A look into the art of Sigrdrífa: Interview with José Vega

Back in January, when I posted the official announcement for the Sigrdrífa novel, I included the first sketches for the character drawn by artist José Vega. Since then the character has been developed and the cover finished. That final version won’t be released yet (after all, there is still plenty of time before the actual novel is released), but I will present here part of the progress, plus a short interview with José.

José Vega

José Vega

Q: What got you into art?

A: Well I was not the typical artist who has been drawing and painting since being a kid. I got introduced to drawing in senior year by a friend and we used to redraw anime drawings back in the day when DBZ was popular. I decided to go to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where I got exposed to different types and realms or “art” from Animation, to 2D Illustration, traditional painting and 3D. I got my major in Media Arts and Animation and started working as a 3D Visualization Artist doing architecture and Interior Design. I was more into the 3D world building models due to my work and because it was a more technical approach, however I was always a gamer. I loved games and I always liked to see “The art of________ ” of the games that I liked and the more I looked at those books the more I got into the pre-production process of making games. So after a few years I lost my job due to the recession, moved around the states till I ended up back in my island (Puerto Rico) where I grew up and after a year of having digital painting as a hobby and doing it more and more I decided to go for it. I started getting more involved in communities, forums and with other artists and my passion for 2D Digital Illustration grew to the point where I am at now. Still evolving and defining.

Q: Any particular influences on your style?

A: Well, I was always attracted to the games I played like Blizzard games, Halo, Soul Reaver, many others. But I can recall 2 incidents in specific where it influenced my art in a tremendous way. The first was when I first started getting serious about my artwork and polishing my skills to become a professional. I found out about Feng Zhu video tutorials from his school. And by that time he had about 30 episodes of small and short tutorials on different topics on Digital Painting. And I remember watching one in the morning and one at night before bed for like months, even though I had watched them already. I learned a lot and my artwork took a leap forward due to the videos. The other incident was in early 2012 where I decided to go for a month to Canada to the Imaginism Studios workshop. It was an intense and remarkable experience. It was all about Art and friends. The lessons I took about foundation, rendering, style, imagination, etc., were very, very important in creating what I am right now. It was a great experience.

Q: If you could pick a film or franchise in which to work on as art designer, which one would it be?

A: WOW, this is a very hard one.

Ok so after thinking a lot I think it would be AWESOME for me to work in a new series for the Legacy of Kain games, Soul Reaver. It is a game series that I enjoyed a lot when it came out and it has been a while since they make a new game.

Q: What was the process behind the design of Sigrdrífa’s cover?

Character concepts

Character concepts

A: Well after reading the author’s description of an idea, usually what I do is do some research. And the first thing I look for is for a good color palette. There are a lot of ways I can go for that but after finding that then I start with more specifics like, research on armor, book covers, composition, etc. Once I have all that gathered up I start sketching, making thumbnails to play with composition and placement and look for the best possible image and design, which in my opinion is probably the hardest part because once I have that its all about rendering and spending time with the image.

Background sketch

Background sketch

Cover background, finished version

Cover background, finished version

For more on José Vega’s art you can visit his webpage below.

iarte7 banner

NEXT TIME: What I have learned from reading the Völsunga Saga, Part 2

Chapter 1: The Swarm

Christmas 2013 Sigrdrifa logo

One of the side effects you get from having an active imagination is the swarm of ideas that float around your mind day and night, chaos desperately seeking for enough order to make sense of itself. I guess that’s why writers, painters, sculptors and artists in general become what they become; they need to channel those swarms into something congruent in order to be happy. I have had that swarm… uh, swarming around me for well over a decade now, and it’s annoying. When I was a little kid I already had some ideas floating around, sure, but after putting them into paper in a half-assed way they stopped nagging me. It was upon reaching adulthood that they became powerful enough to force me into doing something about it.

Sigrdrífa is one of my first serious attempts at doing something about it.

Not that I haven’t tried before. I have plenty of material slowly detaching itself from the Swarm and settling down into something a bit more controllable. In fact, Sigrdrífa isn’t even the biggest idea I have that is leaving the Swarm, although it has the potential of becoming something huge. What Sigrdrífa has that the others don’t is commitment; I’m making the production of this story public, as well as setting a deadline (Christmas 2013, as you can see from the promotional banner above). I will blog about its progress as it occurs: its ups and downs, the writer’s blocks that I’m sure to find along the way, the eureka moments that break those blocks, and so forth. I’ll make the readers privy to that process, which means I’ll have to hold myself accountable to the success or failure of the project.

And I’m not doing this alone.

sketches for sigrdrifa

Mr. José Vega will also be a part of this project as its cover artist, and he will be sharing his progress as well. The sketches you see above are the very first ideas that made it into paper. In the meantime, you can check his amazing artwork at his Art of José Vega webpage, and follow him on his Twitter handle @iarte7.

You can also follow me at @Samtertainment, and of course follow this blog.

What will Sigrdrífa be about? You guys can probably get some rough ideas from the name itself as well as those sketches. For more information, however, stay tuned!