Greg Warner is a illustrious illustrator and graphic designer. He's partnered with Tantrum House in order to create the fantastical characters in our new game Steam Court. After sticking him in a dark room, and shining a bright light in his face, this is what we were able to get out of him:
TH: Greg, give us 7 words that might describe you. Go!:
Greg: Curious! Devoted. Detailed. Methodical. Passionate. Caffeinated. Meditative.
TH: What cool stuff are you doing for Tantrum House?
Greg: Currently I'm working on the character art for Steam Court, so I'm definitely digging down deep into the Steampunk aesthetic right now. I'm trying to create a related, but interesting diversity of character personalities and environments—but most of the characters have that slightly shifty or dark air about them. Character design is just an absolute blast.
TH: What other cool stuff are you doing?
Greg: Steam Court is taking most of my free time at the moment, but my day job is at Worthwhile, a web design/software and app development firm based in Greenville. We get a pretty good diversity of projects—I really enjoy web and UI work as well, so I enjoy switching between types of work. I love custom lettering projects too, and I get some of those. I think I'd get bored if I was just doing one kind of creative work. I'm also trying to brush up on my front-end web coding skills, which is actually a lot of fun. Getting a more finished portfolio and personal site is my next goal.
TH: What got you into graphic design/illustration in the first place?
Greg: I was always into drawing and doodling growing up—I was constantly doodling on my math homework, or doing lettering styles for section heads on history notes. My parents were kind enough to send me to private art lessons with a wonderful teacher for about eight years. I was big into the Myst computer games growing up too, and the artistry behind those inspired me to try to make a fan site. After initial attempts with horrible WYSIWYG editors I started teaching myself basic HTML, and I think I just slowly started getting into graphic design without really knowing what it was. I majored in graphic design in college without ever really considering anything else—I knew I wanted to do something that could support a family, but it was totally instinctive. From there, it's been a constant learning experience.
TH: Is there anybody out there specifically that you draw inspiration from?Greg: Oh man. Too many to count—and I follow quite a few people on social networks these days. For art and illustration, I like to draw inspiration from everything like the editorial illustrations in WIRED to old vintage illustration. I love illustrative graphic designers like DKNG Studios, concept artists like Stephan Martiniere (who worked on the likes of Myst, Star Wars, and iRobot). In more painterly realms, I love work by the old masters—DaVinci, Rembrandt. Others: Richard Schmid, John Singer Sargent, Jacqui Oakley, Jeremy Mann. Also, local folks such as Chris Koelle, Justin Gerard, Ben Schipper (I believe I've seen some awesome tee shirts from him around somewhere...?) Ultimately, I get my motivation from my faith in God—He's the ultimate artist, and we are His art.
TH: Tell us about this Emily person?
Greg: Yeah! I've been married to my beautiful wife for just over a year, and she makes me smile like nobody else. She's a great encourager. She's a visual artist as well, so her knowledge of painting and color theory has probably helped push my work more than anything. We work together almost nightly in our studio, and I love getting her perspective on my pieces.
TH: Tell us a little bit about the illustration process for Steam Court.
Greg: For Steam Court I start out with research—pulling lots of historical pictures, contemporary works for inspiration on mood, pose ideas for characters, various portraits for ideas about what characteristics will make up the face or frame of the character—on and on. Then I start on rough sketches, in my sketchbook. Then it's onto the computer with my Intuos tablet—right now I'm doing the final art in Affinity Photo, which is a newcomer to the graphics scene, but has a lot power and a great brush editor. I try to layer on tones of paint and keep the artwork to just a few layers for a more realistic finish. Work like this relies on some reference, but lets you creatively build on it and get imaginative—that's what's a lot of fun.
TH: Do you have any favorite board (or other) games?
Greg: My favorite is Dominion, I love RPGs, but I love old classic games as well. I'm obsessed with words, so I'm also addicted to Bananagrams. In digital realms, all of the classic Myst games I love for their unique, sometimes odd aesthetics and story as well as gameplay. I've supported Oblivion (from the makers of Myst) on Kickstarter, and I'm really anticipating that release.
TH: Star Trek or Star Wars?
Greg: I actually enjoy both now—I'm not a huge Trekkie but the J.J. Abrams reboots won me over—sorry to any purists out there who count them anathema. I'm working my way through the old films now. Very much anticipating Episode VII, though.
TH: Other hobbies?
Greg: Reading—from theology to the classics. British television. Anything creative—when I get free time I'm always digging into something new and trying my hand at it. My dad is a woodworker and signmaker, and I'm inspired by that kind of thing so much more now—I love the idea of getting to work with your hands and have a finished product that endures, at the end. I'd like to do some creative projects with him as well.
TH: Where can we look up your work or connect with you online?
Greg: My personal site is www.SmallReflection.com—check that out to find me on Dribbble, Twitter, Facebook, and a few other spots.
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