The interview below was published on The Grind, a now defunct website, and was conducted in August of 2016. Although some of the content covered shows its age today, the interview is finding a new home here for anyone interested in diving in to read what Taraneh had to share!
At the Time of Publication (16-09-10)
Position: Art Director
Project: Lona: Realm of Colors
01) How long have you been producing art in a professional capacity?
I’ve been working since high school, but it’s been a few years since I’ve given professional direction to my career, focusing more on concept art for video games.
02) What’s been your favourite project to date?
Lona: Realm of Colors. It’s my very own story and art style, formed through an exciting experience with a group of talented people that I love!
03) How did you get involved with Spacefox Studio?
Spacefox was founded when me and my partner in crime – my husband, who works in game Industry – came up with the idea of making our own game, based on what we love to make, and inspired by my own realm of feelings and experiences. It’s the beginning of a great journey!
04) How would you describe the process of preparing Lona: Realm of Colors’ Kickstarter campaign?
As our very first game project, we were careful not to make something that just looks cool, and instead focused on making an entertaining “game” that can attract core gamers: fans of Adventure titles, at least. For our first approach, we tried to choose a safe classic-adventure genre with minor innovations, but with a dynamic flow and appropriate pace expected of a traditional game. Right now, we’re working on a vertical-slice demo of a level for our Kickstarter Campaign that’ll hopefully be released in late September.
05) How would you describe the game industry and its culture in Iran?
Although I’m new to the industry, Iranian game companies have managed to deliver some very successful titles worldwide, which I think shows they have great potential and passion for making video games. That being said, though, I personally consider this industry to be one without borders like the language of art itself. Our own studio, Spacefox, is located in Sweden and includes team members from all around the world.
06) Who would you say are your greatest inspirations?
I guess as an artist I should name some famous artists, but my greatest inspiration in both life and career is my husband. He’s the reason I’m standing here and pursuing my dream! He’s not just an inspiration for me, but also for many people in my country whose lives were changed thanks to the digital art community he assembled. Other than him, there are many artists that inspire me that you’ll see soon enough as Easter Eggs in Lona!
07) How has your artwork changed over time, if at all?
It’s changed a lot and continues to do so! I decided to do studies and illustrations for fun every single day to keep myself in practice and experience new techniques for discovering my style. This daily routine has really made a big difference, and I haven’t missed a day! Being open to new techniques and following your favorites is key to becoming better.
08) What kind of artwork do you enjoy making the most?
I love character design and animation, although I’m a beginner at the latter and there’s still so much to learn, but mostly I enjoy making art that tells a story or shares an expression: even if it’s a simple character. I know it’s essential as a concept artist, but I really try to tell stories even in my daily studies.
09) What have you found the most challenging about producing artwork for games?
I must say that the most challenging thing for me as an artist is changing and improving my process. I mean, after eight months of working on Lona, I’ve discovered new techniques that might not perfectly match the early concepts I did for the game, and so the challenge of unifying the art style is something that I’ll have to deal with once we’re done the pre-production phase.
10) What have you found the most challenging about working within cross-disciplinary teams?
Lucky for me, in my previous career as a Motion Graphic Designer, I had to work in bigger teams and be part of something larger than just illustrations. A funny issue in my work now is that I have to deal with a lot of programmers that show a minimum amount of expression and excitement during the work, so I have to be extra excited to keep the balance! Haha
11) What do you do to overcome artist’s block?
Honestly, finding attractive references and places where I live doesn’t feed my creativity, so I get what I need from the Internet: that, I’ll change for sure! I’m so grateful to be connected with so many talented and creative people that keep inspiring me. Taking part in events or art challenges is also a cool way to express my creativity!
12) Any advice for artists looking for their first paid, professional project?
First of all, try to be very good at what you’re doing and enhance your work as much as possible, and second, believe in yourself and everything that you earn. You deserve to be on the top of the list, so don’t be satisfied with anything less!
13) What software and tools do you use or recommend?
Hmm… I’ve never seen two artists using the same desktop and tools. I recommend starting with anything that makes you feel good and comfortable creating art! If you like painting, try to focus on painting itself and not all the fancy luxuries that technology offers you. Software is nothing but tools, and they’re purpose is to serve your need for expressing what’s in your mind: at least as a 2D artist! I currently work in Photoshop, mostly based on my own hand-drawings.
14) What do you do in your free time? Any hobbies?
My free time is when I freshen up and relax. I mostly watch movies, play games, hang out with friends, and last but not least, focus on my musical career and skillset!
15) If you had more time, what would you spend it on?
I’d definitely go on road trips to unknown places, experiencing what lies beyond my imagination: meeting totally new people and seeing foreign locations!
16) Finally, what would you buy if you had a million dollars?
I’d want to buy a big balloon to travel the world… ideally with internet somewhere in it!