The lady who interviewed me, Ms. Lee was very nice and professional throughout the entire exchange of questions and answers. It was an honor for me to have my stuff in their magazine.
How the interview went from my end, and to be honest I'm not sure how well it translated :P
Hello guys, my name is Minoh Kim. I was born in South Korea but raised in the USA. Like most children, I've been drawing since I was very young. But I took art more seriously as I got older and realized that I could make a living with it.
When I was in High School I'd go to a local "Mini-Con" in San Diego. This was just a small comic convention that happened once or twice a month. Eventually I got a table at these conventions and I would sell prints of my art. I'd usually make a small amount of money from this and then I'd go to the arcade to play Street Fighter.
The Mini-Con's would sometimes have local comic book artists come in to sign books. This was how I got to meet a few guys from Caelum Studios. These guys were great and eventually I wound up doing assistant art work for them. They'd have me fill in blacks and ink some backgrounds. Not very advanced work for art training, but just chatting with them and watching them work was extremely inspiring. I truly consider their words of wisdom and understanding their work ethic to be my version of art college.
From there, there is a long road to eventually becoming a contract video game concept artist for SISA (Sony Interactive Studios of America). I made some rough art to flesh out a game design document written by one of the creators of Vectorman. This led to a permanent art position on a project called "Barbarians" at 989 Studios. I worked first as a concept artist, but getting to know 3D modeling seemed like the way to secure a future in the game industry. So, I bugged a bunch of very nice people into helping me learn Alias Power-Animator.
I'm not sure that I've really locked down on a single style of drawing. But one thing that seems to tie my stuff together is dynamics. I like strong action poses and angles. For about 10 years I studied every piece of Jim Lee art I could get my hands on. I think that this really cemented my preferences in action oriented art. Currently, I study Joe Mad, Chris Bachalo, Humberto Ramos, Andy Seto, and Wing Shing Ma.
My drawing times are all over the place. Most of it depends on the complexity of the piece and the type of finish I want. A sketch with rough watercolors can take an hour or less. Really complex action scenes can take 60+ hours. My personal work is usually done at night so I don't have a good gauge of times (too sleepy to count).
Improvements in my abilities usually comes from practicing. Sketching, life drawing, studying artists, etc... Spending a lot of time enjoying artwork from other artists helps to keep my inspiration flowing. When I want to draw something, I typically ask myself what are the essentials of the character or mood I want to depict. Then I'll do a bunch of sketching with those goals in mind. This works most of the time for me, but sometimes stuff just happens and I get lucky and end up with something cool.
I usually have something on in the background, music or movies. I listen to everything, and I've found that old 80's pop, rock, and country are my best muses. Movie soundtracks are also image inducing and motivating.
The biggest challenge for making art is making it look polished. Rough colors and sketching is easy, but cleaning my art up and giving it a fully painted treatment is a lot of work. To get it to that point is usually just part of my goals process. If I wanted that painted look, then I'll just spend the time to do it.
I've been in games for the past 14 years. I got into the industry shortly after the mainstream transition from 2D to 3D. I've worked for SCEA, SOE, Sigil Games, and now 38 Studios in Providence, Rhode Island. Although I draw a lot in my off hours, my company work usually consists of Zbrush sculpting, Maya modeling, Photoshop texturing, game-engine integration, and a little bit of tools scripting. I currently head up the Avatar crew on our project called Copernicus. I can't show my work from 38 Studios yet, but I can't wait for people to see our game!
Q & A:
Q - 1.We found you have painted many Doujin characters of Witchblade,do you like that Anime?
A - 1. I enjoy a lot of anime, or animation for that matter. Witchblade was a very fun series, but the character designs really appealed to me. Very sexy, hi-tech and extremely fun to draw. I've been a fan of
that kind of stuff since Bubblegum Crisis.
Q - 2. What is your next Doujin subject?
A - 2. As far as fan art goes, I would have to say that Street Fighter
is my favorite subject. I can get away with drawing the characters in
crazy poses and it's acceptable. That makes my life easier :)
Q - 3. Would you pls kindly talk about the influence of Japanese fashion culture to you,as we found many of your personal works are Doujin works of Japanese popular culture.
A - 3. I watch an inordinate amount of animation and a lot of it is
Japanese anime. I've been a fan of anime since I was 4 or 5 yeas old.
The dynamics of anime has always impressed me. Flashy poses and quick "camera" angle changes. Something that until recently was missing from a lot of western animation. I think that this is why I love Michael
Q - 4. Pls kindly talk about 38 Studios.What kind of team is it?And in your opinion what is the most important reason for you to enter this company ?
A - 4. I currently work at 38 Studios which has recently relocated to
Providence, Rhode Island, USA. We are a video game development company with two major titles in the works. One is a single player action-RPG and the other is a MMORPG. The biggest attraction 38 had for me was that I would get to work with some pretty amazing folks to create a brand new world class IP. Curt Schilling (MLB pitcher) founded the company in 2006 with fantasy author RA Salvatore and comic book artist and toy maker Todd McFarlane. This is a great place to work and there is an incredible amount of talented, hard working people here.
Q - 5. Would you pls kindly talk about the games you have created,such as Vanguard:Saga of Heroes or Star Wars:Galaxies.
A - 5. Star Wars Galaxies was an MMORPG developed by SOE. I worked on the project from 2000-2004 and created a number of creatures, NPCs and props for the game. The development team was split, about a third worked in San Diego, California and the rest were in Austin, Texas. The best part of this was being sent to Austin and eating the best Barbecue Brisket of my life! SWG was a great project to work on, especially so early in my career.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was also an MMORPG, this one was made by Sigil Games. My work on this title was only the final year of
development. I worked on creatures, concepts and some avatar
customizations. There were some really great people at this company, but it had it's share of issues as well.
The Morrigan WIP images:
Sometimes I will begin a painting with a simple sketch. I try to
create a dynamic pose for Morrigan that also shows off her nice
Some course correction and line cleanup. I build on the gestures in
the previous sketch and flesh out some of her lines. The hair and
wings are much better represented here.
I gave the wings a little more flair, cleaned up the rough line
work and added some environmental elements.
Paint bucket dropped in some color and starting to rough in the background.
Started some tonal work on her body. Very basic overlay layers in
Photoshop at this point.
Adding some opaque paint to the highlights for more tone control.
Also, I'm beginning to work up the background a bit.
Another stage of background painting.
Fleshing out the lighting on her hair and left leg.
The final image. I added a little more contrast to the entire
painting. Also, colored up the magic bats flying around her.