From the walls of his parents home, to gracing our screens with truly inspirational artwork to finally the pages of 2DArtist we find out more about the Canada based artist Remko Troost in his debut interview.

3DTotal: Hi Remko, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and also what brought your interest in digital art to a peak?

Remko: Hi, I grew up in Amsterdam, and when I was still a little boy I started scribbling unidentifiable signs on my parent’s walls. And naturally, to save their walls, my parents bought me paper one day. As with most of us it’s here I started doodling my first super heroes, Jedi’s, spaceships and dinosaurs. Later on, I kept on painting on the walls, outside the house for a while, but soon I was convinced I’d better not [Laughs].

I then started doing freelance for fresco and illustration work with my biggest wall painting being 2500 square feet. This was a huge challenge and great fun. I think I started painting digitally somewhere in between 1998 and 2000. The digital tools kind of naturally snuck into my workflow bit by bit and I didn’t really notice. I simply see it as a tool (a very fast one) amongst others that can help you realize your visions and have fun. It’s a great tool to experimenting and learning with, all on the same canvas.

 
   

I had the chance to cut my teeth in the game industry as a concept artist working on my own game and scenario financed by Wallimage, in a little studio called Hades Productions. Unfortunately this studio has now closed. I then worked as a lead concept artist at Elsewhere Entertainment/10TACLE Studios Belgium on the unfortunately cancelled next gen game called Totems.

Shortly after this I got invited by Ubisoft Entertainment Paris to work on their WII title Red Steel 2 where I did a lot of character and weapon design as well as some environments. I’m based currently with the little family gang in Canada and work as a senior concept artist at Ubisoft Montreal on an unannounced project.

Besides that I sometimes do Q & A's in the Imaginefx magazine and some freelance work.

3DTotal: So from starting out doodling on your parents’ walls to your first spot of freelance work, could you tell us what sort of art education you received?
Remko: Actually I'm self-taught. I did specialise in traditional printing and painting techniques for two years, but never really went to an art school. By the age of 20 I had to move to Belgium, and get work quite fast. My mother and grandfather were into traditional painting, and so I kind of grew up in between the painting tubes and canvasses. As most of us do, I started drawing really young and never actually stopped.

I like to read nature, history and art books a lot which still remain a great help to me. I also like to get out, take pictures, and observe the world and people around me for hours.

Personally I'm convinced that you learn a lot from your environment. Actually for me the great thing about art is you never stop learning.

3DTotal: What spurred you to head back to drawing and painting after working in the advertising world?
Remko: I missed the big bad trolls, mechs and girls with big hair [Laughs]. Actually the game industry presence in Belgium is very low, so when I started out as a freelance illustrator in the beginning to earn a living, I automatically kind of fell into the advertising industry.

It was when I did a commission for Hades Productions that I first came into contact with the world of making games. I liked it a lot and for fun in my free time I started writing and drawing my own game. After six months I ended up with some kind of weird book about a future where people have to snowboard to stay alive. Yeah! I showed them one day at Hades Productions, just like that, never thinking they could like it but they actually did. Together we went to see investors and managed to obtain enough money to create a demo with the team. This was a great time where I learned a lot and was lucky to work as an illustrator, scene artist and designer on my own game. Unfortunately a few months later Hades had to close their doors and we couldn’t finish the demo. Working over there gave me the taste of the games industry and I decided to draw and draw again to maybe create a chance for myself to get into the entertainment industry.

   
 
3DTotal: With the experiences that you gained from writing, designing and pitching your ideas for a game, do you think you would give it another bash or are you happy with your client work?
Remko: I absolutely will in the future, but for right now I’m focusing on my work at Ubisoft and in my free time I like to spend time with my friends, wife and the kid.
   
     
 
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