3DTotal: Hi could you tell us a bit about yourself? Matt: My name is Matt Dixon. I’m 34 years old and live in the UK with my girlfriend and our two kids. I work as a lead artist for Eurocom Entertainment Software.
3DTotal: What first got you started in 2D? Matt: Being born, I think! I’ve been drawing or painting in one form or another ever since I can remember. I began using a computer as an art tool in my very early teens when I discovered the paint packages available on home computers like the Commodore 64 and later the Amiga; I had a lot of fun pixelling heavy metal album covers and comic book characters for demo groups for a little while there! When I first joined the video game industry, I was using the same techniques to create pixel backgrounds and sprites for SNES and Genesis titles, but it wasn’t long before the Playstation arrived and I found myself working mostly in 3D for years after that. These days, much of my time is spent creating concept art which is a welcome return to two dimensions - I enjoy 3D work, but 2D is definitely where I feel most comfortable.
3DTotal: Do you ever get a buzz from seeing any of your work whether it is 3D or 2D in any of the games that you have worked on? Matt: Oh, definitely. I don’t get much time to play games these days, but I’ve spent many happy hours admiring the art in game worlds and it’s great to think that I might be contributing to giving someone else that same pleasurable experience. I have to say that, for me, the real buzz is in the creation rather than the end result but it’s certainly satisfying to see that game box on the shelf and know there’s a booklet inside with your name in it somewhere.
3DTotal:Did you study art at college or are you all self taught?
Matt: Except for the usual art tuition at school, I’m entirely self-taught. When the time came for me to consider pursuing further education, my interests lay more with music than with art and I left school to pursue the life of a provincial rock legend. When I finally came to the realisation that the rock ‘N’ roll dream wasn’t all booze and bad language and actually involved a lot of damned hard work, and I then damaged my back carrying amplifiers around, I began to wonder if perhaps a few years lifting paintbrushes instead might have made more sense? I still wonder what I missed out on by not attending art college and how my artwork might be different as a result, but I look back on that part of my life very fondly indeed. No regrets.
3DTotal: You have produced a few really cool pieces based on the Game Workshop Warhammer universe, are you a fan of it or was it the detail that goes into each character that made you produce these pieces? Matt: As a teenager, I had quite an interest in gaming. Looking back, I think the interest was mostly in the art than in the rulebooks as I spent far longer looking at the pictures than reading the rules or playing the games! I guess the Games Workshop publications probably had the biggest effect on me through White Dwarf magazine, which I’d buy most months simply to admire the artwork. I produced the Warhammer pieces primarily to show some fully painted grey scale pieces in my portfolio, but it was also interesting to compare those images against the pen and ink drawings or
Warhammer Orcs I used to scribble out in my bedroom all those years ago. I won’t say which I thought was better..!
3DTotal: As it had such a big effect on you, would you like to produce artwork for White Dwarf magazines or are you happy working as a lead artist in a well known games company? Matt: Yes, painting Orcs and Space Marines all day would be fun, I’m
sure! Actually, Games Workshop’s HQ is in walking distance from my house, which would certainly reduce my current commuting time. To be serious though, one of the great things about working in the video game industry is the variety - each project is different, and there are always fresh and interesting challenges to tackle. I'm not sure a company with such long-established franchises as Games Workshop would necessarily offer that. Anyway, it'd mean treading in the footsteps of some immensely talented artists, and that'd scare the crap out of me!