This is a translation of an interview with Ralf Marczinczik from Piranha Bytes about his work as graphic artist by our russian partner site "Piranha Club". It is basically not Risen-related and just gives a general overview about Ralfs life as an artist. You won't find any new infos about Risen here, but if you always wanted to know more about that nice guy who patiently answers your questions in the bug-me thread then this is your chance.
(Note: There might still be some typos, I'll proof-read it again once I've had a little time to develop a distance to the text. Otherwise, I tend to just read over the same mistakes over and over again. Silly me. )
1. Does a graphic artist really need a professional training? If so, please explain why!
Not really - but it helps a lot.
Over the years I met a lot of graphic artists in the games industry who were never professionally trained to draw or to see thing analytically from a painter's perspective. And in the long run, this causes communication problems because these basics are missing. Be it a technical issue (how to create a good pose? what criteria determine the best way to present a character?) or a theoretical one (how to develop a unique style for a certain project? how do colour systems work?)
Many graphic artists get to this job because of their enthusiasm about games. Some have learned to handle 3D programs by themselves, others just like to modify games.
Alas, a real professional training that covers all aspects of games production does not exist.
I myself had, when I was still in school, absolutely no idea how to realise my career aspiration. It took me some detours to finally come to study "communications design / specification: graphics". And even so I was a bit disappointed about not really learning a lot of technical stuff at the university, it still taught me how to understand graphics and that anatomical drawing does not have to be boring.
2. Can you become an graphic artist even if you have no exceptional talent but only a set of professional skills and the strong desire to become an artist?
And the other way around: Can you become a professional graphic artist without education but with a really exceptional talent?
Surely - but probably you will end up having a career limited to only a certain aspect like 3D graphics or concept art.
I think that graphics are 90% craft - and only the rest is talent.
The nice part of that is that you never stop learning. There is always someone who has found a more effective way to do certain things from whom you can learn.
3. What about the age you start learning? For example, can you start drawing if you're 40 and still become a good graphic artist?
I think the age does not matter. Good judgement and a sense for economically effective working will only come while you evolve as a person anyway, so it can be helpful if you're older.
And by the way: For drawing nude portraits it certainly helps if your hormones have already settled down a bit.
4. Are there any criteria or parameter to instantly recognise if someone can become a good graphic artist?
No. But you can see if someone has a long way ahead of him.
Take a drawing from a living model. You can then quite well judge the observation skill and the technical understanding of the one who made that drawing. Even an untrained eye can do that.
But this does not mean that this person was not able to paint the best abstract or the most phantastic pictures or be a really skilled font designer.
5. Which well known painters or paintings have influenced you? Which of the great masters is close to you and are there any russian painters you like?
From the russian painters I like the ones from the late 19th century (Aivasowski and many of the realists). The poster design of the post revolution era is also unbelievable.
From the painters in the western area, I'm still overwhelmed by Singer-Sagent, Leyendecker, Rembrandt, Moebius, David Roberts and countless others.
I'm especially very fond of Eugene Carriere...
6. Any website you can recommend for study to starting graphic artists?
Old art and new art - both very good sites.
7. In russia, comics are not very popular. What draws you to that genre?
Until I was 25 I really wanted to become a director. But after some practical experiences with that, I realised that are few jobs more frustrating than that.
So I refocused on my love for comics which really started in the late 70s with magazines line "Metal Hurlant" and all those underground comics.
I was lucky to grow up in a household where comics were not considered a thread for the youth (my father still likes to read Donald Duck stories). Asterix, Tintin and others have accompanied me through my childhold and when I read "Watchmen" in the mid 80s, a totally new world opened up for me. Comics as a form of literature can do a lot of things that no other medium can: Several layers of storytelling in one single picture, control the reading speed and let the reader discover visual similarities that base on the pictures he knows.
Comics are considered to be the 9th art. For me, that's right.
8. Which genre do you prefer as painter (portrait, still live, landscape)?
All of them! The good thing about getting older is that things that seemed impossible to me earlier now are sometimes easy to achieve because my own techniques have evolved further.
Painting persons was very boring for me at first because it was difficult. But now that I came to that through sculpting, it's like a journey to discover a completely different kind of landscape.
9 What is more difficult in your opinion: To find an idea for a motive or to realise it just the way you planned it?
A good idea and composition is still the most difficult part.
The rest is just technical stuff - and for that, you only need experience and time.
10. What is your inspiration during you work? Are there different things in different works that give you an inspiration?
Absolutely. With "WEISSE LÜGEN" (translation: "white lies") it was the imagination to live in a time where things that are commonly available to us (like music) were not to get as easy as the push of a button. But where someone had to really sit down to work it out.
In the works for Risen I often search for inspiration in old fotographic travel books.
And for cartoons, I get my inspiration from events in the real world or from the news.
11. thumbnail sketches.
After you have an idea for a picture, how do you realise it? Do you make different sketches? How do you choose the best one?
I always make small thumbnail sketches. That helps me to narrow down my idea and solve the first technical problems like contrast and composition.
How and in what phase do you create the perspective? How do you choose a point of view for your picture?
This is still an instinctive decision for fifty percent. The other half is done by imagining I was a totally uninvolved observer who looks at the picture for the very first time. Does he get the idea? Can it be misinterpreted in some way? After all those years, the perspective has become an automatism about which I don't have to think a lot, thankfully. But once it is chosen, I realise it in the classical way with vanishing points...
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25.09.2008 15:17 -
[Translation] Interview with Ralf Marczinczik about the work of a graphic artist#1
foobar's thoughts on copy protection • Myths about DRM • A proposal for a better copy protection system • The Comfort Lie • Why DoF is wrong • SteamWorks = closed due to wealth? • A glossary for younger gamers • A plea for systematic magic • Why QTEs are evil • Savegame editor for Drakensang 2
foobar erklärt die Welt der Informatik: Was ist ein Zeichensatz? • Was ist die 32Bit-Grenze? • Warum sind Speicheroptimierer Unsinn? • Warum brauche ich den Dual Core Optimizer? • Wie teste ich meinen RAM? • Was ist HDR? • Was ist Tesselation? • Warum haben wir ein Urheberrecht?
Last edited by foobar; 29.09.2008 at 11:41.
25.09.2008 16:26 #2
as to drawing i'm only a bit better than the greenhand-level, so i can't say much ... but i like Ralf's art design.
Thank you foobar for translating.
25.09.2008 19:44 #3
05.12.2008 16:17 #4
13.12.2008 13:39 #5
13.12.2008 14:09 #6
lol....when i saw the thread i thought it`s a whole new interview :|
why revive an old thread just to say thanks? do you care about posts that much?
13.12.2008 16:57 #7
13.12.2008 17:26 #8
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
- Guarding Chinvat Bridge (As-Sirāt); a bridge finer than a hair and sharper than a sword.
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