3DTotal: Which games have you enjoyed playing the most and which do you see are the most inventive from a creative viewpoint? Daryl: I guess my favourite game of all time was probably Diablo 1. I never thought I could be scared by
an isometric top-down game, but I was wrong. It was brilliantly art directed and had pitch perfect gameplay. An absolute classic. From a purely creative standpoint there are so many great examples of games that pushed the envelope. Sacrifice from Shiny was wildly creative and a lot of fun. The original Half-Life took a lot of creative chances and it really paid off. I love the creative vision behind Ninja
Gaiden’s combat system. Of course, the enemies and bosses in God of War show that someone out there is really striving to create something new and exciting. Then there are games like Katamari that are just totally weird, but awesome at the same time... I tend to like games like that – ones that really dare to be different, but keep the fun intact.
3DTotal: What would you regard are the best exercises to practice in order to become a successful concept artist? Daryl: Drawing! Lots of drawing! Drawing from life is really important. It’s an essential exercise for practising pretty much every art fundamental. I also do studies from static sources, such as DVD screen captures or magazine photos, and I keep a sketchbook where I just draw from my imagination. Being versatile is also important, so practice environments, characters, vehicles... everything! You never know what your next assignment might be.
3DTotal: How would you say your work has developed or evolved over the last few years? Daryl: Well I think I’ve improved in a lot areas in a general sort of way; my lighting has gotten better, as well as my use of shape, texture, and composition. These things improve slowly over time with practice. Probably my biggest area of growth has been my environmental painting. I was (and still am) very into the character side of things, but the last couple of years have required a lot of environmental art out of me, so I learned a lot in that area and have noticed a big improvement. I’ve learned some new techniques to deal with environments and those have translated back into my character paintings.
3DTotal: What subject matter/art inspires you? Daryl: Movies/books/music/comics/art... I get inspiration from everywhere. Star Wars is probably the cause of my fascination with all things sci-fi. I have a huge collection of art books I love to flip through, everything from Frazetta to Van Gogh. I love anything with dark, gritty storylines, particularly spaghetti westerns. I guess my inspiration is a mix of all these things - it’s very eclectic. There is so much swimming in my head I don’t really have trouble coming up with ideas… I just sit down and it seems to flow.
3DTotal: Can you describe one of your favourite paintings to us and talk about the brief behind it (if any) and how you decided on the composition and colour scheme, and so on? Daryl: Hmm, well I’m my own worst critic and I don’t really have favourite paintings, just paintings I’m not totally embarrassed by... I guess one that turned out OK was called “Captain Black”. It’s a character
piece, and a pretty simple one at that, but it just sort of works in a raw kind of way. There was no creative brief for it; as usual I just had an image in my head I was trying to get out.
As I paint I’m making up the story in my mind as well, thinking about the history of the character, what he might wear, how he might act. This helps me determine the composition as well. Like most paintings I start almost monochrome, usually painting in off-greys, and then I add in colour a little bit at a time as I go. I find a little colour goes a long way, which is why my palettes are usually desaturated. Red is such a nice, aggressive colour - I like to splash it around here and there, and I thought his cape could make an interesting focal point. The other thing I like to do with static poses like this is to imply some kind of movement, so I’ll often make the scene windy, or have some sort of motion somewhere in the painting.
3DTotal: You said, “paintings I’m not totally embarrassed by”, so I assume that you mean you often
look at finished works and think they could be improved upon. Do you find that a painting reaches a
stage where suddenly your interest in it starts to dwindle and then it is a case of finishing it off
quickly and moving onto the next one? Daryl: Absolutely, and it’s usually in the detailing phase. I find excessive detailing boring and time consuming, which is why I usually just detail my focal points and let the rest be a little looser. I try to communicate what I need to in the most efficient, effective way I can, and if I feel I’m spinning my wheels adding details, it’s usually time to call a painting finished.