We love to say something smart about games being an art form. But who are we? Better let the artist herself do the talking. This week we feature Liselore Goedhart, artist at Monobanda. She talks about her design filosophy: “I’m interested in designs that leave something open for the imagination and that contain more than meets the eye.” And that moment when you realise you are on to something good: “When I laugh or smile during the process of making a character, I know I’m on the right track.”

Artist of the week

How did you get into (game) art?

My mother is an artist, so ever since I was little I had the chance to use all her tools and learn from them and from her inspiring work. Creating was an important part of my childhood, be it doodling, painting and sculpting. After school I knew I wanted to pursue an art career, but I did not yet know in what area. So I first started out following a graphic and media design course in Utrecht to collect enough artwork and find my own craft. After that I went to the Utrecht School of the Arts where I graduated as a Bachelor of Art and Technology from the Design for Virtual Theatre and Games course. There I learned to combine digital media with tangible and real-life elements.

In my last year at the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2008 a few of my classmates and I began talking about starting our own company. After a lot of meetings we finally had a name: Monobanda (which means something like one gang or monkey group). We decided to just go for it right after graduating. I’m glad to say that we’re still here, making playful and interactive experiences for both cultural and commercial purposes. My main focus at Monobanda is designing concepts & characters and finding the right style and tone for a project. I enjoyed working on our projects Game Seeds, Bohm and Mimicry. With those projects I had a lot of artistic freedom and it also gave me the chance to learn more about creating imagery that had to inform and be interactive.

How would you describe your style?

Organic, stylistic, colorful and cute.

How did you ‘find’ your own style?

Because of my role as a designer in different projects at art school and commissions 0f our friends and clients I dove more and more into the world of Illustrator. It’s a tool that helps me create simple 2D shapes that can portray the emotion and setting I’m looking for. But for me, the moment when all things came together was during my graduation project Fonn. In that project I combined all the elements that fascinate me, like physical interaction and character design. Fonn is a game installation that asks the visitor to play with cardboard set pieces. By placing them on an illuminated table the player can discover and interact with a digital world. There’s real wind blowing from two fans at either side of the table that influences the digital world. The main goal is to use this random wind to create life. The thought behind it is that you can’t control what happens in life and that a gust of wind can change everything in an instant.
I’m interested in designs that leave something open for the imagination and that contain more than meets the eye. When I laugh or smile during the process of making a character, I know I’m on the right track.

What tools do you prefer?

Adobe Illustrator and my paper notebook in which I write down ideas and draw concepts. I usually have a pretty good idea about the image I want to create, but I often let my pen speak for itself. I love organic and wavy shapes, so when I put down my pen on paper I just begin to draw without thinking about it too much. Sometimes you get weird and random scribbles, but at other times a shape pops up that I like. It could be a very weird Escher-esk shape that doesn’t really seem to be right, but still looks right nonetheless. In my mind it’s right at least, because I have a very bad sense of 3D and perspective.

About the exclusive artwork:

The inconstancy, precision and scale of nature impresses and inspires me. I like to use organic shapes to create an undiscovered setting that’s still recognizable. Places you want to go to and explore. I’m fascinated by mythological creatures and empty wide-open spaces like the ocean, dunes and mountains. Ideas for my illustrations originate from a fascination or obsession I’m having at that moment. Sometimes it’s (isometric) cubes, other times it’s a specific color scheme, currently it’s nature’s wonders. I find nature wildly imaginative and magical, especially the relation between humans and animals. They can be hurtful to each other but there’s also a pure love that is indestructible. Animals can be pure and wise, a trait I believe humans sometimes lack.
This piece is about creation and the relation between characters. They are curious, yet acceptant towards each other and the world that surrounds them. That’s the main reason I love Studio Ghibli and Pixar movies so much, they create beautiful relations between characters, that are both touching and honest. Those beautiful interactions also exist in games like Shadow of the Colossus and Journey. I loved riding Agro through all the mythical landscapes in SotC and flying along with the flying scarf creatures in Journey. That’s why I hope The Last Guardian will still see the light of day!