Back with our second in the Artist Interview series is David Melvin. David has an amazing imagination for things that go bump in the night or that make you scream in places people can't hear you. His vision has lead to some classic CotV monsters players everywhere will love to fear, hate and hunt.
How long have you been drawing creepy monsters?
20 years personally, 8 professionally.
What are your tools of the trade?
Pencil and paper, Photoshop, Corel Painter 9 and 11, Illustrator.
In general, how long does it take you to complete one creature once you have the concept nailed down?
On average 1-2 days depending on the level of finish required. A really involved piece requires about a week sometimes.
Your creatures are so unique, where do you draw inspiration for them?
My inspiration comes from doing something that I haven’t tried before when it comes to design. I do my best not to stick to stereotypes in nature, but at the same time have to draw upon the inspiration that comes from so many of nature’s awesome varieties of shapes, colors and personalities.
Why do you like drawing monsters?
Because personally I find people to be boring subjects. (although extremely challenging, so I do try to draw them every once in a while) Plus, there are so many different options when it comes to designing new life forms, that I feel like I could come up with an entire species and its story every day, which in turn starts the wheels turning towards new and even more interesting designs in the future. I also like to see how deep I can pull the viewer into my world even if only for a minute.
Who are some of your favorite artist?
H.R. Giger, Brom, Peter Konig, Jakub Kasper, Paul Bonner, Kevin Eastman, just to name a few. The list is way too long for this interview.
How do you go about designing a monster for Chronicles of the Void?
My first thought is, “How can I make this guy better than the last one?”. Once the description is given, there are obviously parameters to be considered and followed, but I really wanted to try and push the envelope with this set of creatures for the game. Especially considering the other impressive artists participating.
Once the shape is found through the process of scribbled thumbnails, I then begin the fun part, which is turning nothing into something that no one has ever seen before. I look at about 30 or 40 different pictures very quickly of beasts and insects that might have some influence in the overall design, then sit in front of the canvas and almost watch the creature come to life in front of me. We call it sculpting, but it’s done in a 2D format.
You are in a deep cryostasis traveling on a 40yr trip across the galaxy and you can only watch one movie the entire trip. What is the movie?
Is this a trick question? I could pick my favorite, which is “Se7en”, but I’d probably be a depressed, nervous wreck by the time I got there.
Recently you worked on one of CotV's ten Iconic characters; Numi. Numi is part of a sentient, bug like race know as the Carapen that have the ability to cocoon themselves and radically morph into something new. How did you go about illustrating such a versatile character?
I’ll admit, this was the toughest of the bunch. I always do my best to inject as much personality as I can into every creature and character I create, and the Carapen posed a challenge unique in the world of COTV because of its intelligence and proximity to humans, while being about as alien as you can get. I guess I just tried to keep it organic, while being strong, confident and somewhat regal. The honey bee kept coming to mind because their ways of life are so similar. I wanted to focus especially on the face to give the impression of a brain that could keep up with the brawn, behind those shiny blue eyes. And I thought the idea of something that could morph into something else was a pretty amazing concept, so I wanted to try to make it cool to begin with.