Welcome to this, the first in a series of interviews and articles focusing on our forthcoming game, Miremarsh.
Those of you who follow us on Facebook will have seen the numerous — not to mention amazing — paintings of Miremarsh’s nefarious protagonists, the bog goblins. From Lurker to Skulker, Hoarder to Tanker, these paintings have captured the character and devious intent of our antiheroes. We have the Columbian artist Andrés Martinez to thank for these dynamic, and not a little sinister, paintings. We dispatched Paul to interview Andrés about not only his contribution to Miremarsh, but about a formative career that already encompasses working with 7G, Warlord games and, of course, Room 17 Games.
Paul: First of all, would you like to introduce yourself, and tell us something about your background, where you’re from, and how you became an artist.
Andrés: Of course! I’m Andrés Martinez, and I’m from Colombia. I am 30 years old and I have always been an artist since drawing became my passion when I was a child. As a boy I usually watched animated series and films, and played a lot of video games. These influences inspired me to become an artist.
Paul: And which of those animated series, films and video games did you like the best?
Andrés: My favourite animated series has always been Dragon Ball Z, my favourite movies were Terminator 1 and 2, and my favourite video game was the Goldeneye on the N64; I love the shoot-’em-ups!
Paul: And how did you begin your professional career?
Andrés: My career as illustrator and concept artist started with a Colombian company, 7G Lab Entertainment. I worked for them as a colourist on a comic book series called Zambo Dende. That was my first experience and job in the industry.
Paul: So how did your career progress after getting your foot in the door?
Andrés: After 7G I worked for a video games company called Efecto Studios. It was an awesome experience for me as it taught me a lot about how how organic concept art can be, how to develop concepts, and how to work with art directors to understand and deliver what they need.
Paul: Yes, I totally get what you mean! When I was as a concept artist in video games the process of drafting and refining concepts with an art director was invaluable.
Andrés: Yes, absolutely.
Paul: And which games did you work on?
Andrés: The main game that I worked was Ark: Survival Evolved, which, at that time, was a big title on Xbox, Playstation and PC.
Paul: What lessons did you take away with you after working for Efecto Studios?
Andrés: The most important lesson is to always know the process of production, always work hard to develop your skills, and make always friends who help you evolve as an artist.
Paul: Wise words, my friend.
Andrés: After the Efecto Studio I met Ricard and we started working together.
Paul: And how exactly did you and Ricard meet?
Andrés: A friend of mine told me Ricard was searching for an illustrator. I contacted Ricard straight away and, thankfully, he liked my work.
Paul: So which of Ricard’s projects did you work on first?
Andrés: The first project was a character illustration for Togg from Beyond the Gates of Antares.
Paul: And from there you progressed to other Warlord projects?
Andrés: Yeah we’ve worked together since then on all his games for Warlord, and I’m thrilled to have worked on games like Doctor Who, Test of honour, and Blood Red Skies.
Paul: Wow, good skills! I think it’s safe to say your black and white line-art on the Test of Honour packaging — especially when combined with the red and white graphic design — has made Test of Honour one of the most distinctive products in Warlord’s entire range. You must be very proud!
Andrés: Thank you, Paul; that is a very nice thing for you to say.
Paul: And which of those pieces you did for Warlord is your favourite?
Andrés: The cover for their game new Blood Red Skies is special to me. I really like that piece of artwork.
Paul: Rightly so. It’s a thing of beauty!
And now you’re working with Ricard and Graham on their Room 17 projects. Where you involved with their very first game, Museum Rush?
Andrés: Yeah, I’m the Room 17 Games illustrator and I’m very happy to be part of the team.
Paul: So tell me about the next game from Room 17, Miremarsh.
Andrés: Miremarsh is a great game, and working on it has been a unique experience. We’ve started from scratch by doing visual developments and looking for that world and that unique style that we have achieved and which we are evolving. It has been awesome create this new world
Paul: I bet it has. And what did you paint for Miremarsh?
Andrés: I developed the style and a lot goblins, creatures, places, pet’s; it really has been a lot of work. It’s has been an amazing experience, and I’ve enjoyed it so much.
Paul: And which is your favourite?
Andrés: My favorites are the Fenn Lord and one of the goblins, Mixer.
Paul: I agree! Mixer is really nice! Good work there, Andrés.
Andrés: Thank you. 🙂
Paul: How do you arrive at your finished paintings? Do you sketch with pencil and paper first, for instance, before beginning the digital process?
Andrés: Every stage of my artwork is now digital. Although both approaches are good options at the very beginning of a painting, the combination of production process and digital painting allows the finished pictures to be better.
Paul: And what advantages for you feel a digital approach gives you, as opposed to more traditional methods?
Andrés: The biggest advantage is the speed with which I can produce work. Digital painting packages are the perfect tool for not only developing work quickly, but for editing it. Of course, there’s no replacing the fundamentals of art and design, and the modern concept artists and Illustrator must still have a solid grounding in the use of form, light, texture and composition before he can use a digital tool to its best advantage, just as he can’t use traditional media to its best without knowing the basics.
Paul: And with Miremarsh due for release shortly, have you already begun work on the next Room 17 project, or are you still working on stretchgoals, add-ons and the like?
Andrés: Yeah, I’m working on more pieces for Miremarsh. I can’t, of course tell you what they are just yet…
Paul: That’s okay, Andres; I don’t need to see them to know they’ll be awesome.
And that concludes this interview with Andrés Martinez. Miremarsh launches on Kickstarter on July 2nd. In the interim, however, It would be remiss of us to not treat you to a small — yet perfectly formed — gallery of Andrés’ art. We spoil you, don’t we?