Illustrations of races and dragons are without any exaggeration flawless and have been brightening up the game environment for quite some time. Who is behind them? Read the interview and find out more.
The illustrations are work of the painter and illustrator Aleš Veselý from Brno, Czech Republic who works in the atelier Malujeme jinak (We paint differently). So we picked up the phone, interviewed him and revealed their origins.
Hi Aleš, what exactly means “differently” in the name of your atelier?
Aleš: Well, that’s complicated (laughing). We created it, because we wanted to create wall paintings, but better than it is usual here in Brno. And distinguish ourselves, so people could remember us. But the original intention was to be better, to approach the art more responsibly. So that’s how we created this name.
Red Dragon is a video game from fantasy environment. What is your relation to games and fantasy? Are you playing any games now?
A: I’m not playing any games, but I grew up on Warcraft, the strategic one, not World of Warcraft. I stopped playing games when I was around twenty and didn’t come back to them.
A: Well, fantasy, I’m not some hardcore follower, but we used to play Dragon’s Lair, when it came out. You know Dragon’s Lair, right?
Yes, I do. I used to play it as well. The environment isn’t unknown to you.
A: Sure, I enjoyed it.
We can tell from the way you portraited the races. They are great and distinguished, I haven’t seen any similar illustrations. Where did you find inspiration during their creation?
A: Most of it came from the conventional traits of individual races. Elves are for example such and such with elegant and noble stance. So, I wanted them to express their usual traits. Those were the basics I knew from the past. And then I gave them specific character in the drawing itself. And I of course took something from the internet, that’s a huge source. I did a survey to learn what’s going on. I always do that, find the best things and then further process them. You always need some source of inspiration.
Sure thing, have you encountered any specific problems during your work with the races?
A: I guess not. It went quite smoothly. When I was sitting somewhere, I began predrawing them and most of the time used these concepts straight away. I didn’t struggle too much. Characters are my strong suit, I just had to match their positions and faces were the most complicated. The orc, for example. I didn’t want to use his classic sharp fangs like he has in Warcraft. I wanted him to be different. In the end I found inspiration in some fruit, I think it was a sliced fig. It has some fibres and I wanted to model his face based on them. To make it wrinkled. But apart from positions and faces there weren’t any problems. It was pretty straightforward.
And which race was the hardest one?
A: Hmmm, wait, I’ll look at them… I think it was the genie. He is usually a fairy tale figure from Arabia, where is everything colourful. And I had to match him to other races. That was the biggest complication. To draw him so he is still a genie, but take care not to make him too sweet, you know. I tried pink colour and in the end stayed with it, because it was a great match. I tried to make him colourful, but also not to overdo it and not make him too much like from Arabian fairy tale.
His figure doesn’t even end properly.
A: Yes, and he is casting spells plus his muscles. His colouring made it quite difficult to cut him from the background. It is clear. Genie was the biggest troublemaker.
And on the other hand, which one was the easiest?
A: Wait, I’m looking which one was obvious. Probably hobbit, he was the first one I drew and it went well. And the dwarf as well. These two races were easy.
Do you have any personal favourite?
A: I like giant the most. I was dealing with his face a lot, to make him look like a giant with overgrown bones. He wasn’t supposed to be evil, but neutral. I enjoyed his anatomy, those clumsy overgrown limbs. And the colours of his background as well. And I also like the vampire a lot. But in the end I enjoyed drawing all of them.
Apart from races, you have also created the dragons. And again, they are very specific. What inspired you during their creation?
A: When I was looking for the dragon’s shape, I was coming out of certain abstract shapes and textures I created. In one of those abstract shapes I suddenly saw a dragon’s head breathing fire. Actually, it was a coincidence, but the principle of such coincidence was very important for my work for Red Dragon, I built upon it and further worked with the base abstract shape on my computer. I intended to make the dragon neutral, not the classic evil demon or the naïve do-gooder. To simply not make his personality so apparent. His physical appearance took a lot of time to get right, I wasn’t satisfied with anything typical what was already seen a thousand times. I wanted to draw him differently… You see, we are again talking about “differently” (laughing), it seeps through the name to my work.
How did you find the cooperation, wasn’t it the pain in the behind type of customer, who is constantly coming up with something?
A: Noooo (laughing. It suits me when the client wants to communicate, talk about the things I do and has demands. I don’t mind it. If the client knows, what he wants. It gets worse when he would like something, but doesn’t know what. That’s hard work then. But I generally don’t mind remarks. I liked that I had a free hand, created something and then received comments and could talk about it. I can take that and have no problem with it whatsoever.
Could you perhaps tease our players what are you working on right now?
A: I’m delighted that Red Dragons were satisfied with my work so far and asked me to create more illustrations, the game is growing and visually uniting, I think that’s the right way to do it. Right now, we are working on pictures of various buildings and other architectonic structures, more or less typical for fantasy genre. And a lot of new icons. Creating architecture is something new for me and I have to approach it differently than races and characters, but that’s what I enjoy – trying new ways and approaches. I’m really looking forward how it works out for us!
Yes, they simple can’t come soon enough (laughing), Aleš, thank you very much for the interview.
A: You are welcome, see you later.