What drove you to work in the casual games industry?
Veronica Matei: When I joined the casual games industry, I was working as a mobile game artist. The industry was fairly new and it was exciting to see all the new possibilities that came with the evolution of phone screens allowing the display of more complex graphics.
Additionally, I liked the challenge of creating designs that were not static but animated and interactive.
What does the creative process look like for turning a photograph into a colored sketch?
Veronica Matei: I like to observe the overall mood of the picture and identify the ambient color that will spill a bit into all the other local colors. I found out that as long as the color values are correct, the hue and chroma can vary and the image will still look right. Once I map out the values and main colors, I like to stylize the palette by playing with vibrancy.
Being an artist who does portraits study, what do you specifically look for while creating a portrait?
Veronica Matei: The first thing I do when working on a portrait is to look for the overall head shape as well as the proportions between the individual elements that encompass the head. Moreover, using this as a base, I like to start stylizing and simplifying the different parts, looking for appeal and expressiveness rather than realism.
How do you create a character design based on a theme or mood board that speaks to viewers of your illustrations?
Veronica Matei: I enjoy working with mood boards and use them a lot in my process. They act as an inspiration and a guide for the character’s look, outfit, personality, and behaviors. Furthermore, using mood boards is like having to solve a puzzle, the pieces are there and I’m mixing and matching them into different sketches until I find the right design.
How do you imagine inanimate objects into characters and create detailed characters with a personality?
Veronica Matei: Shapes play a big role in how we perceive the things around us. For example, shapes that have sharp angles are perceived as dangerous, squares are considered stable and rounded forms are softer and friendlier. Moreover, by studying the shape of an object I can start to imagine characters that would complement the form.
What is the color scheme that you use the most in your sketches and character designs?
Veronica Matei: Mainly, experimenting with colors is one of my favorite parts of the process. The color scheme that I use most often in my work is analogous because I like the softer, less contrasting effect that it provides. Whereas, balancing and blending colors in this scheme is easy and gives harmonious results.
What is the process of creating 3D versions of character designs?
Veronica Matei: The process is similar to the 2D, which means that I start by breaking down the character into the main basic shapes and start adding the details from there. Of course, modeling my characters is easier as I’m already familiar with the construction of the characters.
Being a part of multiple CDC challenges and creating character designs based on a brief, what is the thought process involved behind the scenes before you pick up tools to start sketching your design?
Veronica Matei: Significantly, analyzing the brief is the first step. While reading the brief, I already start visualizing ideas and those ideas are the ones I start within the sketching phase. I have also found that doing a lot of research in this phase helps me to avoid cliches in the design.
“Furthermore, using mood boards is like having to solve a puzzle, the pieces are there and I’m mixing and matching them into different sketches until I find the right design”
In the widely successful #drawthisinyourstyle challenge, what was the source of the inspiration behind your artwork?
Veronica Matei: Mainly, redrawing an existing design in a different style is a good way to practice. When I created my designs for this challenge I was focusing a lot on the overall mood of the piece, especially knowing that I wanted to portray a sense of joy.
I tried to achieve this by playing with the character expressions and choosing bright and energetic colors while keeping the design fairly simple so it wouldn’t discourage people from participating.