Art and the Role of Subconscious Instinct
Please tell us about your journey so far as an artist–related education, informal learning, influences, achievements, awards, etc.
Paul Gerrard: Education-wise, I was an early achiever, passing A-level art 5 years ahead of schedule at the age of 13. I always had my head in sci-fi and fantasy art books and still do. I dreamt of creating detailed fantasy worlds and amazing characters as a kid. After 10 years in Games, I changed my career to Movies and achieved my dream, working on films like Battle La, Hellboy, Indy 5, Evil Dead Rise, Dungeons and Dragons, and so on. I continue to build worlds, having recently created my I.P called RIVALS, a post-apocalyptic/fantasy world currently in development as a 30 million Live action TV show.
What have your 20 years in the film, television, and game industry been like? What has it taught you?
Paul Gerrard: It has been a rollercoaster of emotions. It has taught me to be self-sufficient; not be afraid of failing and not to hesitate from gambling with my career to achieve my goals. My goal is simple: be happy in life and happy in art.
Please tell us about your most significant works and experiences in gaming, elaborating on one project.
Paul Gerrard: It would have to be RIVALS: The Loyalty of Sago Astar. I realized after my third Art of Gerrard book that the vast majority of my characters belonged to the same universe. I thus started to piece together the puzzle, putting characters into tribes and creating cities and villages where these characters could live – creating a planet where they could all exist and develop their purpose in life.
Likewise, I crafted their rivals on this planet. I conceived every character, village, city, and creature. Finally, I put it all into a grand Art Direction/ Lookbook presentation. The world of RIVALS was thus completed and I pitched it successfully to a producer.
Likewise, please share with us your significant projects in film and television, elaborating on one.
Paul Gerrard: I have been lucky enough to work on a range of movies/TV – fantasy, kids, horror, etc. Indy 5 was a big movie, a real privilege to have been part of the Indy franchise in my small way. Same for Evil Dead Rise and TMNT, revisiting franchises that inspired me so much as a kid. My favorite, though, had to be the new Dungeons and Dragons film. Exploring the fun aspect of creature design and imagination was key for that role, working outside my safe zone in the process.
What’s your creative process to help envision amazing characters and worlds and present them realistically?
Paul: Mass research and then opening yourself up to letting the image/character flaw is my essential creative process. There is no better tool than instinct and the subconscious for art creation, I feel.
How do you approach any new project and coordinate effectively with your client?
Paul: Getting an understanding of what the client wants is vital but you also have to show them what they don’t want. I cover all bases with multiple variations, including wild cards.
“There is no better tool than instinct and the subconscious for art creation, I feel.”
If you were not doing what you are right now, what do you think you would be doing professionally?
Paul: Perhaps, the book covers art. It is a dying art now but, back in the day, it was the pinnacle of imagination.
You’ve got an interesting film list you’ve worked on. How did you address the pressure of working for the biggest of titles?
Paul: It makes no difference if the movie’s budget is 1 million or 200 million. The process is the same. I interact with people in the same way.
Where do you think your industry is heading now and how do you want to be part of it further?
Paul: I think the game world is about to explode whilst the movie world is reducing its bigger titles. I want to be part of conceptual design and I.P creation. If there are characters and worlds to create, I want to be part of it.
Your word of success to those who started it in the same field would be?
Paul Gerrard: Resilience. This is my only go-to.