Some of my fondest memories come from days and nights spent cross-legged, gazing past mere pixels in a bulky TV monitor, watching a virtual story unfold through the movements of my thumbs.
My imagination ran wild within those worlds of Hyrule, the Mushroom Kingdom and yes, even the chaotic and harsh landscapes in games like Earthworm Jim. Each environment lasted far beyond the moment I reset my console and replaced the cartridge, only to transport into another universe. In fact, many of those environments still impact how I observe and interact with the world today, almost two decades later. For me, they have embedded themselves into my identity and continue influence the way I play in and perceive my everyday life.
I was propelled to reflect on this fact after viewing the works of Marie Bergeron, a professional graphic artist and illustrator from Montreal. I had been looking for color palettes on Dribbble but found something more… specifically, this poster which received +4,500 upvotes on reddit.
After looking at more of her work and realizing how influential games had been on her life, I contacted her to explore how that same influence I had as a child transformed into a full-blown passion and career for Marie.
The following is a transcript from an interview (AMA) Marie gifted to the MakerMesh community. I hope you enjoy her answers and find the time to reflect on what has not only inspired you, but has helped you identify yourself in this world.
MakerMesh — May 14th, 2015
Wesley: Why did you decided to create fan art professionally? Is there a story behind the first print you sold?
Fan Art was pretty much the best step for me as I am a huge fan of movies and games (and all this popular culture going on). But it wasn’t meant to be, it just sort of happened. First prints I sold were those I created for a book I did in College about movies (obviously).
This is one image of many that I did for the book which got me started in the industry. After creating the book, and posting it online, a gallery contacted me and this is pretty much how it started.
The book is entirely made by me (cover also). It was my final project for my Bachelors degree.
Wesley: What program or tools do you use to create this art? What does the process look like for you from start to finish?
I use Photoshop (PS) mainly. From sketch to finish. I usually start to draw ideas in a sketchbook first, but very, very quick drafts and once I know what I’m looking for I start on to work on PS. I sometimes use Illustrator as . And looking forward to try sketchbook and Manga studio.
Max: Warning huge movie snob here. What are some of your favorite films, NOT from the last decade?
Oh good question, I still ask myself what are my top. I usually know better when I divide those by categories. But overall, I’m a huge fan of American Beauty which I think Spacey gave an incredible acting skill (like usual), and I like the fact that the film is simple but yet very intimidating. I also have a few Kubrick film on top: Shining, Clockwork Orange, etc. Alien also. ☺
Rodrigo: What is your advice on new/seasoned illustrators? Is there a level of creativity that you have to meet certain criteria of art?
Very good question. I think the best for a new illustrator would be to follow a lot of illustrators, keep your eyes open on those creative blogs also. There is a lot of talent out there and certainly a great way to get inspired. Do what you are passionate about. If films and games ain’t your thing, just don’t do it. Search for what inspires you the most. Maybe it’s not fan art, maybe it’s your own imagination.
Be professional as well, don’t be a dick ;) Cheer up other illustrators and try to make contact over social media. We are all competitors but we also support each other which is very important. And the most important is to look for your own style, which can take a long time (even years…).
- Don’t try to copy somebody else’s style, but get inspired by them. Don’t try to do what everyone is creating, be your own.
- Don’t be afraid of bad work you do, it can happen, and it happens to every artist. Even the best. Be patient also, very patient.
We are very lucky to be part of a generation with Internet. Having social media at our disposal is the best thing that could have happen to creative people. Use it, use it wisely.
But don’t try to be everywhere at the same time. Like I said, choose wisely. Choose where you think your art will fit best (or design). It’s important to be efficient everywhere, so having too much to take care of can make you lose time and quality.
Wesley: Do you reach out to a group of people and ask for their final advice? Who are some of your biggest inspirations and what sites do you use to keep up with them?
I used to do that yes, reaching good friends of mine. But I soon realized that I need to trust myself. I am part of a group call the Poster Posse and sometimes when I’m really in doubt I will reach out to them. And posting progress pic on Instagram also helps a lot to get some sort of feedbacks from customers.
Yeah we all think LIKES are not that important, but trust me they are.
I have many, many inspirations or creative people I follow. Here’s a quick list
And many many more. Not all in fan art, some are just amazing artist or designers. I’m a huge fan of Twitter mostly and most of the artist Ilike are on there. Or else, Facebook, Instagram and Behance.
Wesley: Poster Posse sounds great. Are there any Photoshop brushes/patterns that you couldn’t work without? Would it be weird to ask to see what your Workspace looks like?
Poster Posse is one the best thing that happen to me. It’s a very bound group where everyone helps each other. Very nice people on there.
For the brushes. Yes absolutely. I came across Kyle Webster brushes last year and absolutely fell in love with these. They are cheap also. I also have a few brushes on my own and other brushes that I downloaded years ago… still have too many in PS dashboard. I sometime lose myself in those, and can’t remember with what I usually work with…
Yes I can take a picture of my working space in a min. The walls are empty though, just moved in (well couple months ago) and never bought frames for prints that I bought. But they’re coming.
Wesley: Is there a playlist or artist you usually will listen to while working?
Weird thing is I don’t listen to music much… only if I’m in a rush. And not that I don’t like music, it’s just that prefer to pop a good film or podcast while working.
But for music, it’s mostly Jazz/Electro stuff. Like Bonobo or Baths. Stuff like that.
Wesley: What podcasts are you currently subscribed to?
I listen mostly to games / films podcast (no surprise there). Mostly french ones: Retro Nouveau, Geek Collectif, Radio Talbot and one in english which Greg and Collin Live from the Kinda Funny crew. Love those guys.
Rodrigo: What do you do when you’re not illustrating?
I play games lol, and watch films. Hang out with friends, having a nice beer and a good chat. I like a very simple life actually. ☺
Wesley: Your top 5 games on Steam (or 3) and your most anticipated game this year?
I don’t play on my computer (Mac) very much. For me this is a working space. I do own all the next-gen systems though. So I’ll go with those games (not in a particular order) >
- Last of Us
- Fallout 3 / New Vegas
- Dark Souls II (never finish the first one but on the list also)
- Zelda series
Huge fan of RPG games. And for upcoming ones >
- Fallout 4 (big time)
- The Division
- The Witcher 3
Thanks guys for hanging out with me. It was fun! and if you have any questions coming up I’ll be happy to answer as well. Or else you can always chat with me via Twitter and Facebook!
Here are her links!