Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mini-Interview Thursday: RK POST

Here is the first of several mini-interviews I have planned. Thursday is the 4th or 5th day of the week and Im asking 4 or 5 questions to people I've met along the way. I hope to quickly introduce people I dig. One of the greatest things about my job as a freelance artist is meeting and/or working with incredibly talented people from a variety of fields. Thru that process perhaps I get to know these people more than the average person and that's why I felt these short and sweet discussions would be interesting. I hope you enjoy them! There will be more to come...on Thursdays only!

RK Post Interview May 24, 2007

Randy Post and I first met at Northern Illinois University. A state school located in the middle of a corn field know as Dekalb, Illinois. We both studied under the mighty Mark A. Nelson who was not only an important professor and friend in our lives but an accomplished professional. The first time I met Randy he was showing around his Road Kill photo-album/reference guide in Mr. Nelson's classroom. Since then, he came up thru the ranks working on all sorts of products related to the gaming industry. TSR, the makers of Dungeons & Dragons soon brought him on board as a staff Illustrator! He had full access to the clandestine headquarters located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and later Renton, Washington. Other interesting projects include concept design work for the Aliens vs. Predator movie and over 100 Illustrations for the Star Wars guidebook on Alien races. Randy now works on video games full-time at Sony Online Entertainment in Seattle while simultaneously working on choice freelance jobs. Lastly, he has a collection of his work titled 'Postmortem' which can be found both online and in finer book stores.

Mike Sutfin: When we spoke at the San Diego Comicon 2K6 you mentioned all your new color work is done digitally. Is this still the case? What are the advantages of working on the computer?

Randy Post: Pretty much everything I do is digital now...nature of the beast.  With all of the moving I have done lately, it has become a necessity....I don't have a place to paint.  Biggest advantage is portability.  I work on my laptop a lot and I can pick a spot and work there.  Change it up.  Speed is good too.

MS: When you say 'nature of the Beast' are you referring to the video game work you are involved in?

RKP: Nature of the beast...the industry the way it stands now.  Illustration or video game work.  Having a final digital render saves so much time in the end and the tools to do the work start to finish are getting much better.  It is fast, clean, and requires little set up. 

MS: Any disadvantages?

RKP: The biggest downside is not having a physical piece of work when you are done.  It seems to be a shortcut that seems removed from the traditional way of doing things.....or at least from the way I came up.  Digital isn't going away and will always be a valued asset in any illustrators skill set.  There is the quandary.

MS: What was it like to be a TSR Staff Artist and stand among some of the best Sci-Fi Fantasy artists like Brom, Jeff Easley, Todd Lockwood and Allan Pollack?

RKP: It was amazing at TSR, I was essentially a nube learning how to paint when I was hired.  Granted it was the last days of Rome when I was there and there only a few of us around.  Fortunately, when Wizards of the Coast purchased TSR, they maintained the staff illustrators and beefed our numbers up a little.  It is pretty much a thing of the past, but I will always look back fondly.

MS: Cool, I was so inspired and motivated the few times I got to visit you guys at TSR. Last question...There might be a person reading this blog who is interested in a career similar to your own. Are there any words of advice you give to someone interested in working on video games? What software is important to master? Any classes you might recommend?

RKP: As for video is generally a salaried position and depending on where you are at, stability is never guaranteed.  The pay is usually pretty good though.  Can't beat having benefits either.  The industry has come leaps and bounds and the need for genuinely talented artists is necessity.  Photoshop as an art tool is a must...that has always been a constant.  Painter is a plus.  As for 3-D, knowing both Maya and 3DS Max covers most studios.  There are a few good schools across the country, I used to work next to DigiPen...and Nintendo sponsored school completely devoted to video games.  Hope that helps some.
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