Hello fellow watchers of Nintendo Platinum!
My name is Hugo Henriques and I’m new arround these parts of the site so, for those who don’t know me, I’m a Digital Artist who is very keen of Nintendo and I’ll be conducting series of interviews in this Game Art column. I hope you all enjoy it and please feel free to give suggestions to whom should I interview and your thoughts on this column by sending an e-mail to email@example.com or sending a note here in DA (not to mention the comments down bellow!
Starring the debut of this collection of interviews, well’ have the Print-maker, Lego-Designer, Zelda-fan and digital painter Wesley Talbott!
Hugo:Hello there, Mr. Talbott! Before we begin, could you please introduce yourself for our readers? Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started in the arts.
Wes:My name is Wes Talbott and I'm 23.I've been drawing since I was three years old. I discovered my dad's old Marvel comics when I was six and that sparked my desire to get better at drawing. Since then I have gained inspiration and guidance from many awesome artists, Joe Madureira, Justin Gerard, and Steve Prescott are just a few of many that come to mind. I enjoy anything fantasy or scifi related and love painting in an imaginative realism style bringing life to fictional characters and creatures. In my spare time I enjoy playing video games listening to audiobooks and building with LEGO. I just graduated from The Columbus College of Art and Design and I am looking forward to continuing my professional freelance career unhindered by classes. I am getting married in June to a beautiful woman who is also a designer and really helps me strive for the best quality I can achieve in my work.
Hugo:You said yourself that you paint in a 'imaginative realism style', but you seem to have been branching out lately with your poster prints and emblem designs.Were you experiencing with new styles to expand your knowledge?
Wes:I like to try new things a lot, I think it's important for all artist to experiment with different styles mediums and subject matter. The LEGO stuff was just something I did for fun more than trying to achieve a higher level of craft and story telling, which is usually my goal when I start a new piece. Although it is obviously not realistic since it's LEGO I still painted it in a similar manner as my normal stuff, trying to make the lighting believable and what not. I definitely appreciate more flat styles of illustration and have even dabbled in them myself, but I always go back to rendering things out. I think it's the effect of light on three dimensional forms that just makes me appreciate the work more.
Hugo: Now that you've graduated and the College years are already behind you, what are you focusing on?
Wes:Now that I've graduated, I don't have any grand plans per say. I do plan to continue under the "freelance Illustrator" label though. I did a freelance job for LEGO during the month of April that was really fun, a dream job come true for sure. I'm hoping to get more work with them in the future. But other than that I'm kinda taking it easy and just catching up with a lot of people who e-mailed me in the past when I was too busy to do work. I'm not really a comic guy so much anymore I find that doing sequential art tends to drain my creativity. Covers, concept art, and other finished illustrations are really fun for me though. I just want to do work that I enjoy and have some time to do personal work on the side and continue learning. Big opportunities will present themselves if you are patient, keep your eyes open and promote yourself by creating good work and sharing it online.
Hugo: Since you’ve mentioned it, I’ll bring up the Lego subject. One thing that dazzled me the most among the pieces in your gallery was your Lego depictions of the Legend of Zelda series. How did you come up with it and how was the creative process?
Wes:Well to be honest I can't take total credit for the idea. As many Zelda/LEGO fans know there have already been two LEGO Zelda Projects designed for Cuusoo before mine. I started to think about mine right after mingles project was rejected. I saw that Ragaru had started his project and that it was pretty good, but I am personally not a fan of the Twilight Princess art style so I decided to go for an Ocarina of Time approach. At first I wasn't planning to design a set but rather just make a poster that depicted what I thought the perfect combination of LEGO and Zelda would look like. I was very happy with the final piece and I got a lot of exposure from places like G4 and Kotaku who featured the poster on their websites. That encouraged me to go ahead and try to make a corresponding set that used the same Link design as in my painting. I knew right from the start that I wanted to really focus on making a set that looked like an actual LEGO set. I did a ton of research into set sizes, piece count and how to use the same piece as many times as possible rather than complicating the collection of parts with tons of different pieces. I also learned a lot about LEGO box design, and created boxart that I hoped would make the set that much more convincing. Although Cuusoo does not allow that kind of box art on the actual project page. This was also my first Cuusoo project so I was a bit inexperienced with how to manage it. The set had a great start with lots of supports coming in, but it wasn't long before Cuusoo dropped a bombshell on the project by announcing that absolutely no molds could be made. I totally understand why they can't and don't blame them for it at all, but as the set lost steam so did I. I'm a bit of a purist in that I would not want LEGO to make a Link minifigure that doesn't have an adequate hat/hair/ears headpeice to really make him look like Link. It would go against LEGO's own quality standards to do anything less. So now the set sit just below that halfway point with a few supports trickling in every so often. I don't regret making it as it was a ton of fun, and I believe my documentation of the process helped me secure my job at LEGO. I'm actually kind of glad that the supports have slowed down because maybe this way by the time it reaches 10,000 supports Cuusoo will have gained the ability to make new molds. Unlikely, but one can only hope. I have not given up on Cuusoo however. My trip to Billund Denmark in April inspired me to continue designing sets for Cuusoo and I am actually in the middle of designing a very thorough project, working very closely with the creator of a fairly popular independent IP that I think has a much better chance of being made than a Zelda set. No custom molds, and no permission from Nintendo required.
Hugo:Most of your works are Legend of Zelda related and recently you've made a series of wonderfully designed, 5-colors-only prints. Will any other Videogame series receive such a treatment by you someday? And given the quantity of artworks and projects involving The Legend of Zelda that you have made, this franchise must hold some meaning to you, doesn' it?
Wes:I have tentative plans for one final zelda screen print. Although I have not decided from what game it will be, I won't say that I will never give any other games the same screen print treatment but at the moment i don't have plans to. There is a gallery in New York that is planning a show that will feature 50 artists, and each artist will do one Zelda piece, one Metroid piece, and one Mario piece. I was invited by the owner to participate and though my Metroid knowledge isn't that vast (I've only completed the first prime and half of the 2nd) I do plan to make some good stuff for all three.
Hugo:Even though you draw games as if they were lego, you have never drawn Lego games pieces (such as Lego Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman or Lord of the Rings). Why haven't you done something of the sort, since you like both videogames and Legos, and what are your thoughts on Lego games?
Wes:I don't get a lot of time to play games these days so a lot of my game inspired work is mostly fueled by nostalgia. Ocarina of Time was the first adventure game I ever played, and since then the Legend of Zelda has been my favorite franchise. A close second would have to be Shining Force, followed by Fire Emblem, and of course you can't be a Joe Mad fan and not like Darksiders.I have never been one to paint something exactly as it exists. I'm usually pretty wary when doing any kind of fan art not to make it to close to the original, because I feel like it's my responsibility as an artist to contribute my own visual interpretations of things rather than copy something that someone else has already done. That being said you can expect the three pieces I mentioned for the gallery above will not be your typical Link, Samus, and Mario. The Same goes for the LEGO games, which actually I have only finished LEGO the lord of the rings. My ties to LEGO are much more based on the actual bricks, this is why all of my Nintendo themed LEGO paintings are actually supposed to represent what the packaging or poster that comes with a real LEGO set would look like. Although everyone understandably assumes they are for a hypothetical Video Game which is fine. I would definitely buy a LEGO Zelda game, but I'd rather have LEGO Zelda set. But the way I see it, I couldn't really make a fanart of an existing LEGO game and bring something new to the painting that would really make it better than one of the awesome 3d renders like they use for the covers.
Well, thank you for accepting the invitation Mr. Talbott, it was a great interview. I hopeyouenjoyed it as much as I did, and I alsohopeyouallWiiU-Brasil Usershaveenjoyedthedebutofthis series of interviews. Rest assured that there is plenty more to come!
If you want to see more of Wes’ work, be sure to check out his:
And if you wanna know more about the interviewer himself (AKA me)
Check my deviantart page: hugo-h2p.deviantart.com/
or my facebook page: www.facebook.com/h2paintings