10 May 2017

Interview with Ron Schuijt | Life of an illustrator, heart of a gamer!

The designer of Stinger Magazine’s latest logo, wielder of a strong but well maintained beard, carrier of a fierce passion for games and art; an applause from behind your computer screens everyone and welcome Ron Schuijt.

Ron is an illustrator, character designer, concept artist and animator from the Netherlands. Alongside his projects as a freelance designer he is the proud creative mind behind the European comic-strip series Tijl with the second strip being released next year. When not wielding the wacom-pen to draw he uses it as a mouse, tapping his way to victory in the latest game that caught his fancy. Stinger briefly sat down with Ron to discuss his work and gaming hobby.

Ron, welcome! You were contacted to make the design for this site, can you tell the readers a bit on how you made this logo. What’s the process behind it?
Basically I started with gathering images of typography used in action and fighting games for inspiration. Getting the right font and adjusting it to fit the motion I was looking for took the longest, the first sketches had too much effects piled on top of each other and felt a bit too campy, but I’m happy with the end result!

Have you played games that are featured on Stinger? Like Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry?
My main experience in action games comes from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Does stuff like the Witcher or Arkham-series count? Or is that considered too simple for the average Devil May Cry player?

Oh no! You’re asking a hard question back haha! Yes, they count. Combat is combat, some are just more deep than other. But if not those types of games, what kinds of games do pull you in right now? My most played game at the moment is without a doubt Europa Universalis 4. As a grand strategy game, it’s on the complete other side of the game spectrum compared to action games, but the depth its mechanics and the constant development by Paradox Studios keeps me engaged like no other game has done so before.

Release trailer for his comic-strip Tijl #1: De Twist in het Sticht

When you play games, what difficulty do you play on?
To be honest, most games are being played at normal mode in my house. The perfect boss battle needs a couple of failed attempts to make the victory feel like an accomplishment. I hate being stuck in a game, especially when the story is compelling. The only exception is by playing Europa Universalis 4, where ironman-mode [an added difficulty-modifier in which all actions taken are permanent - Stinger] is the best way to play. This does end up in a rage quit every once in awhile. But the anger never lingers for too long, and before I know it I start another Byzantium run…

Is that different compared to when you were young?
I never thought I would run any game in ironman ever. I used to play a lot of games on emulators where you could save-scum every second. I remember when I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time I saved every time I hit Ganon with an arrow, just to beat him with as little effort as possible. It feels kinda dirty now I think back at it.

How do you combine the gaming hobby with the life surrounding it?
Between being self-employed as an illustrator, publishing comic books, maintaining an effort to stay in shape, my social life and a relationship...I try to pick at least one evening during the week for gaming. It’s not that much, and I cherish it!

With art playing such a big role in your life, how did you end up in that sector?
A lot of practice, hard work and networking. And a little bit of luck. I guess working as an independent artist in today’s world is not really an ‘easy mode’ for life.

Ha! Well said! Your work revolves around making artwork and animations, do you prefer playing games that fit your art-style? Are there styles you really dislike to play in?
I’m definitely get drawn to games with an eye-catching art style. The Banner Saga, Armello and pixel arts titles like Dungeons of the Endless come to mind. There are a lot of nice things happening in the indie game scene, with a huge variety of art styles. It’s really cool to see so many sprite based games popping up, 2-D isn’t going anywhere soon.
As a history-geek, I dislike a lot of aesthetic choices that are being made in a heap of medieval-fantasy games though, but that has more to do with a lack of historic research and world-building than choices in style.

Do games inspire you in your day to day work?
I like the aesthetics of a lot of indie games out there. Thanks to software like Unity we see a lot of creative young developers making weird stuff. I’m working on my first card game, and I look at the game market with one eye for inspiration and maybe even future projects.
Maybe a bad example, but for a current schoolbook I looked at the title design of a lot of smartphone games. They have this cheery, colorful illustrative vibe which I really wanted to convey to my book cover design. I guess kids like to read a book faster if it looks like something they know from an iPad, right?

If you could, right now, decided on which game to make all the artwork: which would it be?
I would love to do some character design for a game around the world of Malazan, book of the fallen book series. Although anything that involved history or mythology would be an awesome job!

Before we close off, right now: your #6 in your Top 10 favorite games of all time? Go!
Haha my number 6 in my top 10? That feels such a random thing to ask. I think Borderlands 2 has won this total arbitrary pick. Not only because it’s one of the few shooters I actually enjoy, but the gruesome humor, story and loot system is just awesome. The Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC (a Dungeons & Dragons parody) alone deserves a spot on my top 10.

Ron, thank you so much for your hard work on the Stinger logo and for taking the time to have this talk! If people would like to contact or follow you, where can they find you?
They can visit my website at ronschuijt.nl or follow me on instagram at www.instagram.com/ronschuijt/



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