ROT5 recently caught up with ILM Art Department 2nd Place contest winner Morgan Yon. We took some time to find out a little more about the French concept artist whose visions of a Galaxy Far, Far Away broaden the world we've come to know and love . Just to give you a little background on Yon, he is a French concept artist with over 10 years experience working in the video game and film industries. Being that he lives in Montpellier, France, his English is a bit rusty at times. You can check out our interview with Yon after the jump.
Aside from the obvious "Star Wars", where did you find the inspiration for your submissions for the contest?
As I am born in early 80's, I grew up with “Indiana Jones”, “Jurassic Park” and obviously "Star Wars” movies. I had so much emotion viewing specific sequence of those masterpiece that I think It was printed in my mind. I really want to focus on storytelling, create picture that tell something unique. For each picture I tried to imagine a story, then the aesthetic comes from the picture I gathered form here and there. I don't have an exact idea of what I'll do, I let myself go and "resolve" artistic direction issues.
How were you introduced to "Star Wars"?
From the first trilogy during my childhood. As I mentioned before I watched a lot of those movies and I remember trying to create my own card board game by drawing and copying the original “Star Wars” spaceship and troopers... It always fascinate me and I really started to have a better look at the art from “Star Wars” when I saw the "Art of Star Wars" books.
What sort of doors does something like winning a contest put on by ILM open up for an artist like you?
There is a lot of skillful artist who are able to achieve some pretty amazing rendering, detailed artworks, but I think it's harder to find people who are good at storytelling. I have a really small experience in vfx and film companies but I think art department from those companies are always looking for people who are good storyteller. By entering this challenge, we show them we are capable of proposing stories that might be a good "feed" for the creative directors...(I always think my job is here to feed the creative).
What is the difference between concept art and ordinary art pieces?
As I mentioned concept art is basically putting ideas on paper with a good sense of storytelling by using any technique you want to achieve a nice and sexy wow effect picture. I want to hear from my director, "oh woow, it should be awesome for this scene ."
Describe the road to you submitting artwork for the ILM contest.
I spend a lot of time trying to understand every word of the briefing. Briefing is truly important, and drives everything. I took time to imagine stories in my mind and I quickly did some b&w sketches. Something very rough, always directed by lighting... (light is the law)then I started to push a bit more the picture and if I think the narrative process is working fine (often ask for people around me) I'll push the painting to next steps... I have a big problem with detailing too much as I often lose a lot of my first sketch energy... it's something I need to fix every day in every painting I do. Hardest part is to find the moment to stop!
Why did you choose the career path you've taken?
Cause I always draw in my early days. I discover the job of concept art quite late, earning money by drawing is something pretty sexy right ?
Who is your main influence for wanting to be a concept artist?
First concept I saw I think it was from Thierry Doizon. I had a blast. Then I discovered art from Sparth, Mathias Verhasselt and so on... After art school I wanted to be a comic artist but I quickly knew I wasn't ok for that way of life. I wanted to be a part of a team, being influence by others, emulated, and then I send resume everywhere in France.
When did you decide to become a concept artist?
6 months after graduated from art school I was hired by Quantic Dream Company. They teach me the job as a junior concept artist. That was awesome. I owe them so much.
Where can we see your artwork? Where has your work been used?
I used to work for different company like Quantic Dream, Darkworks, MPC and mostly Ubisoft. “Assassin's Creed”, “ ZombiU” and projects like “Heavy Rain” or movies like “G.I. Joe” or “Prince of Persia” contain some of my artworks.
What sort of projects are on the horizon for you in the future?
I have the chance to work at Ubisoft which is full of good projects. I work from here and there, switching universe every 6 months, it's a chance and I'll not let it go for now!!!
Thanks to Morgan for taking the time to answer all our questions. You can check out more of his artwork right here.