8th of August - 7th of September 2020
Chris Cold is a freelance illustrator and concept artist mainly working in the gaming and movie industry. Even though his work is reflecting the darker sides of fantasy and science fiction, and sometimes horror, he enjoys all manner of things himself, from music to games to other art. His outlook is usually to ignore genres and categories and try to enjoy things just based on how well they are crafted, appreciating the effort and passion that went into them.
What is so different in your art, art style and art processes?
Well, I don't consider my art or style particularly different from many other artists. There certainly exist some artists (historically and in present-day) with a unique style that they can be seen as one of a kind, but I'm less concerned with how my style or process is perceived rather with just what I want to show or do in the imagery I produce, any "style" that comes out of it is just a byproduct of me trying to achieve a pleasant look for the artwork.
I do get told a lot that people like my style and that it's very recognizable as being mine. Maybe I could attribute it to being self-taught, never really went to any art schools or took any art classes, so it's possible that if I do stand out it's simply because I wasn't quite following a laid-out path.
That's about the best explanation I can think of in regards to my stylistic choices.
PILLARS OF TARTARUS
Have you ever accepted a project that you regretted? Which was it?
I don't think I ever regretted any work that came my way. There were jobs I quit, in fact, one was just a couple of months ago (as of the moment I'm writing this), but I don't regret it.
At this point I can say that I have enough experience to smell out a "bad" client from their first email or two, and I had a weird feeling about this specific case as well, I just went against my own instincts and tried to muscle through the work, then ended up quitting it anyway.
So, even if it was a waste of time, I consider it a valuable experience. Receiving work, especially as a freelance artist, can be a very hard thing to turn down. Most artists are willing to accept almost any jobs coming their way even if they are difficult or underpaid, it's something that can stick with a person all throughout their career.
Do you consider designing for games art requires a different skill set than a painting artist? What is/are different?
Oh, it's definitely different. There is of course just illustration work which may be more similar to the traditional idea of art that we know, and nowadays is, at least for the main part, used for promotion (posters, covers, backgrounds, box art, card illustrations, etc etc). But the main bulk is either 3D art or Concept art, which has different priorities.
A concept artist mainly needs to focus on speed and variety without sacrificing coherence and putting out multiple ideas instead of doing one good polished quality artwork. So for example, if I'm working on a video game project and as part of it we need to figure out the design of the final boss and the boss room, it's usually never just one or two illustrations that do it. It's more like 2 dozen rough pieces that all focus on different aspects, maybe one speed-painting will get the body shape right, another gets the colours and tones correct, a 3rd will figure out something different like the atmosphere, and so on.
With a flexible and quick art team that does a few dozen pieces every week, the project becomes really easy to understand in a visual way very quickly. It's how in the end, some of the biggest RPG games that have huge worlds to explore still remain visually coherent and pleasant. The best way to learn the differences and what needs to be done in a game project (from an artist's perspective) is to pick up an artbook of the biggest games and look through that.
What tools do you use for storyboards? Why did you choose these?
I usually use the same tools for everything, which are Photoshop and a Cintiq tablet (or any other similar tablet). Sometimes I sketch with pencils on paper, or sometimes I block out a very basic composition or perspective in 3D, but very rarely, in the end, it all still ends up in Photoshop anyway.
Honestly, storyboards don't differ much from just doing quick concepts, except they are usually even rougher, since they only have to sort of show the "flow" of a scene, not even necessarily any atmosphere or design or anything beyond that. They can, of course, show more, but most of the time you just focus on that one single thing the scene is about. If it's an action sequence, then the storyboards will likely show lots of movement. If it's a horror atmosphere, then they'll show some play of light and shadow, and focus on that. And so watching movies or having some cinematic references on hand is definitely beneficial to trying to figure out some interesting angles and quick compositions, but otherwise, it's rather straight-forward.
Recently we are all facing a pandemic crisis COVID19, did this event inspire/affect you in your art? How do you feel about it?
Well, it didn't affect my work much. At this point I'm working from home pretty much all the time, so I guess I'm kinda lucky and quarantine didn't really screw up my job as it did for so many others.
Actually, I'm located in Spain right now (really nice weather here), and Spain was one of the worse places hit by COVID in Europe, so art aside it felt a bit stressful at first, but the way the people and the authorities handled it here was really commendable, I thought. So I was somewhat hopeful for humanity, but then in the past couple of months, the world news just managed to get from bad to downright chaotic.
If it did inspire me, it was maybe just for some Armageddon scenario, but I had enough inspiration for that already. Let's see what 2021 will bring.
CASTLE WORLD PILLARS