Hey guys, it’s Tim from the Team Epic Gamers, bring you another great featured artist on my series of artist interviews. This week, I’m here to feature Lazare from deviantART and showcase some of his awesome Infinity Blade sketches he creates on his iPad. Lazare has even had his work featured on the Infinity Blade Facebook page!
Arukun14: Tell us a bit about yourself and when you started drawing.
Lazare Gvimradze: Hi, I’m Lazare Gvimradze, I’m 19 and I live in Tbilisi, Georgia. I was always a bit of a creative nut from an early age, the type who like writing little stories as children or drawing robots during boring classes. It never manifested into anything more than a mere hobby however, so I never took any special drawing classes or thought about pursuing it professionally any other way. The main reason for that was always the lack of free time; there wasn’t really a way for me to throw down sudden ideas and spend time fleshing them out. I discovered digital tablets a little later on, but found them cumbersome and the software too difficult to work with. But that was all before the iPad.
A: Do you game? Have any favorite titles?
L: I’m a huge gamer, with a special love for story-based games with believable characters and living worlds. I always admired the idea of thinking of games as an art medium, something which can not only connect to the player emotionally like a movie or a book, but give them the additional possibility to interact with it, sometimes even reshape the story as they see fit. It’s really amazing when you think about it, and I believe games like Mass Effect or Heavy Rain are stellar examples of quality storytelling in games. Not that I don’t enjoy the pure fun factor, of course; Gears of War, for example, is a great symbiosis between a deep story and addicting gameplay, and I also love games like Bulletstorm which are just off-the-rails and perfect for playing with friends.
A: I’ve noticed that you have Infinity Blade pieces. Have you played the game on iOS?
L: Infinity Blade was one of the first games I tried when I got my iPad. After having a taste of the Epic Citadel demo, I was anxious to see what more Unreal Engine 3 could accomplish on iOS if the visuals were married with actual gameplay, and in that regard Infinity Blade is mind-blowing; the controls are tailored to the touchscreen so it doesn’t feel like a port from console games, which is, I believe, a defining aspect of great iOS titles. On top of that, amazing graphics and wicked character designs deliver the eye-candy, and an intriguing storyline kept me guessing all the way through the numerous playthroughs and the DLCs. I actually went on and read the novel, Infinity Blade: Awakening, which gave me great insight into the lore and cemented me as a huge Infinity Blade fan. And with Infinity Blade II, which is amazing, I think ChAIR have a one-of-a-kind story on their hands, something truly unique with not just iOS titles, but videogames in general. Can’t wait to see where it all goes!
A: You said you have an iPad… and you draw on it! Is this how you draw your Infinity Blade pieces?
L: Indeed. The iPad was instrumental in re-igniting the desire to draw in me, since it’s so fast and easy to use, and what’s more important, accessible from anywhere. I started using it as a drawing tool pretty early on, doodling clumsy sketches with my fingers, you know – just having fun. But when I realized I could also purchase a special capacitive stylus which would transform the iPad into a full-fledged touch tablet, I knew I had my little creative kit right there. For obvious reasons, all of this coincided with my fascination with everything Infinity Blade, so the content of my fan art was clear from the get-go. It would be a long way before I got used to the new ways of digital drawing and chose a few from the myriad drawing apps available, but I believe it was worth it. I really enjoy doing this, and what else matters?
A: Which app do you use to draw? Are you using anything to help you? Could you explain a bit of your process?
L: I went through a LOT of apps before settling on a few favorites, and my way of drawing usually takes advantage of them all. I start out in a simple vector-based app called Adobe Ideas; it is lightning fast and allows you to really throw numerous stuff down quickly, like many different poses of a character you’ve chosen to draw, or several versions of a gun or a sword all on separate layers. So it’s really great for beginning a piece and understanding what you REALLY want to do with it, because for me, initial vision isn’t really as important as the refinements you make in the process. Once I’ve chosen a sketch I like best, I carefully trace it to clean off and finalize the lines, and I fill it up with colors to get a sense of what it’ll look like. I then hide the colors and create a semi-transparent layer where I use only black to accommodate all of the shading. Then I switch the colors back on, see how everything meshes together and do some final tweaks to the overall piece.
Then, I export the result and open it in Brushes. Brushes is a heavily-featured app for professional artists, but I use it for one thing only: lighting. The picture I import is already almost done, but with the soft strokes of the various brush types I can make the armor shine, the sunrays cascade over the mountains, and just give that final touch to the drawing which makes it complete. Then I quickly use an app called “Snapseed” to tweak the color balance and play around with depth of field, and that’s it.
A: Is there anything you’d like to share with fellow artists?
L: There are two key things which keep me going, and that’s inner motivation and an accessible toolkit. My best advice, as someone who has never even taken drawing classes, is to start off by doing whatever YOU want. Practicing is important, but it’s even better when it’s backed up by a little bit of inspiration, so close off the naysayers and just draw whatever you feel is great. This doesn’t mean you have to reject constructive feedback, it’s important to take criticism and improve based on it, but always try to differentiate between useful input and what may compromise your passion. And try to settle on your pace and way of drawing early on, so that how/where/when you draw ceases to be a factor; it’s just the “what”.
Thanks so much for your time, Lazare! Thank you for sharing your work with us. Keep up the great sketches, and hope to see some more from you soon.