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Interview with Fred Hooper

Posted on March 23, 2004 by Flames

How did you get into gaming?

I used to play AD&D when I was a youngster, and moved into the Sci-fi stuff as a teen, Shadowrun and the like. As far as how I started working in the industry, I started going to conventions when I was a freshman in college, trying to get started in freelance illustration. I also sent out a lot of mailers and samples. Eventually people started calling for work.

You’ve done a mix of sci-fi and horror, do you have a favorite?

Horror, since I can experiment more with it… but I think that sci-fi can have a lot of horror elements in it and vice versa.

Where do you get your inspiration? How do you keep your work fresh and innovative?

A lot of inspiration I get from reading, movies or playing games. There aren’t a lot of really good horror films out there that are very scary, since I tend to go for the psychological horror over the splatterfest, which is what most horror is like these days. To keep things fresh, I try to make art with a theme. Like this piece is going to be all about the action, the next one is about mood, or this one is about the design. All of that is needed in the final piece, but it’s a way to focus on an aspect to keep me on my toes.

Do you have a favorite medium?

Mixed medium digital Mostly now I do full pencils and use the sketch for digital coloring.

Where do you see art in the RPG industry headed?

Well I think that digital art will continue to become more and more prevalent, since it’s an easier medium on a publisher/printer and can be FTP’d or attached to an e-mail, so sending the work on the day its due lends more time to actually make the artwork, since it will be there shortly after you send it. The artwork itself I think will be more detailed and dramatic. I think people are wanting a story to be told in a still image, so it can lend itself to drama through stylistic choices, color, and the use of shadow. If that makes any sense.

What advice do you have for hopeful artists trying to get into the gaming industry?

The first thing I’d tell people is, don’t get discouraged. It’s pretty easy to get there, if you’ve been going to shows and getting continually shot down by potential employers. I think the worst thing to do is give up on something you really want to do. The other thing I’d tell artists is to draw from life… a lot. I know this sounds obvious, but the more you draw from reference (people, places, things) the better you’ll get. Eventually, you’ll learn enough from it to start bending the rules. Also, if motivation is an issue, then take a class somewhere, its dedicated time to draw and you’ll get to meet like minded people.

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

The artwork I’ve done for Obsidian has been a real joy to work on. I liked working on the underground city piece. It forced me to work with a lot of perspective, as well as try to get the day to day life of the people in the world… That and I got to draw a tough looking woman. 8) I always had a lot of fun with the pieces, since they allowed the artist to run with ideas… that’s always cool. The one with the Kultist of the Undead with all of the hands reaching up was a load of fun.

What has been the most challenging work you’ve done in the RPG industry?

The most challenging work I did was my stint at FASA as, and working on Shadowrun 3 while I was there.

What RPG(s) are you currently playing?

Currently, I’m playing D&D, Shadowrun and occasionally All Flesh Must be Eaten.

What’s next for you?

Currently I’m working at Raven Software full time on Quake 4. I think I’ll be working on video games for a long time and doing freelance illustration all the way.

For more information on Fred Hooper, check out his website at www.fredhooper.com.

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