An Interview with Adam Roush

December 2019

Ahoy wizards! We’ve been lucky enough to get an interview with the wonderful Adam Roush, concept artist for Kingsisle! If you’re not already familiar with his WONDERFUL art, you can take a look on his twitter and you can see some examples of his art throughout the interview!

Adventures of the Spiral: How did you get a start in Digital Art and how did you find your way to KI?

Adam Roush: I started learning digital art in college, around ‘07, with just a simple tablet learning Photoshop and Painter. I actually went to school for illustration and animation but became so enamored with concept art at my first industry job I kept pursuing that path. I had applied to KingsIsle and completed the art test three years before I eventually got the job. It took a long time to get here, but it’s been well worth the wait!

AoS: Do you remember your first piece of concept art (for KI and as a career first) – what was it?

Adam: My first concepts for KI were generic furniture, like lamps, chairs, tables, and boxes for the Aerodwarves in Empyrea Part 2. It was a simple and fun task to acclimate to Wizard style.

AoS: When it comes to making and shaping a character concepts, where do you draw inspiration for what a character should look like?

Adam: When designing characters, I usually think about the game world they will inhabit, what style of armor or clothing they should wear, and what’s already established in the world. I scour Pinterest or Google for inspiration, always on the lookout for interesting shapes and designs which enables me to visualize my ideas more clearly.

AoS: Do you have a favourite in game asset to create concept art of?

Adam: Lately, I’ve really been enjoying creating pets and challenging myself to dial the cuteness factor up to 11 every time.

AoS: What’s your process for concept art – do you start with sketching, researching?

Adam: I start by researching the subject, getting to know the world it will be set in, and finding reference to move forward. From there I start sketching, either again in Photoshop or 3D Studio Max with silhouettes, working general to specific. I’ll usually create several different directions, and once one is approved, I move on to finalizing that concept. Concepts have a wide range from simple model sheets to complex paintings.

AoS: Have you experienced any challenges when you’ve been asked to create a concept for KI, what was were they and what made them so challenging?

Adam: Probably the most challenging tasks I have are when I design a house or a large theme in a world. This is always a big undertaking because I need to think about a unique and exciting area for players to explore both inside and out.

AoS: Is there a world or theme from your games that you would love to create concept art for?

Adam: I think it would be fantastic to work on new content for Marleybone and Cool Ranch. Marleybone’s steampunk vibe would be so much fun to devise more mechanically oriented designs for. Cool Ranch just seems kind of awesome – pirates in the old west! That’s a nice mix of genres that would make for a lot of fun characters and environments.

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