Perhaps in the anime and figure collecting community, RadiantDreamer needs no further introduction. I bet you’ve already been impressed by his unique and surreal artwork and Photoshop skills, but for those who would like to know more, check out his interview and be inspired.
Let me just mention some of his achievements, RadiantDreamer worked on over 20 games in his 8 years as senior artist and eventually a lead artist in the video game industry. He started his own iPhone game development company and published his first game in 2010. Currently a freelance artist, he’s probably best known for his artwork for the European release of the anime-style fighting game Blazblue.
ToyPusher.com: Tell us about your career as an illustrator, did you have a formal education to become one and what made you decide to pursue where you are right now?
RadiantDreamer: I’ve always loved to draw, ever since I was a kid. I never received any formal training at the time, and even when I first started drawing anime in high school, I had always learned to draw on my own, and was inspired by Tsukasa Hojo of Cat’s Eye and City Hunter fame at the time.
I found the key to learning was paying attention to the details and mimicking those details. I went to art school later for a formal education, and although the majority of it was already things that I knew, it helped sharpen and improve my skills.
ToyPusher.com: I enrolled in a sketching class before but it didn’t work out for me. I guess I don’t have enough discipline or talent. Lol.
What do you enjoy most about being an illustrator? Could you describe a typical work day?
RadiantDreamer: What I love the most about being an illustrator is simply taking ideas and expressing them visually. I take great pride in my work, and am most passionate about it when I’m able to share it with others.
I won’t bore you with the details of a typical work day though, because it’s not all that spectacular. ;)
ToyPusher.com: Haha. That’s okay, I’m sure a your typical work day is a lot more interesting than mine. What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve completed and why?
RadiantDreamer: My favorite projects are definitely those that involve anime. While I really enjoy all types of art styles, anime is definitely my thing. So when I was asked to create a cover for Blazblue featuring my favorite Blazblue character, I was more than a little excited. Working with the great people at Arc System Works/Zen United was an incredible experience.
My other most favorite project would have to be making Sonic Rivals for PSP. I was the special FX artist on the team, and pretty much the only guy that understood how the particle systems worked. In addition to creating hundreds of special FX, I was also the coordinating lead on the team – first doing project planning for the animators, and then leading the entire team of 20 or so artists. Overall, I was working with over 50 people at the time! Being a lead artist is definitely very different from being an illustrator, and I learned A LOT from that experience.
ToyPusher.com: Sounds exciting! I would love to participate in a project like that. Now, after a lot of interesting projects, do you still remember the very first piece of artwork that you created?
RadiantDreamer: I think the very first piece of art I ever did was drawing a jar of peanut butter with crayon on wrinkled line paper. I was 2 or 3 years old at the time. Surprisingly enough, I had some understanding of perspective already! I don’t know where that drawing went though.
ToyPusher.com: It would have been really cool if you or your parents were able to keep that drawing.
What’s your favorite illustration that you did on a whim?
RadiantDreamer: You ask some pretty tough questions, Xine! It’s difficult to narrow down which illustration as being my favorite, but I suppose I would have to go with loligoth girl.
I had decided at the time, almost on a whim, that I needed to update my anime style, and loligoth girl was the result of it. She’s also very popular too – for a while, she was the 3rd image if you did an image search on Google for loligoth, and she’s still the first result on youtube, with over 94,400 views in total for all three parts of the video! This definitely caught me by surprise!
ToyPusher.com: Loligoth girl is pretty popular, I like the subtleties of this piece, very nice.
Since you’re also a toy collector, which toys have you used as inspiration for your works?
RadiantDreamer: I used to use inspiration as an excuse for figure collecting, but to be honest, my figures haven’t given me much inspiration at all. All my inspiration is drawn from other artists, and my daily life. The only time I ever used a figure as reference was when I used Alicia Florence as my base pose for my Mirai fan art. I mostly collect anime figures to use for my figure photoshops. Through that, I’m constantly looking at the figures, and trying to come up with themes and scenarios that would fit the character’s appearance and personality. Of course, since I rarely know anything about the character of the figure, some of the results are more in line with the figure rather than the character’s personality.
ToyPusher.com: Do you have a signature design when it comes to your illustrations? Who are your favorite artists?
RadiantDreamer: My signature “design” would be “all over the place”. At least to me that’s what it seems. I try not to pigeon-hole myself into one unique style, and like to try different things, or at least variants of my main style, if I even have one. One reason for this is so that I can express myself more freely depending on the context of the piece I am trying to create. This is a double-edged sword too though, as I become a jack of all trades, master of none.
My favorite artists? I’m absolutely terrible with names, but I love Shigenori Soejima’s works. The way he blends his clean and absolute lines with his incredibly organic and vibrant painting style blows my mind. His character designs are so creative, dynamic, unique and memorable. If I was allowed one month to learn from him, I would literally drop everything I am doing right now for that opportunity.
I also love Range Murata’s art. He’s got his own unique style that you can tell immediately that it’s his work. I draw parallels between him and Masakasu Katsura in terms of their quirky character designs.
ToyPusher.com: I see most of your works as something dream-like. The lines, the setting and the mood, every element looks interesting.
What tools of the trade do you use the most?
RadiantDreamer: I’m ashamed to say that I don’t really know how to use Corel Painter. It’s something that I vow to learn someday, but that someday hasn’t come yet. It seems like such a powerful painting tool that I want to learn it. But I’m so comfortable with using Photoshop that I can’t pull myself away long enough and have the patience to learn something so intimidatingly complex. That’s probably why I opted to learn Easy Painter Tool Sai instead. I sometimes use Sai to do my line-art because of the brush stability and rotateable canvas feature. I use Photoshop for painting the colors (again, because I’m familiar with it and too lazy to learn other programs).
ToyPusher.com: Your videos where you show how you illustrate your characters are awesome! (Nice background music selection too.) Are you working on something right now that we should all watch out for?
RadiantDreamer: Every week, I try to post a new video of my art. My youtube channel serves as a video diary of my illustrations, and as entertainment for my readers and viewers. If you want to act like a fly on the wall and observe my workflow, subscribe to my youtube channel http://youtube.com/vihena for weekly updates!
ToyPusher.com: How can aspiring illustrators improve their skills? Any advice that you can give them?
RadiantDreamer: DRAW LIKE CRAZY!! Nothing beats practice. Miyamoto Musashi even urges one to practice so much that one forgets how to do it – in other words, practice so much that it becomes natural to you. When you practice, you become aware of your drawings, and you’ll be able to pick out what you’re doing wrong and improve on it. If you’re drawing characters, even if they are anime characters, I strongly urge understanding human anatomy, either through books, or through life-drawing classes. Even though you’ll be drawing real-life people, it will greatly improve your skills in drawing anime.
ToyPusher.com: Thank you very much, RadiantDreamer for this interview. Just keep doing what you’re doing, your works are fantastic! I’m still looking forward for that art book of yours. ^^
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