Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus
Could you tell us more about Planet Yerek Color script and the inspiration behind it?
With Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus, we sought to explore the notion of a haunted sector of the galaxy. Yet alongside the mystery and creepiness, we worked to maintain the vibrant color palettes the franchise is known for. Color scripts helped us find the right blend of tone, while ensuring the major sections of the level held their own voice. Ultimately we found the raking warm light of the "Golden Hour" combined with angular silhouettes provided the right balance between classic Ratchet and a fresh take on the world.
What is one of your favorite art pieces/artists?
Without a doubt, Bill Watterson's timeless work on Calvin and Hobbes changed my life. As a kid I would pour over the newspaper in search of the newest strips. I was always enamored with the variety of styles and stories yet that boy and his tiger pulled me back day after day. Many years ago for our anniversary, my wife gave me a reproduction of Watterson's final strip-one of my absolute favorites. With the cartoon hanging in my studio, I read it almost daily.
Could you tell us more about your journey in how you became a game artist?
My first video game system was the Atari 2600 and from that Christmas morning onward, I was hooked. Through the years I was continually caught up in the worlds and stories. I found myself designing my own maps for Bionic Commando while Metroid provided my first glimpse into the amazement of video game creatures. Yet as time went on, I crafted dreams of moving to New York and working in comic books for one of the big publishers. Unfortunately the 90's were a bumpy time for the comics industry and as I wrapped up college I turned my focus back to my childhood passion. As luck would have it, I managed to land a concept job with Singletrac Studio (home of Jet Moto and Twisted Metal), then later with Insomniac Games. I've been having a blast ever since.
What inspires you with your work and why?
This is a tough one, largely since inspiration arrives from so many angles. Yet I've always been drawn to vintage sci-fi-everything from Alex Raymond's work on Flash Gordon to old copies of Popular Mechanics. I tend to find myself lost in classic views of the future, complete with halftone printing and yellowed newsprint pages. I feel there's an aspirational charm to the imagery, coupled with the hopes of someday landing a school bus on Mars.
Do you have any tips you would give either to aspiring game artists or those game artists looking for inspiration?
Working in the industry, it can be tempting to find inspiration from other games. This type of research is important and can be extremely helpful. Yet I feel looking outside the game world as often as possible can provide fresh perspectives and new experiences. Film, comics, poetry, your backyard etc. can all provide a wealth of experiences to pull from. For visual artists, carrying a sketchbook and interpreting the world around you through drawing will help excavate your individual style. Finally, challenging yourself is critical. The moment your particular craft is feeling easy, you've probably done it before. Dig into new techniques and look for tough problems to solve.
What is a random/unique fact about the game you're working on or yourself that others may not know?
One of the toughest decisions I ever had to make as a kid was deciding between the Super Nintendo and the Genesis. This was big time stuff. I spent hours in Toys R Us comparing the games, the graphics and the controllers. Altered Beast had monsters. But Donkey Kong looked so smooth. Genesis took the prize because of Shinobi. Ninja Magic for the win.
Where can fans follow your work online?
Creaturebox.com serves as the digital playground for me and my partner in crime, Greg Baldwin, as we explore comics, character design, concept art and self-publishing. You can also find us at a fistful of social hangouts: