Interview: Senior Conceptual Artist for PlayStation Studios Edouard Groult

It’s our great pleasure to welcome the Senior Conceptual Artist for PlayStation Studios GameFor architects and developers Firesprite Edouard Groult to Fantha Tracks. 

FT: Edouard – Many thanks for joining us on Fantha Tracks for a chat Star WarsArt and poetry. Would you share your earliest memories? Star WarsDo you wish to share your memories?

EG: My first trip was with Euro Disney Star Tours. It was an unforgettable experience. My earliest memory was of Star Tours at Euro Disney. Star WarsIt was terrible that it was in such bad conditions. After spending a day in France I was back on the Sky Club school bus that was returning to my hometown. During our journey, we were provided with a VHS tape by the club. I watched the film on a small screen located at the front of a loud bus. Star Wars: A New HopeThe first time. Then, you can go back to the Star WarsThe theme stayed with me for the rest of the night.

FT: What’s your favourite Star Wars film?

EG: It’s not original, but my favorite is The Empire Strikes back. It is the essence and essence of what I believe is the essence. Star Wars. A desperate conflict between the Empire war machine, which was wounded in battle, and the small but determined rag-tag Rebellion. The Empire war Machine was a formidable opponent, despite their hit-and-run victories. The Rebels, buoyed up by their success in guerrilla tactics were acutely aware of the possibility of being decimated if faced against the Imperial foe. Defeat now would not only cost the lives and hope many Rebel soldiers, women and aliens but also many other lives. Although the possibility of regaining troops or firepower was inevitable, it was a grim prospect. The loss of hope for the rebellions’ cause would have been a grave risk. It was one that could not have been taken. The Rebels’ survival is dependent on their ability and persistence to outsmart and frustrate an Empire that is becoming increasingly aggressive in their hunt.

FT: Who’s your favourite character?

EG:C-3PO, R2D2, and General Veers are some of my favorite heroes. They provide a semblance of humor in the midst of a fiercely contested galactic conflict. General Veers, an Imperial officer who keeps his cool even in the midst intense battle, is another favorite.

FTDo You Collect Anything at All? Star Wars?

EG: I am a proud child of a large library. Star WarsOther things I had collected included micro-machines, fleets of starships and fragile TIE Fighters, as well as small Stormtroopers. I also collected movies and books on VHS tape. LEGO was not available for me as a young adult. Star Wars appeared, but I wasn’t collecting things anymore, but my bedroom was ram-packed with lots of other nerd stuff…

FT: Has any of this modern technology been a pleasure for you? Star WarsAre you interested in live-action films or TV?

EG: That’s a big question. It was great! Rogue OneIt was a lot. Empire Strikes BackIt is full if spirit. This was a significant victory for Rebel Alliance. However, it required great sacrifice to defeat an industrialised Imperial warmachine that grows more menacing by the day.

Concerning the sequel film trilogyThe Force awakens, The Last Jedi The Rise of SkywalkersThere were some great ideas and actors involved, but they weren’t used as well or implemented as well.

Another well-loved franchise, JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, also followed a trilogy story telling structure, was beautifully interpreted and directed by Peter Jackson. His production quality has been an inspiration to modern cinema. Denis Villeneuve’s translation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, literature famously considered impossible to adapt from page to screen, has been wonderfully realized. Due to the dense source material, this could be a comparable format to the trilogy. These franchises show that modern cinema can still create cinematic experiences that are fresh, captivating, and true to its complex source material.

I believe that the unfortunately is true. Star WarsThe sequels should be treated with more seriousness than the conflicted directororial perspectives. This contributed to the confusion and the films suffered. The Star WarsThey faithfully rewrote the original trilogy’s continuity. They did however go too far in replicating the original storyline profile. This resulted that a small fighting force defeated an overwhelming evil force, and a single warrior was gifted with mystical abilities. I believe they missed an opportunity to innovate. Star WarsExperiences and true stories will continue the story.

FT: As a Star WarsAre you a fan of an artist or a fan? Star WarsAnimations

EG: I love Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2D Star Wars: Clone Wars, and the 3D Show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which has incredible stories and battles, sharing point of views from the heroes, regular Clone Troopers or even separatists’ perspectives. I didn’t watch Star Wars: Rebels, as I don’t like the Stormtrooper design, nor Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

FT: Any of the following? Star WarsAre visual effects, concepts or designs inspiring?

EG: It’s a huge help in my work. I know what to avoid in sci-fi design and how to paint things to look. Star WarsEach universe has its own style of spaceships.

FT: How did you get your passion for art?

EG: Since childhood, drawing has been a passion. It wasn’t easy at first but I quickly learned how to do it. At the age of 7-9, I was already painting scenes from WWII battles or Napoleonic campaigns. Early bird, early nerd.

FT: Do you prefer digital or traditional art?

EG: Both are my passions. I always like to keep a sketch book in my bag at all times and will draw anywhere when I have the time or I’m waiting something. Digital of course helps a lot for work, it’s faster to draw with and easier to share via the internet. 

FTDescribe the analogue art and materials with which you feel most comfortable.

EG: Mostly drawing with pens on my sketch book, I’m not a fan of pencils. I use Wacom classic tablets as well as the iPad Pro with Procreate digital. It is a high-quality product, even though it is quite expensive.

FT: What is the difference between today’s hardware or software and your previous experiences with digital content creation?

EG: My digital painting journey began with a basic Photoshop Cs3. Although it was quite primitive at the time, it provided all the necessary painting software. I`m currently using Photoshop CC, its efficient and full of possibilities, however at the moment I don’t make full use of its potential, I only use what I need. As the numeric world of pictures becomes more complex, Photoshop CC’s capabilities are even more complex.

FT: What’s key in digital art, software, hardware or an equilibrium of both?

EG: A solid machine, whether it’s a computer or a screen-tablet, will allow you access the best painting software. It is crucial to be able paint fluidly without lags, bugs or crashes. Artists can use their intuition to create a stable platform that allows for fluid painting.

FTPlease describe your preferred hardware specifications and software options.

EG: Software, Photoshop is my favorite program. It’s not the best software for creating art, but it has been a great tool to use over the years. I like the interface and its performance. My preferred display device is the Wacom tablet or screen. They are durable, high-quality, and last a long time. My previous kit lasted 7+years. I prefer a sturdy platform with enough RAM and storage to run my computer.

FT: Do you have any tips or tricks for people who want to create their own digital art?

EG: You can either get a regular desktop or a desktop with older versions of Photoshop if your budget is tight. While it might not have all the bells and whistles that a newer version has, it will still be able to provide sufficient functionality and be much less expensive to buy. Modern Photoshop is more expensive that older versions. Newer versions love RAM and hard drives which will increase costs. A second-hand Wacom tablet Intuos Pro, which is also a great option for display, is an excellent choice. They are small, but very efficient. They are affordable if you have the means and are willing pay a little more.

FT: When did you decide to pursue a career of art?

EG: My parents always supported my artistic aspirations while growing up, my father’s side of the family are very artistic. School was a different story. Art was not considered a career option. My teachers and career counselors tried to discourage my art and encourage me into different careers. My mother encouraged me to forget all of that. She believed in my creativity, and that my painting skills could make a good living.

FT: How was your academic preparation prepared you for a career working in the arts?

EG: After my Baccalaureate at 18 years old, I left my family home and moved to Paris to begin two years of art-preparation studies at the Ateliers de Sèvres. I learned to stop drawing as an adolescent and to create my own universe. It also helped me to renew my mentality. I continued my education at the Belgian illustration school for five more years.

It wasn’t about the classes or lessons that were important at those schools. It was more about making new friends and sharing your art with them. It was because these Belgian guys that my dream to become a videogame designer came true.

FT: What career were you hoping for in your career as a game designer?

EG: As a child, I collected films, books, and games. I enjoyed researching characters, and their environments. My favourite was the Jurassic Park Book. District 9 was my absolute grimoire of concept artwork.

Igor-Alban Chevalier (aka Black Frog) was a friend I made while studying at an illustration school here in Belgium. He also ran a small workshop. I called my parents the next day to tell them that this was what I wanted to do. I purchased a Wacom tablet graphic, and began digital painting. It was hard…

FT: For what video games has your conceptual art been created?

EG: I worked with Rebellion SoftwareShe lived in Oxford UK for nine years. I was there for 9 year and worked on the Sniper Elite Series. Sniper Elite v2Through to Sniper Elite 5. I also worked on Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army Strange BrigadeAmongst others.

I’m now working with FirespriteLiverpool. They are a first-party PlayStation studio. With regards their games I’m currently working on, shhh is the word.

FT: If you could pick a favourite amongst the video games you’ve worked on, which one would it be?

EG: This was the last Sniper Elite with which I worked before I left. Rebellion. This game was a labor-of-love. The game’s theatre is set during WWII in Normandy, and being a WWII nerd since childhood, this game was a favourite. I painted the concept arts of course, and a tons of false propaganda posters, commercials on walls, small 1940`s style cartoons, and much more…

FT: Are you currently working on any video game projects?

EG: I could tell you, but……

FT: Do you enjoy playing video games?

EG: Although I try to find the time to play videogames, I like a chef who doesn’t eat his own food and enjoy the break. I have a lot of work, not only for videogames but also for my personal art, science magazines, history books, and some R&R. Despite this, I was able to find some time to play Ghost of Tsushima or Witcher 3 in between projects. Because… they are awesome.

FT: What advice would a potential videogame artist get?

EG: Be creative. Enjoy the joy in creating stories. Follow your instincts and get down to the paper. Learn from the mistakes of talented artists to get inspiration. Passionately pursue your artistic goals. Although vision is important, it is not enough to be able to see the whole picture. Be open to compromising your ideas and be open to sharing them.

Your idea might be great and just what the project needs to make it better, but so could another’s idea. By encouraging open communication and listening, you can promote positive work environments. When all ideas have been shared, consider their merits, and as appropriate, confidently defend your idea, or accept another’s, perhaps even a hybrid of both, but in all cases undertake these communications humbly.

FT: Are you a professional but have a hobby of creating art?

EG: Too much, but I’m a workaholic. Three years ago, I worked on a 24-minute 2D animation. This was just for fun. I also created my own animation and sound design. This was not for a festival or contest, but for my own enjoyment and my friends.

FT: The claustrophobic feeling that an Imperial Trooper column is funnelling down into a foreboding corridor. It is peppered with spiked helmets and heavy machine traversing untamed watersy battlegrounds. Newly conceived Medical Corp Troopers administering Battle Bacta treatments. Tense battlefield exchanges in which Stormtroopers use cover rather than the often used tactics their plastoid-plated armor armor. Your new ideas merge the familiar with the unfamiliar. Star Wars concept fan art is not just eye-catching, these momentary images evoke impactful sensation but further encourage the viewer’s imagination, so what inspired you to create your Star WarsFan concept art series

EG:As a child, I was fascinated by the Empire. It was a small scene that was very entertaining. A New HopeTwo Stormtroopers converse while Obi Wan adjusts the tractor beams. Death Star was on alert. One trooper believes it is a drill. This is enough to allow one trooper to visualize the finer points of a galactic warmachine. This inspired me to explore imagery that I may not have seen on official documents. Star Wars content.

I didn’t want the Empire to be glorified; they are not considered a winner. They’re still individuals, with their own hopes and fears, dutifully serving the ranks of massive Imperial army deployed across a huge Galactic theatre. The Galactic Empire is akin to ancient Rome. An Empire ruled over large areas with the Mediterranean Sea, replacing an old Republic. Star Wars galaxy. Many different ethnicities, peoples, interests populate this galaxy. Large armies are responsible for their security. Roman Army’s Legionaries and the Empire’s Stormtrooper Legions each supported by the logistics and firepower of their respective Navies. Both military behemoths were ready to destroy their enemies with ferociousness. This was also true in Alderaan, Carthage and elsewhere.

Much as Rome commissioned volunteers across the Empire’s colonies to bolster the might of their Roman armies, I would imagine the Galactic Empire would do so also. While Star Wars may have a larger human population than here on our own Earth, I don’t think it’s realistic that restricting the Empire’s ranks exclusively to human, would not provide sufficient numbers within their ranks to police populations across the many planetary systems of an entire galaxy. Native species may be better able to learn and relate to local customs and topographies.

That’s what I understand. Star WarsCanon represented humans as the ruling species, with what appeared to have been a xenophobic view of other species sentience. This logic is the basis of my belief that xenophobia doesn’t belong in this world. Star WarsThis is why I wanted Stormtroopers painted on non-human animals.

FT: Your Star WarsThe fan concept series of art has been very well received in the art and entertainment worlds. Star WarsFan communities. Many people were inspired by your images of Battlefield Medical Corp Troopers to use this model in their future cosplay. The following was graciously shared by you. Refer to anatomical model. It’s a great gesture, and I hope that it realizes its potential to be used in cosplay. The model detail lends itself well to action figure forms. We would be grateful if you could send us any action figures or cosplay versions that you have created.

EG: It was a complete surprise for me when I found that. 3D printed model my Medic-TrooperEtsy. Another reason is that a Facebook group made up of cosplayers adopted the same Medic Trooper concept, and is actively creating great suits. It’s already happening.

FT: Have you received your Star WarsAre you a fan of concept art? What inspired you to create your own?

EG:I was shocked. I expected to get a few likes. I received hundreds of Facebook likes and comments, which was more than I could have ever imagined. A message was sent by an army medic to thank me for my artwork. It represented his role within the Corp via the Medic Trooper. This was a great reminder of the Corps’ diversity. Star WarsIt is great to be part of a group and it is heartwarming for so many people to share a passion for the universe.

FT: How long does it take to make one of yours? Star WarsHow do you create concept art pieces?

EG: It all depends on the subject. The longer it takes to complete an image, the busier it will be. One would take me 6 to 7 hours.

FT: Do any of your favorite people live in your home? Star Wars concept fan art pieces?

EG: The transport’s sleeping Stormtrooper, or the diner one.

FT: Are you focusing your efforts on a new project right now? Star Wars concept fan art pieces?

EG: It wasn’t. They were painted by me in May and June. Now I have to concentrate on my personal projects. I Love working on Star WarsI love fan art but have so many projects. However, I hope to do some more Star WarsFuture fan arts.

FT: Are your hobbies and other interests inspiring you to create art?

EG: I’ve dabbled a little with Warhammer 40,000, but that’s it. I enjoy being inspired by others but not necessarily creating art based on their ideas. The Star WarsConcept fan art is what I draw for the child in my head.

FT: Are your future art projects included in your plans?

EG: Except for my professional work, there is not much I am currently working on. I realized that my fan artwork was appreciated and that people were interested to purchase my artwork. I plan to create an internet site so people can see my artwork and maybe buy it.

FT: Where can I find more of your artwork online

EG: Visit my site.InstagramOr my Art station.

FTEdouard: It was a pleasure to be your guest and to chat with. Star WarsPoetry and art. Many thanks for sharing. Star WarFantha Tracks invites all fans to share their fan art. We wish you success in all your artistic endeavors.

Interview: Senior Conceptual Artist for PlayStation Studios Edouard Groult

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