3DTotal: You mention in your Bio that you have worked in animation and have studied graphic design. How does being a concept artist compare to this, and what prompted the shift? Bruno: I have always been open to experimentation and curious about other disciplines within art. I know for a fact that I began thinking about environment/set design when I was already working in animation, where I was exposed to cell painted backgrounds and influenced by layout artists coming from feature animation. All fields are related, and learning about one builds knowledge that can be used in another. For example, I’m sure studying graphic design helped me with composition and colour choices, but it’s hard to pinpoint the exact time and place that I decided to move to concept art.
3DTotal: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of your job? Bruno: One aspect that I find both challenging and exciting is the fact that we have to be chameleons. A concept artist needs to be able to adapt to a project’s visual style, regardless of personal tastes, to follow specific guidelines and sometimes work within set constraints and with different art directors.
3DTotal: How easy is it to work full-time at a games company as well as freelance as an illustrator, and do you find that you have to turn down many jobs due to time constraints? Bruno: It can be challenging at times. I wouldn’t want either side to suffer so I make sure to devote an equal amount of attention to both. I spend most of my weekends working on freelance assignments, while devoting my full attention to games during the week. Sometimes the projects may be similar in style, and I have to find a way to make each project unique, without being more biased towards either of them. Having a full-time job gives me enough financial security and the luxury of being more selective when it comes to accepting freelance work. It’s a bit of a turn-off when a potential client comes to me only a few days before the project is due, but I haven’t turned very many down because of time constraints. Mostly I turn down work when I feel it’s deviating from what I like or want to do.
3DTotal: What sort of commissions do you generally get in your freelance work, and do you favour any particular type of job/client? Bruno: I’ve done all sorts of stuff, including concept art for film pitches, advertising, comic book covers, illustrations for magazine articles, and most recently illustrations for role-playing card games. All of them are a lot of fun.
3DTotal: How do you regard game art compared to, say, traditional painting, and do you see the digital medium slowly being recognised as a branch of Fine Art in itself? Bruno: Although the techniques used in digital painting are quite different than those in traditional mediums, in the end the key elements that make up an appealing image are the same. I would say there’s a greater difference between concept art, illustration and fine art. Whilst fine art touches a multitude of topics and illustrations are usually more story driven, I see game concept art used in a different manner. Unlike in illustration or fine arts, a concept may not stand alone as a decorative piece, because its original intent is problem solving. It’s part of our job to work with art directors and designers, take their visions into consideration, try to make sense of it all, expand on these ideas and push the limits. I could see digital artwork slowly being recognised as a branch of fine art. In a show like E3’s “Into the Pixel” for example, concept pieces are displayed in a gallery just like more traditional mediums.