Charles Guan is an experienced concept artist and owner of the art production house “Mighty Canvas”. Previously he was lead concept artist at Electronic Arts Black Box. He has a very wide range of styles; from styling for SSX4 On Tour to concept work for Need for Speed. Charles attended Sheridan College for Classical Animation/Conceptual Illustration and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. His work history includes Studio B Productions (Character/Location Designer), Stage3 Media(Costume Design) and Propaganda Games(Concept Art). Charles has also worked as a Freelance Illustrator with some of his notable projects being EA Sports, Sony Interactive UFG, Microsoft Game Studios, Good Science Studios, and 343 Industries.
Charles also has four years of experience teaching for the Vancouver Institute Media Arts and Vancouver Film School. We look forward to having him at the Rydan Workshop. For now here is a little sneak peek interview. Enjoy…
How did you initially get interested in the field of cg art?
From watching early Pixar movies that got my classical animation background intrigued with the 3D technology. And for Concept Art, the first time I saw Digital paintings was in 1997 from Craig Mullins.
What kind of projects have you worked on?
I have worked on all sorts of projects from action adventures, shooters, sports, to family friendly type games. I’ve also worked on independent films, animation, illustration, fashion related designs, and advertising type opportunities.
What kind of training do you have that has led to you obtaining your current position?
I started off in conceptual illustration, which lead me to go into a more production studio based trade – Classical Animation, and then furthered that study into 3D digital effects. Industrial design studies in school and also under a mentor figure.
What software do you regularly apply in your projects and to what effect?
Mostly these days aside from the usual home office software, I use mostly Photoshop for all the work I do, with the odd sketch-up or 3D sculpting program.
Do you utilize digital art in any other design areas? If so. Explain where and how.
I use Photoshop to do all my art work. That being said, I do tend to do rapid vis designs on paper with a leaky pen and markers
Do you find time to be creative outside of your job and does this influence your professional design?
Lately with the busy list of freelance work, I do not have time to vest any creativity outside of client work. I do look forward to when the client work slows down to allow me to peel some time over to creating my own stories and properties to launch in what ever vehicle seems best to publish.
Who are your artistic influences?
Where do I start…there’s lots, and it changes over time. The one’s that stick however are fellas like John Singer Sergeant, Kent Williams, Nilo Rodis, NC Wyeth, Charles+Ray Eames, ahhhh so many others.
What does working in concept design mean to you?
Design and problem solving using the craft of art to visualize and articulate solutions. Best form of an occupation that suits my interests in design and art.
What got you interested in teaching?
Sharing execution techniques and design principles to enthusiastic students. After 4 years of it, I tend to have my teaching time as an outlet for me to step away from client work and jam on assignments that I create with the students. The more enthusiasm the better from students, for it’s contagious and pumps myself up after endless days and nights working on client works.
What do you want your students to get from your teachings?
A fundamental introduction experience of design, Photoshop techniques, and understanding of the responsibilities as a concept designer.
What new projects do you have in the pipeline that you are excited about?
I’m excited about them all. If the projects I work on do not spark an interest, It usual means it’s time to move on. The most exciting project will be the one I’ve been creating in my sketchbook that needs time and love to evolve. Hopefully soon.
Do you have a favourite videogame?
I’m not sure if I have a “favorite” I have many I love, but to pick one out is tough. Maybe Street Fighter series ? For now, I’m into pick up and play games for short periods. – Fifa 11 seems to fill the bill these days.
Do you have a favourite movie?
Again, it’s many…..but if I am to pick one, it might have to be Return of the Jedi? I think it’s only because of childhood inspirations and connections to that movie through it’s designs.
What would be your dream project and why?
To create a project that me and my artist family can all contribute to. Friends welcome too!
Interview by Ryan Yoo