Chitchat: Joe Vriens

interveiw

Your Full Name
Joe Vriens (aka joverine)

Tell us about you.
I currently work as a concept artist & illustrator with over a decade of work experience in various industries including comic book, animation & video games and even toys. I have worked with Microsoft, Udon Ent.,Sony Ent. Capcom, Blizzard/TokyoPop, Marvel, DC comics, Wildstorm, Silicon Knights, Sota Toys, LeapFrog, SEGA and many more.

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When was the first time you fell in love with concepting-art? And why?
I’ve always wanted to create my own worlds inhabited by the creepy crawlies and massive monsters. I remember a show called Secret City hosted by Commander Mark (Mark Kistler) when I was a kid.

He would share art tips throughout the show but the highlight for me was when he added a new tidbit to a mural he was building. It had all these floating islands with these little bears interacting with each other. I loved how alive it felt whenever he added a new little story each episode. (here’s a link to the show if you’re interested http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAhdWmzbAuM&feature=related)

Where are you now?
Ontario, Canada

What makes your works stand-out or different from other concept artist?
Hmm, I’m not really sure. I think everybody has a unique flavour to their artwork. Even artists that mimic another’s style still show their own personalities. I tend to focus on the energy of the character, whether it’s a full body pose or a portrait. I try to feel the emotion of the character, which guides me through the painting. I also gravitate towards the beastly characters, the villains and the monsters, which allow me to exaggerate poses and faces.

What motivates you?
Creativity. Seeing amazing artwork helps get the artsauce flowing!

How does working professionally differ from being an amateur in your opinion?
A professional brings his/her “A” game no matter what they’re working on. To do this you must find a way to love the project you work on because without love-or passion the artwork has no life. This shows through in a subtle or subconscious way that the viewer picks up on. Also a professional will honour a deadline while maintaining a consistent high quality.

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If you could meet w/ any artist (one) past or present, whom would it be?
Frank Frazetta(RIP)

Who (or what) is your biggest influence?

I think the show mentioned above(Secret City) was my earliest influence. Classic Disney animations were huge too-especially Fantasia-the scene where the massive demon comes out of a mountain really stuck with me. I watched the original King Kong movie over and over and over again as well. Then came Streetfighter II, Akira and Joe Mad. It’s hard to nail it down to one single influence. My brother draws too and I’m always inspired and entertained when I go through his sketchbook. His Deviantart site can be found here http://www.fermentedmind.deviantart.com/

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What is your life moto?
Good things may come to those who wait, but GREAT things come to those who create ;)

Tell us several good online resources for concept artist you recommend visiting?
CGHub, Conceptart.org, Deviantart.

Do you have a style that you relate to the most?

I am mainly influenced by Capcom(Streetfighter and Darkstalkers) Frank Frazetta and Bill Watterson(Calvin & Hobbes)

Can you offer any advice on how to build-up a portfolio / ‘getting your foot in the door’ for our readers wishing to start a career in this line of concept artist?
Online forums are a great way to get all the info you need (CGHub and Conceptart.org are my 2 favourites) Get involved in the discussions, give input on other artists posts-enter the contests they have there. Go to conventions. Contact a friend that has a job in the industry (that can help you get in, but your skills will help you stay in)

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Name 3 of your favorite (art) books/ magazines.
Art of (insert anything Capcom here haha) Calvin’n’Hobbes(any of them) Imagine FX
Udon has an amazing library of Capcom books btw.

Do you have anyone/company you would like to collaborate/work together?
I think it would be amazing to work with Pixar to learn about story telling. I have an original I.P. I’ve been developing for a long time now, but telling a story seems my biggest challenge. I don’t think it would fit Paxar’s taste or style, but I would love to be able to soak up their amazing talent for telling a story.

What are the concept artist equipment(s) do you currently own?

I have an iMac and a Cintiq 20wsx. I also have a sketchbook and Col-erase Carmine red pencils that I use a lot. If I ink it’s with a Pentel ink brush pen.

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Name 3 softwares (or tools) that you use the most, and tell us the function of each them.
I mainly use Photoshop to paint and sometimes Sketchbook Pro to sketch. I recently started using Evernote to co-ordinate and store my ideas and reference pics. I highly recommend everyone to try it out. I can record my voice on my iPhone when I’m out for a note, which syncs to my iPad and iMac. I love how easy it is to organize everything with tags too. Evernote is great for those times you’re laying in bed and don’t have a pen laying around to jot down an idea that popped in your head!

If you have online portfolio, what is the URL?
Right now I have my blog http://joevriens.blogspot.com/ and Deviantart gallery http://joe-vriens.deviantart.com/. I’m currently reworking my website so it’s down for a bit. I have an online store with Zazzle also http://www.zazzle.com/joverine so go buy some stuff! Haha If you’re bored you can also stop by my Facebook fanpage here (click Like! ) http://www.facebook.com/pages/joverine/109368908753?ref=sgm
My Youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/thegoodsauce
My livestream(careful, curse words lol) http://www.livestream.com/jogeetv
FRIDAYS
8-10PM EST
1-3 AM GMT
5-7 PM Pacific

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