Greetings fellow artists, designers, art directors, art lovers, and gamers! To start this week I’m sharing an artist who I was fortunate enough to meet in person at Gen Con, the talented Anna Christenson. Anna and I have exchanged a few messages this year about art and was one of the people that helped push me to get this blog rolling. Anna’s sense of composition, color, and atmosphere are spectacular! If you’re interested, you can see more of her work at http://www.annaeatspaint.com (love that url!;) Now, without further ado, a brief Q&A and a small sample of Anna’s art!
What inspired you to become an artist?
Anna: I have to say there is no one thing that inspired me to become an artist, but probably a few little things that added up to me finally choosing to pursue art seriously. To start with, both of my parents are artists, and then after my parents’ divorce, my stepfather’s an artist also, so I came from a very artistic background- there was never any shortage of materials in the house, or encouragement. My dad would take me to the college where he taught, and I would hang out in the ceramics department playing with clay. We even had a giant plywood wall in our house just for coloring on; something I keep wanting to do again.
All the artists I knew growing up painted mostly abstract work, so I think thematically the first thing that really caught my attention was Brian Froud and Alan Lee’s book Faeries which I discovered pretty early on. Really excellent illustrations- after seeing that book I was hooked. I think the next thing that encouraged me was collecting Magic cards. I never learned how to play, I just bought them for the art. After that it was just wanting draw all the characters from books I’ve read, games I’ve played (I have some really awful renderings of my characters from Morrowind), or stories I came up with on my own. Oh, and I also only ever drew strong, attractive women- I could probably count on one hand how many men I drew until I went to college.
After going through high school doing that, it was off to college, my first freelance work…and then where I’m at now, still cranking out art.
When did you get your first professional job as an artist and what was it working on?
Anna: Well, my first paid gig that I really remember in was in high school when someone payed me a pretty decent sum for a private commission. I had a number of private commissions, book covers, and character illustrations throughout late high school and some of college. What I’d call my first professional job however was working on A Game of Thrones LCG for Fantasy Flight Games. I got the call for work my senior year of college, and I was so excited! Since then I’ve done a lot of work for FFG, and all of it fun.
What is your favorite medium?
Anna: I’d have to say my favorite medium is gouache. I do however, like digital and do a majority of my professional work digitally. If I have time I like to play around with oils too, but just for myself for the most part.
What is your dream project?
Anna: There are a few dream projects I could think of…but the major ones would be landing a position as a concept artist with Bioware or Blizzard. Next to that, doing some cover illustrations for a good novel would be pretty sweet, or a position drawing lots, and lots, of characters.
What are your current inspirations?
Anna: I’ve always found reading to be inspiring- right now I’m reading the Horus Heresy series based off of Warhammer 40k and my mind is just on astartes (basically genetically engineered super fighters if you are not familiar with the property) and daemons and the warp…. Basically give me a good character description and I’ll probably be inspired. Aside from that, I really enjoy science and the outdoors, and also gaming can help get my mind into a particular genre.
What’s your favorite game?
Anna: I enjoy playing World of Warcraft if I have the time, mostly pvp now since its easy to do on a limited time scale. I also really liked Mass Effect one and two.
My all time favorite however? Diablo.
Light or dark?
Anna: I’m really starting to gear towards dark, evil, and will-crush-your-face.
If you could have lunch with anyone in the world who would it be?
Anna: That’s a tricky question, one I’m not sure I really have an answer for! Perhaps Joe Abercrombie for being such an awesome writer? Or, if Gene Roddenberry was still around I’d at least like to shake his hand.
That wraps up the first artist feature for the week, be sure to drop by Anna’s site and let her know how awesome she is!:) As per the usual, any comments, questions, criticism, or saved rounds can be added into the comments below!
Next up: Functional Design for Mecha and Robots