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Epic Gamer Artists: Jeremy and Chris

Welcome to this edition of “Epic Gamer Artists,” where we feature artists from the Epic Community and their work. Tim from the Team Epic Gamers here, bringing you this week a special one. I sat down with Jeremy, a freelance illustrator and part-time art instructor, and Chris, an artist who works mostly on traditional mediums. They both collaborated on a Gears of War piece for  deviantArt contest, to show us what two artists can do to make something twice as awesome. They were finalists!

You can grab a Windows theme pack featuring finalist’s entries HERE.

Say hello to Jeremy and Chris!

A. Tell us about yourselves.
Jeremy: It always feels a little odd talking about myself, but I’ve been interested in art, games, and comics since middle school. Probably before. Like most artists, I started drawing at a young age and when I finished high school, I attended the Kansas City Art Institute with an emphasis in illustration. After my sophomore year, I headed out to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Inc., to focus on comics and storytelling. I spent several extremely important years out there, learning a lot about drawing in the process. I really credit my ability to draw to my time at the JKS. After that, I took a much needed year off before returning to the KCAI to complete my BFA in illustration.

Since then (and in part, during the end of my time at KCAI), I’ve worked a variety of jobs, but most consistently freelanced, which I’ve done full time since 2006, you can see my portfolio over at www.jeremymohler.com. In 2008 I started a little project management company called Outland Entertainment (www.outlandentertainment.com). We handle a variety of different projects, from full creative duties, to editing, or layout, or anything the client might need completed. Most recently, I’ve also been teaching drawing and storyboarding part time at the Art Institutes International Kansas City, which has been both fun and trying at times.

That is where most of my time goes right now, split between that and my wife and business partner, Emily Hall (www.emilyednahall.com), and our little daughter, Beatrice.

A. Do you guys work professionally?
C: Absolutely, I freelance full-time. I’ve done a wide variety of work, everything from web design, layout, black and white spot illustration, full color illustration, to just doing color work. I was fortunate enough to get to do a couple World of Warcraft trading cards for the very first set that was released, I’ve managed projects for places such as the History Colorado Museum, and recently, I completed my first color only work for Marvel Comics.

A. Your entry for the Gears United contest is a collaborative effort, and I have to say, it’s great! So who did what? What drove you guys to collaborate on such an awesome work of art? I’d like to hear both sides of the story.
J: Thanks! We appreciate that very much!

Well, I’ve been following Chris since he competed in the Zuda competition some years back. His work caught my eye and I really loved what he did – he can draw anything and the level of quality he puts out is always astounding. Since I do a lot of project management through Outland, I’ve been in the position to hire artists to work on some of the projects that we do and Chris was one of the first guys I went too. And he’s proven himself to be an absolute professional, but extremely dependable as well. I work with Chris whenever I get the chance.

And actually, for this contest, Chris actually shot me an email about doing the contest. I thought it sounded cool and fun, so I was on board. Chris handled the lineart and I took care of the colors. We bounced various versions back and forth a bit to make sure we both felt good about the final, but we’ve worked together enough, I think, to trust each other to do what their best.

A. Have you guys collaborated on other projects before?

J: Yes! We worked together before and we’ve worked together since. Generally, it’s usually with Chris handling pencils and inks and me doing the color work. Sometimes I do layouts and lettering as well, when we’re doing comic work. Our first work together was for a client up in Canada, working on a book about environmental issues called Foulplay. We’ve completed a book on sexual education for the Canadian government and the Inuit people. Plus we’ve worked on a variety of smaller projects together.

Though, what I’m most excited about is a personal project that we’re collaborating on called Windfall, based on an idea Chris had about a modern day small, western town and…dinosaurs. It’s a cool project that’ll be available online a little later this year. My wife, Emily, is writing, Chris is penciling and inking, and I’ll be handling the colors and letters. It’s going to be great!

A. Do you guys play Gears of War? Or any of the other titles from Epic Games?
J: I’ve played a bit of Gears of War, but honestly, I’m not a big first-person-shooter gamer. I love the look and design of the game and what I have played of it, I’ve enjoyed. Sometimes, it’s hard to find time to play when I’m so busy with work!

A. Have anything to say at all to your fellow Epic Gamers and aspiring artists?
C: I’d say, as I usually say to my art students, if you plan on being an artist, stick with it. This isn’t an industry for the faint of heart – be prepared to have some hard times, but stick with it, work hard, be persistent, and it’ll pay off.

Thanks for your time! We hope to see more work from the both of you in the future.

If you want to see more work from the Epic Gamers community, head on over to the Epic Gamers group on deviantART, or the Official Epic Gamers Forum.