Guerilla Games concept artist, and creator of the magnificent cover for Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 6, Geoffrey Ernault, talks about his artistic
inspirations and aspirations...
Geoffrey Ernault's cover for 3dtotal's latest Digital Painting Techniques offering, Volume 6, looks damn good in print, I think you'd agree! Now that it's on general sale and the dust has settled a little, we catch up with Geoffrey to get his views on the book, and to find out more about the man himself...
3dtotal: What inspired you to enter the digital art world?
When I was a kid I moved around a lot, and because of that it was kinda hard to keep friends. Because of it I spent a lot of time in my attic on the computer playing games all day long, and I fell in love with the art in some of them. At age 8 I promised myself I'd work on videogames someday, but at that time I thought only 3D artists were needed to create a game. I was drawing all the time, and little by little I discovered about digital painting and really got into it. And then I learned concept art, which pretty much was the answer to all my questions!
3dt: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career so far?
I started digital painting around 16-17, again because I moved to another country and it was my favorite hobby and best thing to do after school. I leveled up and managed to get into an art school in Rennes, France, to learn about fundamentals. I loved digital art so much that I wasn't turning in my homework and spent my nights learning about new digital painting techniques. I realized that they had a course in Paris that dealt with videogame art, and the school adviser told me I'd never have a chance because they only accepted people that were very good and my drawing skills were really bad. I still went for it and hopefully they had a better understanding of digital art than in Rennes.
After that, I started getting a few commissions from Deviantart
, which lead to doing freelance. That was about 3 years ago, and now I'm working at Guerilla and have already worked with a couple of awesome clients!
3dt: What is your earliest artistic memory?
I believe that would be when I was around 7, when I copied all the Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse comics my mother would buy me. We'd buy them on the beach after school and I'd read and draw them in the evening.
3dt: What is your current workspace like?
At home/work I'm lucky to have a Cintiq 24HD, and one or two other monitors. I also use moleskin sketchbooks with a Japanese art pen and copics, mostly for silhouettes and composition exploration. I also tend to use a bunch of sticky notes for that!
3dt: On your website you mention learning new languages under hobbies and interests, and list about 6 which is very impressive! How often do you get to use these?
It's far less impressive when I realize my Russian and Chinese are now limited to being able to order something at McDonald's. I speak English every day at work, French often with friends and family, Russian sometimes with my girlfriend, Chinese when I visit my parents about twice a year, and Greek/Spanish whenever I travel in countries that speak the language.
The difficult part is that because of that I tend to lose those languages pretty quickly. But hopefully if I stay a week or two in China for example, words tend to come back slowly.
3dt: You also play the cello/bass! Do you listen to any music while you are working?
I play about 10 tunes on the bass and can do awesome crying sounds on the cello! And yes, I do love music. I recently bought noise canceling headphones and it feels like I'm discovering all my favorite tracks for the first time again. Recently I've been listening to a lot of Combichrist, Aphex Twin and Covenant. I often switch from industrial, metal, and more 'soft' electronic stuff like Boards of Canada. Here's my main playlist on Spotify
if that helps!
I've always been a fan of Ashley Wood
and his WWR stuff. I've got one on my desk and look at it almost every day. I really wanted to do something similar but mixed with the type of stuff that I usually do. The image started from a sketch I did in the train between Cambridge and London, and I always wanted to push it a bit more. The cover was a good opportunity to do that. The idea was basically to do a huge robot that looked massive but kind of funny, that'd be kind of like a pet. I thought he'd be cute to have this sort of giant staying there near the tiny house and guarding it, even though he could totally break the rope and run away.
3dt: Are there any particular tutorials in Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 6 that you found particularly insightful, and are there any favorite images?
I haven't had the chance to look too much into it yet! However, I've seen a few pictures from it and already saw quality stuff from a bunch of awesome artists I've always been inspired by, and I know those guys always put their heart and soul into their craft, so I'm sure most of them are mind-blowing. Darek Zabrocki
did a pretty nice one in there, and he painted horses. Painting horses is really tough.
3dt: What has been your biggest artistic challenge so far?
This is going to sound cliché but I find every image to be a challenge. You never know how it'll end up looking, and there's always new things to learn. If I'd have to be less cliché and more specific, I'd say my current job. There are a few things that I had to design here that I never did before. But it was a great challenge and I learnt a lot from it!
Take a closer look at Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 6
Visit Geoffrey's site
for more awesome artwork