Shamiana is 17 and lives in Germany where she attends school. While that doesn’t leave as much time for her art as she’d wish, she does plan to make a living out of it eventually. She’s also an avid gamer who is especially into games with character and narrative focus such as Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, The Witcher and so on. In the meeting of those passions, she produces spellbinding art with a shimmering almost trembling quality of that indrawn breath before movement.
I asked what sort of games Shamiana likes to play:
When it comes to gaming, I’m a really big RPG fan. BioWare’s games are obviously among my favourites but if I had to pick one franchise I’d probably go with The Witcher. Simply because I read the books and very much enjoyed what CD Projekt Red did with the story.
But I also picked up Rise of the Tomb Raider recently and as far as I can tell, it’s really good!
What does it take for a game to fire you up to start painting?
I guess the one thing it actually takes for a game to make me paint some fanart are good character designs! If a character looks boring or the design just isn’t balanced I won’t want to draw her/him. But, of course, it also needs a good story and fleshed out characters – because otherwise I wouldn’t be invested in the whole thing at all.
Can you give some examples of what rounds out a character for you?
Something that’s really important, in my opinion, is that a design does not only look good but is also able to fulfill its purpose. If you’re going to draw a knight, for example, his armor should look like it is actually able to protect him from any harm. So you have to research how armor works, how it looks like and how it functions.
But, at the same time, you can’t just copy what you research because then you’ll end up with something very unoriginal. And if you’re designing the main protagonist of a game, e.g., then that’s not very good, since the protagonist has to look memorable, hence you have to be more innovative.
For a simple illustration, on the other hand, that’s already good enough.
So this is something I always consider when I’m designing characters myself and something I also look for in video game characters.
Unfortunately, I don’t have many artworks that depict the whole character, but one of the few I do have is my fanart of Evie Frye.
Character design is something that Ubisoft generally does really well in Assassin’s Creed. Almost all of their main characters (that are supposed to fight) look like they are actually able to handle themselves well in a brawl and, at the same time, most of their outfits look very innovative and memorable.
Another character whose design I absolutely adore is the design of Yennefer in The Witcher 3.
What I love about her design is that it just represents her personality perfectly. CD Projekt Red designed her exactly the way Andrzej Sapkowski described her in the books and they ended up with a very unique design (or at least I haven’t seen anything similar yet) that also made a lot of sense in the world The Witcher is set in.
I don’t think I’ve actually encountered any characters that I was genuinely disappointed in, at least not in the games I’ve played.
There are, however, a few characters whose design I always change just a little bit. For example, I absolutely can’t stand drawing Ciri’s high heels (From The Witcher 3) in any paintings I do of her and I always end up changing her boots to flat ones, because it looks less ridiculous. Apart from that though, I really like her design as well. It’s just this one little detail that always bugs me about her design.
So boob armor? Does it annoy you?
If a game is very story- and character-driven, boob armor really does annoy me a lot. Because it just doesn’t make any sense.
But if it isn’t, I actually don’t care too much about it. Though I still think it’d be hilarious if the male characters got to wear something similar, just to balance things out.
I also don’t mind revealing outfits – I loved Morrigan’s design, for example. It’s just the bikini-armors that I don’t get.
Mass Effect Andromeda is less than three months away and there’s that gorgeous Cora you drew in your gallery. Is that the next big thing on your gaming horizon?
Oh no, that’s not Cora, that’s supposed to be my Ryder, haha. But I must admit, they do look very similar. I designed her a few months ago, back when I had no idea how Cora was going to look. Seems like I unintentionally made them look alike.
That’s too funny! But then Peebee sure caught your eye, yes? Given how little we know about the crew so far, what is it about her that intrigued you?
I found it interesting about Peebee that she seems so different from a lot of the other Asari we already know from the original trilogy. While they were cold and graceful, her personality is described as bubbly and impulsive – she’s basically the opposite of them – and I like that a lot.
And what are you hoping for Andromeda? Something different than Mass Effect 3, something similar?
I’m hoping that Andromeda is going to be very different from ME3, or any Mass Effect game for that matter. We’ve got a new protagonist, a new squad, even a new galaxy. If it isn’t different at all I’m going to be disappointed!
But I’m also hoping that they included fewer fetch quests than in DAI. Preferably, no fetch quests at all. That was a nightmare.
We can hope and in fairness Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director of Dragon Age: Inquisition has indicated on behalf of BioWare that they’ve learned from the Hinterlands experience. \ o /
A big thank you to Shamiana for agreeing to this interview and letting me show off her art. Please visit her galleries at deviantArt and throw her some likes and comments!
I like comments too, those go down below!