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Interview with artist Shane Coppage

Posted on January 18, 2005 by Flames

How did you get into gaming?

Well, when I graduated from college in late 2000 I wanted to do concept art for the movie industry, but I quickly came to realize that my abilities were far too underdeveloped for that to occur; so I began searching the internet for companies that hired freelance artists hoping to have the oppurtunity to work from home and develop my technical skills. I began e-mailing companies and after a few months I received some feedback; by the end of 2001 I had my first professional commission with the now defunct Thunderhead Games. I stayed with smaller press companies until I attended Gen-Con 2002, which would later that year begin my involvement with White Wolf. I have been working steadily with them and a few other companies since then.

Where do find your inspiration? How do you keep your ideas fresh?

A lot of places. I love animation, both American and Japanese. By Japanese I mean, of course, anime. I simply can’t get enough anime. I watch Adult Swim faithfully and spend too much money on recently released anime titles on DVD. And by American animation I don’t mean Disney, but things like Teen Titians- Cartoon Network is a god scent. Animation is just fun and so heavy on visual ideas that it helps to remind me that art should always be fun and inventive. Other things that inspire me would be viewing the work of other artists, playing video games, watching movies, reading a good book, just about anything that shows me how the hard work and talent of other artists can produce some amazing things. As far as my ideas being fresh, I’ll let others be the judge of that. I am just happy when I can successfully create the images that come to me.

Do you have a favorite medium?

Yes, actually. I love graphite pencil. It is the simplest way to create an image. I can be anywhere, at anytime of day or night and all I need is a pencil, eraser, and a sketchbook to work. My illustrations are all done digitally, but I do a full pencil drawing of the figure(s) and any other elements of the image as sort of the under painting for my final illustrations. So pencil is hands down my favorite medium.

Where do you see Art in the RPG industry headed?

Let’s see. I don’t have much of a history with the industry, so it is difficult is predict where something will go if you don’t know fully where it has been. But if I were to guess, I would say that more artists will continue to move into digital, especially with software like Painter reproducing traditional mediums so faithfully. Of course, there will always be a place for the traditional approach, just look at the work of Brom and Donato…enough said.

What has been your most challenging work in the RPG industry?

Okay, that is a very good question. I haven’t had one commission that stands out as more challenging than another. However, I do see each commission I receive as a personal and professional challenge to improve; to move my artistic abilities into new areas, basically to step it up to the next level. I never want my art to stagnate or be too predictable. Variety and technical achievement are what I will always strive for when creating new artwork; and that is a hell of a challenge in and of itself.

What can you tell us about your work on Obsidian: the Age of Judgment?

I only did four images for I believe the Daemon Codex book, so there is not a lot of work of mine in the series- so far anyways (fingers crossed). What I recall being the most enjoyable element of working on the book was the freedom I had when creating the images. Essentially, what I did was character concepts, which are my favorite thing to create- I think that goes back to my desire to do concept design for movies. There were little restrictions on what I could create, so I was able to draw some dark, messed up characters and that is always a blast.

How does it feel to be in the new Vampire: the Requiem book?

Very fortunate. I love White Wolf, they have been extremely good to me and in particular the Art Director on Requiem is a great friend; so it is always great working with her. A great deal of hard work and sacrifice went into creating Requiem and I am just pleased to be a part of it. The one thing unique about the work I did for the book was that the three images I did where created over one weekend – basically it took me a day to take each image from sketch to final, which was a first for me. I was contacted by the Art Director who needed to add some more pieces to the book before it hit the presses; that was a Friday afternoon and she needed them by Monday morning- needless to say that was a busy weekend. I think it will be a fabulous series and I am happy to have my name in among the other talented artists that also contributed their work to the book.

What games are you currently playing, if any?

I have never played a RPG in my life, but if you mean video games then Choas Legion is one game that I have been really into recently.

What’s next for you?

Well, I just finished up some work for FanPro’s State of the Art 2063 and for the next Requiem book. I have some more work for FanPro and White Wolf slated for the very near future. Speaking more in the long-term, I am developing my ability to work with color. I would definitely love to have more professional experience with color, so I have been placing a lot of concentration on that element of my work. And as always I am going to try keeping busy and smiling politely while doing it..:)

Visit Shane’s Website for a gallery and more information:
www.shanecoppage.com

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