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Alexandre Chaudret is a talented French character designer and concept artist whose main and only goal is to draw and give life to awesome creatures and terrible monsters in strange worlds for epic battles. Every day of his life is very precious for he is learning, developing and working more of his skills as an artist. In this interview, we will show you how he started his journey as an artist, his inspirations and many more.
When did you start developing your drawing skills?
I guess I started to draw when I was something like… 5 years old, when my parents subscribed me to a drawing class I followed for 14 years. I started like every little boy : drawing explosions, monsters, people jumping from the Eiffel Tower in flames (d…does that sound weird ?!), and then copying mangas, drawing my stories and adventures of heroes I was creating… My real burst must have been at my 17th, when I decided to do art studies after school and become an « artist ». Shit got real during my six years of art studies and 3D in France. And now… Everyday is developing and working on skills, I guess !
How did you develop your style and how would you describe it?
I have no idea of what my « style » is… I work by thinking of stories and characters. When I start a new character for a client, I try to think of what they want, what they need, what is the client story, to provide the best work possible for them. When I paint for myself, I see my picture like a doorway : if the painting is good enough, then the doorway is open and the character can live out of my imagination. If not, the doorway is closed, and I just couldn't get the right mood for my character to live is own life… Sometimes, the gate is open enough to let other people appreciate my character, see their own stories through him, and that, that is my best success. My style would be… I don’t know, « dark and bad ass », perhaps ? ☺
As an artist, how do you handle creative criticism from other people?
Very bad as well as very well.
What I mean, is that I accept all criticism, even the bad ones. I am very critic on my own work, and the best I give to one of my painting sis a « meh, almost not bad… ». I have been taught to accept difficult critics and try to always say myself « what if I was wrong ? ». But I always feel very bad when I get critics. One of my friends told me « Man, you get a lot of compliments, but you would like to suicide yourself for one bad word… ». I guess it’s my personality, and even if I am growing in maturity and getting a « shield » against bad criticism, I can’t stop the harmful effect. Otherwise, there are the web-annoying-rude-effect, where every one thinks he can critic everything, with no responsibility. I have been a teacher at school, and I take very seriously « critics ». It is a true responsibility saying to someone what is good and wrong on his work. It should always be an engagement, something more than the fucking « you work looks like this image *troll bitch link* » or « I’m not sure the anatomy of the left finger is right, check on your studies and photos *wink *wink ». These are so low level critics… Just words on comments to try to show off your face… Annoying ☺
What or who inspired you to get into digital arts?
Hard and difficult question…
I think, it was a process through years. I started with traditional art, painting acrylics and stuff. I never wanted to stop, but I couldn't resist to the curiosity of starting a new media, and that’s where I discovered Digital Art.
I guess I could give names of a lot of famous artists that inspired me to get in the digital brench (Anthony Jones, Feng Zhu, Aleski Briclot, etc…), but… This time, I would like to talk about the anonymous, the friends and persons that helped us everyday, and gave me a path through art. We never give the names of those people, because it is easier to speak of the famous artist than the one that where at your side.
My teachers that really helped me : Catherine Okuyama, Aline Lebert, Virginie Wagner, the master Marc Bigeast, Lionel Richer and and so many others…
Family, parents, my dear brother and of course my wife, the support through all art.
The true art friends and workmates, who always supported me through years and gave the best critics : Benjamin Olivieri (Symptom Child), Remy Paul (Alpyro), Thibaud Michaud (doing an incredible independent game, Ymir) Sebastien Gosset, Alexis Koch, Thomas Brissot, Mathieu Gasperin, Charles Vernier, Arthur Munoz, Arnaud Barbier, Camille Bachmann, and so many others… So much inspiration and support, thank you guys.
Your Magisterium project is definitely one of my favorites. What is the message behind this picture?
It is one of my first very big contract, with a big company, Scholastic. Very heavy project, had a lot of work and thoughts to put in this image.
Basically, it’s a pyramidal composition, strong and dark, to show the main characters of the book : the three heroes of course, and the threat, the Enemy. My clients wanted something dark, even if it was a children book, so I tried to find the right balance between my usual dark side and a epic childhood feeling. I think the book i shaving quite a success, and that’s enough to get e happy ☺ !
Do you work in an office? If so, what does your workplace look like?
In fact, i have two jobs : a full-time job as a concept artist in a video-game studio, here, in Paris. And, for my evenings, week-ends and night, my freelance activity, that I use for doing commissions and stuff… So I always juggle between concept art, character design and illustration for books, Role playing Games and all. I always try to work as much as possible with indies’ , because they are the future of our industry, and I try to manage to get them lower prices with the best work possible. My desk at the studio is quite professional, except a mug and some artbooks sometimes, or a few papers and mangas visiting me sometimes… But at home, I am quite a mess, and my laptop is surrounded of CD’s, paint tubes, papers everywhere and a shit load of books…
What are some of your struggles as a concept artist? How did you overcome them?
Lately, the biggest struggle I have is the Networking Effect.
Finding the way to keep exposure without being obsessed by it… It is very hard. A lot of emotions are dragged of by « likes », « views », and other famous effects… Don’t get me wrong, I love the web, and all that shit. It’s what gave me a lot of work and learned me a lot. But sometimes, it is just… too much. Too much to look at, too much to remember, too much rules to follow. Yeah, I guess the « digital » part of digital artist is not just because we work on a computer.
There is all the rest of it : international worldwide exposure on the web, and all what it can bring like hopes, fears, disagreements and good surprises.
How does your job as an artist influence your life?
Ha ha, that is the simplest and the strangest question of all !
And it needs the easiest and best answer : EVERYTHING.
Art is the development of your mind and thoughts, your eyes and discovery of the world. Life passes through your eyes, discoveries, thoughts and mind. So they are both strictly relied to each other.
Let’s say that in my point of view, everything in art is a piece of life, and vice and versa. I think that everyone is an artist of his own life, and that is only purpose is to build the best masterpiece possible with the delay we gave him : the few years of his human life.
I try to do my part, and even if it’s more than just a painting on a small computer, my whole life will be my masterpiece painting : with its part of beauty and beautiful colours, some shadows and mistakes, but completely mine, my stile, my strokes, my values, my story….