day job, what kind of art do you tend to enjoy producing the most?
Currently I’m obsessed with creating fractal art using Mandelbulb 3D, and learning 3D to supplement my 2D art process. I also have a predilection for world-building though, and I still tend to be more motivated by that.
It’s a time of great change in the industry. But where, in your view, is it heading?
I think the industry has really expanded in the past few decades. Pop culture and even certain subcultures have become mainstream, and nowadays there’s always a mobile games company looking for artists and so forth. There’s even the option of crowdfunding now, too, by way of Kickstarter, Patreon and suchlike. It’s an exciting time. Some sectors of the industry may be stagnating (traditional trading card games, for instance), but there are entirely new sectors which seem to be flourishing as well. I don’t think it’s necessarily easier in this digital age though. Because the competition is really high these days as well, with globalisation and the availability of educational resources.
Lastly, what advice would you have for someone wanting to be a concept artist right now?
I would tell aspiring digital artists not to go to art school unless they’re certain it’s going to pay off for them. None of your prospective employers would ask to see your qualifications, and a lot of educational resources can be found elsewhere. Also, hang out with professionals who can offer practical advice. And most importantly, draw what you like and have fun drawing. Life is simply too short to be someone else.