October 3, 2022

It’s our great pleasure to welcome the Senior Conceptual Artist for PlayStation Studios GameFor architects and developers Firesprite Edouard Groult to Fantha Tracks. 

FT: Edouard – Many thanks for joining us on Fantha Tracks for a chat Star Warsand art. Would you please share your earliest? Star WarsDo you want to share memories with us?

EG: My first trip was with Euro Disney Star Tours. It was an incredible experience. My earliest memory was watching Star Tours at Euro Disney. Star WarsIt was very unfortunate that it was in such terrible conditions. After a day spent in France, I was riding on a school bus with Sky Club to return to my home. During our journey, the club provided us with a VHS tape. I watched the film on a small screen located at the front of a loud bus. Star Wars: A New HopeThe first time. After that, the Star WarsThe theme stayed with me for the rest of the night.

FT: What’s your favourite Star Wars film?

EG: It’s not original, but my favorite is The Empire Strikes back. It is the essence, I believe, of what I consider the essence of. Star Wars. A desperate conflict between the Empire war machine, which was wounded in battle, and the small but determined rag-tag Rebellion. The Empire war Machine, fresh from their hit-and run victories, was a formidable and terrifying opponent. The Rebels, buoyed up by their success in guerrilla tactics were acutely aware of the possibility of being decimated if faced against the Imperial foe. Defeat now would mean the end of the hope and lives of many Rebel soldiers, women, aliens, and many others. Although the possibility of regaining troops or firepower was inevitable, it was a grim prospect. But, the loss of hope for the rebellion’s cause would have been a serious risk that could not be taken. The Rebels’ survival is dependent on their ability and persistence to outsmart and frustrate an Empire that is becoming increasingly aggressive in their hunt.

FT: Who’s your favourite character?

EG:C-3PO and R2 D2 are my favourite heroes. They provide a sense of humor and humor in the middle of a conflict between galactic powers. General Veers, an Imperial officer who manages to keep his cool in the midst a fierce battle is another favorite.

FTDo You Collect Anything? Star Wars?

EG: I am a proud child of a large library. Star WarsOther things I had collected included micro-machines, fleets of starships and fragile TIE Fighters, as well as small Stormtroopers. I also collected movies and books on VHS tape. LEGO was not available for me as a young adult. Star Wars appeared, but I wasn’t collecting things anymore, but my bedroom was ram-packed with lots of other nerd stuff…

FT: Has any of these new technologies been a pleasure for you? Star WarsAre you looking for live-action TV or films?

EG: That’s a big question. It was a great idea. Rogue OneIt was a lot. Empire Strikes BackIt is full of spirit. It was a significant victory for Rebel Alliance but it required great sacrifice against an Imperial warmachine that is becoming more dangerous every day.

Concerning the sequel movie trilogyThe Force awakens, The Last Jedi The Rise of SkywalkersAlthough I believe there were some good ideas and actors involved in the project, they weren’t used or implemented as well.

Another well-loved franchise, JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, also followed a trilogy story telling structure, was beautifully interpreted and directed by Peter Jackson. His production value has blown the modern cinema away. Denis Villeneuve’s translation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, literature famously considered impossible to adapt from page to screen, has been wonderfully realized. Given the volume of source material, this could be a similar format as the trilogy. These franchises show that modern cinema can still create cinematic experiences that are fresh, captivating, and true to its complex source material.

I believe the unfortunately is true for myself. Star WarsThe sequels should be treated with more seriousness than the conflicted directororial perspectives. This led to confusion in the story and films that suffered. The Star WarsThey faithfully rewrote the original trilogy’s continuity. They went too far and rewrote the original storyline profile. This resulted that a small fighting force defeated an overwhelming evil force, and a single warrior was gifted with mystical skills. They missed an opportunity to develop new ideas, I believe. Star WarsThe stories are not over.

FT: As a Star WarsAre you an artist or a fan of the artist? Star WarsAnimations

EG: I love Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2D Star Wars: Clone Wars, and the 3D Show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which has incredible stories and battles, sharing point of views from the heroes, regular Clone Troopers or even separatists’ perspectives. I didn’t watch Star Wars: Rebels, as I don’t like the Stormtrooper design, nor Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

FT: Any of these? Star WarsAre visual effects, concepts or designs inspiring?

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EG: It’s a huge help in my work. I know what to avoid in sci-fi design and how to paint things to look. Star WarsThis universe has its unique style of spaceships.

FT: How did you get your passion for art?

EG: Since childhood, drawing has been a passion. It wasn’t easy at first but I quickly learned how to do it. At the age of 7-9, I was already painting scenes of WWII battles and Napoleonic campaigns. Early bird, early learner.

FT: Do you prefer traditional or digital art?

EG: Both are my passions. I always like to keep a sketch book in my bag at all times and will draw anywhere when I have the time or I’m waiting something. Digital of course helps a lot for work, it’s faster to draw with and easier to share via the internet. 

FTDescribe the analogue art and materials with which you feel most comfortable.

EG: Mostly drawing with pens on my sketch book, I’m not a fan of pencils. I use Wacom classic tablets as well as the iPad Pro with Procreate digital. It is expensive but it has a solid quality.

FT: What is the difference between today’s hardware or software and your previous experiences with digital content creation?

EG: I started my digital painting journey using a simple Photoshop Cs3. Although it was very basic at the time, it could provide all the necessary painting software. I`m currently using Photoshop CC, its efficient and full of possibilities, however at the moment I don’t make full use of its potential, I only use what I need. As the numeric world of pictures becomes more complex, Photoshop CC’s capabilities are even more complex.

FT: What’s key in digital art, software, hardware or an equilibrium of both?

EG: A solid machine, whether it’s a computer or a screen-tablet, will allow you access the best painting software. It is crucial to be able paint fluidly without lags, bugs or crashes. Artists can use their intuition to create a stable platform that allows for fluid painting.

FTPlease describe your preferred hardware specifications and software options.

EG: Software, Photoshop is my favorite program. It’s not the best software for creating art, but it has been a great tool to use over the years. I am happy with the interface, and its performance. My preferred display device is Wacom tablets or screens. They are durable, long-lasting, and high-quality. My previous kit lasted 7+years. I prefer a sturdy platform with enough RAM and storage to run my computer.

FT: Do you have any tips or tricks for people who want to create their own digital art?

EG: You can either get a regular desktop or a desktop with older versions of Photoshop if your budget is tight. While it might not have all the bells and whistles that a newer version has, it will still be able to provide sufficient functionality and be much less expensive to purchase. Modern Photoshop is more expensive that older versions. Newer versions love RAM and hard drives which will increase costs. A second-hand Wacom tablet Intuos Pro, which is also a great option for display, is an excellent choice. They are small, but very efficient. They are very affordable if you have the money and are willing to spend a little more.

FT: When was the decision made to pursue a career as an artist?

EG: My parents always supported my artistic aspirations while growing up, my father’s side of the family are very artistic. School was a different story. Art was not considered a career option. My teachers and career counselors tried their best to discourage me from art and encourage my exploration of other career options. My mother advised me to forget about all that. She believed in me and my artistic abilities, and that I could make a living painting.

FT: How did you prepare for a career as an artist?

EG: After my Baccalaureate at 18 years old, I left my family home and moved to Paris to begin two years of art-preparation studies at the Ateliers de Sèvres. I learned to stop drawing as an adolescent and to create my own universe. It also helped me to renew my mentality. I continued my education at the Belgian illustration school for five more years.

It was not about the classes or lessons that were necessary in those schools. It was more about making new friends and sharing your art with them. My dream of becoming a videogame concept designer was realized because of the Belgian guys.

FT: What career were you hoping for in your career in videogame arts?

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EG: When I was a kid, I loved collecting games, films, and books. I loved researching characters and their environments. My favorite was the Jurassic Park book. District 9 was my absolute grimoire for concept art.

Igor-Alban Chevalier (aka Black Frog) was a friend I made while studying at an illustration school here in Belgium. He also ran a small workshop. The next day, I called my parents to inform them that this was what I wanted to do. I purchased a Wacom tablet graphic, and began digital painting. It was hard…

FT: For what video games has your conceptual art been created?

EG: I worked with Rebellion SoftwareShe lived in Oxford UK for nine years. I was there for nine years, and worked on the Sniper Elite Series. Sniper Elite v2Through to Sniper Elite 5. I also worked with Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army Strange BrigadeAmongst other titles.

I’m now working with FirespriteLiverpool. They are a first-party PlayStation studio. With regards their games I’m currently working on, shhh is the word.

FT: If you could pick a favourite amongst the video games you’ve worked on, which one would it be?

EG: This was the last Sniper Elite that I worked with before I left. Rebellion. This game was made out of love. The game’s theatre is set during WWII in Normandy, and being a WWII nerd since childhood, this game was a favourite. I painted the concept arts of course, and a tons of false propaganda posters, commercials on walls, small 1940`s style cartoons, and much more…

FT: Are there any current videogame projects you are working on right now?

EG: I could tell you, but……

FT: Do you enjoy playing video games?

EG: Although I try to find the time to play videogames, I like a chef who doesn’t eat his own food and enjoy the break. I always have a lot of work, not only for videogames but also personal art, science magazines, history books, and some R&R. Despite this, I was able to find some time to play Ghost of Tsushima or Witcher 3 in between projects. Because… they are awesome.

FT: What advice would your videogame artist friend give?

EG: Be creative. Enjoy the joy in creating stories. Follow your instincts and get down to the paper. Learn from the mistakes made by talented artists. Passionately pursue your artistic goals. While vision is great, remember to keep the brief when working with others or in groups. Be open to compromising your ideas and be open to sharing them.

Your idea might be great and just what the project needs to make it better, but so could another’s idea. By encouraging open communication and listening, you can promote positive work environments. When all ideas have been shared, consider their merits, and as appropriate, confidently defend your idea, or accept another’s, perhaps even a hybrid of both, but in all cases undertake these communications humbly.

FTDespite being a professional, do you have hobbies that include creating art?

EG: Too much, but I’m a workaholic. I spent three years creating a 24-minute 2D animation. This was for fun. I also did the sound and animation design. This was not for any contest or festival, but just for my personal enjoyment as well as for my friends.

FT: The claustrophobic sensation of an Imperial Trooper Column funnelling into a foreboding passage peppered with spiked skulls, heavy machine traversing unmowed watersy battlefields and newly conceived Medical Corp Troopers administering battle Bacta treatment, rarely seen enlisted aliens supporting Imperial ranks. There are also tense battlefield exchanges when Stormtroopers make use of cover rather than the more common tactics of their plastoid armor armor. Your new ideas combine the best of both the old and the new. Star Wars concept fan art is not just eye-catching, these momentary images evoke impactful sensation but further encourage the viewer’s imagination, so what inspired you to create your Star WarsFan concept art series

EG:I was fascinated by the Empire as a child. This small scene was very enjoyable. A New HopeTwo Stormtroopers converse while Obi Wan adjusts the tractor beams. Death Star was on alert. One trooper believes that it was a drill. This is enough to allow one trooper to visualize the finer points of a galactic warmachine. This inspired me to explore imagery we may not see in official documents. Star Wars content.

I didn’t want the Empire to be glorified; they are not considered a winner. They’re still individuals, with their own hopes and fears, dutifully serving the ranks of massive Imperial army deployed across a huge Galactic theatre. The Galactic Empire is very similar to ancient Rome. An Empire ruled over large areas with the Mediterranean Sea, replacing an old Republic. Star Wars galaxy. Populated by many different ethnicities and peoples. Policed by large armies. Roman Army’s Legionaries and the Empire’s Stormtrooper Legions each supported by the logistics and firepower of their respective Navies. Both military behemoths were ready to destroy their enemies with ferocity, as was the case in Alderaan or Carthage.

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Much as Rome commissioned volunteers across the Empire’s colonies to bolster the might of their Roman armies, I would imagine the Galactic Empire would do so also. While Star Wars may have a larger human population than here on our own Earth, I don’t think it’s realistic that restricting the Empire’s ranks exclusively to human, would not provide sufficient numbers within their ranks to police populations across the many planetary systems of an entire galaxy. Native species may be better able to learn and relate to local customs and topographies.

That’s what I understand. Star WarsCanon represented humans as the ruling species, with what appeared to have been a xenophobic view of other species sentience. This logic is the basis of my belief that xenophobia doesn’t belong in this world. Star WarsThis is why I wanted Stormtroopers painted on non-human animals.

FT: Your Star WarsThe fan concept series of art has been very well received in the art and entertainment worlds. Star WarsFan communities. Many people were inspired by your images of Battlefield Medical Corp Troopers to use this model in their future cosplay. Thank you for sharing the following. Anatomical model for reference. It is a great gesture and I hope that it realizes its potential to be used in cosplay. The model details lend themselves well to action figure form. We would be grateful if you could send us any action figures or cosplay versions that you have created.

EG: It was a complete surprise for me when I found that. 3D printed model my Medic-TrooperEtsy. Another reason is that a Facebook Group of cosplayers has adopted Medic Trooper’s concept and is actively making great suits. It’s already happening.

FT: Have your received your Star WarsHave you ever been astonished by concept fan art and its inspirations for other creators?

EG:Surprised. I was expecting to get just a few likes. I received hundreds of Facebook likes and comments, which was more than I could have ever imagined. A message was sent by an army medic to thank me for my artwork. It represented his role within the Corp via the Medic Trooper. This allowed me to see the diversity of the Corps. Star WarsIt is great to be part of a group and it is heartwarming for so many people to share a passion for the universe.

FT: How long does one of yours take to complete? Star WarsHow can you create concept fan art?

EG: It all depends on the subject. The longer it takes to complete an image, the busier it will be. One would take me 6 to 7 hours.

FT: Do any of your favorite people live in your home? Star Wars concept fan art pieces?

EG: The transport’s sleeping Stormtrooper, or the diner one.

FT: Are your current efforts geared towards a new project or are they? Star Wars concept fan art pieces?

EG: It wasn’t. I spent May and Juni painting them. Now I must focus on my personal projects. I Love working on Star WarsI love fanart, but I have so much to do. However, I hope to do some more Star WarsFuture fan art.

FT: Are your hobbies and other interests inspiring you to create art?

EG: I’ve dabbled a little with Warhammer 40,000, but that’s it. While I enjoy being inspired by others, I don’t necessarily create art based upon their ideas. The Star WarsConcept fan art is what I draw for the child in my head.

FT: Are your future art projects included in your plans?

EG: Except for my professional work, I don’t have any plans or projects at the moment. I realized that my fan artwork was appreciated and that people were interested to purchase my artwork. I would like to make an internet page where people can view my artwork, and possibly purchase it.

FT: Where can I find more of your artwork online

EG: Visit my site.InstagramOr my Art station.

FTEdouard: It was a pleasure to be your guest and to chat with. Star WarsPoetry and art. Many thanks for sharing. Star WarFantha Tracks invites all fans to share their fan art. We wish you success in all your artistic endeavors.

Source: Interview: Senior Conceptual Artist for PlayStation Studios Edouard Groult

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