March 22, 2018

Get a Look at Hunt (and Robinson) Concept Art by Ina Koos

Ina Koos has been at Crytek since 2012 and a Concept Artist since 2014. She's an all-rounder when it comes to artistic subjects and styles: she has worked on characters for Robinson: The Journey, Crytek's recent VR sci fi adventure; environments for The Climb, Crytek's VR climbing game; and now is spending most of her time doing vintage-style illustrations for Hunt. Today we're here to talk to her about how she got started in the industry, what it's like working on Hunt, and where she gets her inspiration. Welcome, Ina!

Career-wise, how did you get where you are now?

Ina: Sure, brief and quickly: After college, I worked for an advertising agency and finished my apprenticeship there. This was the beginning of my journey as a creative professional, but I know I had a lot more to learn still. So I jumped into studying communications design, and acquired my bachelor degree eight years ago. A more extended internship in a small game studio and short-term freelancing followed. After that, I started at Crytek as a 2D-Artist, and now I'm working as a regular concept artist. It feels a little unreal when I think back – since I always watched Crytek from afar, just thinking that one day I would really like to work here. There I go, lucky girl!

My passion for games grew with my first computer – Amiga 500. That's been a while.

What's your typical day like?

Ina: Since my tasks can be super different, I just developed several small routines, depending on what's required. Sometimes I can immediately start, yet for other tasks I'll be skimming through my reference collections or sketching a few rough things to get in touch with the theme, or having a brainstorming session with my dear concept-art family. Overall I appreciate my day-to-day routine here: I arrive in the morning, leave in the evening, little lunch break in the afternoon…you know, small things that help to keep the creative chaos in line!

What has been your favorite bit of Hunt to work on so far?

Ina: We developed a symbolic picture language for the traits. It's already in the game and more is about to come (new stuff, no spoilers! ;)). That was probably the toughest, but the most exciting task for me. Finding a proper motive that feels unique, explains creatively, expresses the hunt-language, and sells the gameplay element at the same time… can cause some headache, every now and then! Therefore I'm super happy about the positive response to these. Everything feels worth the effort, in general, on Hunt.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Ina: Google?

Ina: Just kidding. Of course other artists' work, movies I've seen, music I've listened to, arts and crafts, travel, comic books, old masterpieces, you know…the stuff you find interesting gets stuck in your brain, waiting to come back, in your personal shape, in a developed appearance. Conversation and communication in general help a lot, I appreciate the synergy of brainstorming too.

Can you tell us about what you're working on right now?

Ina: I'm working on a universal trait illustration that might also occur later in a different context again.

Can you walk us through your process for tackling a piece of concept art?

Ina: Sketches in the beginning support most of the tasks I get. Doesn't matter if that's a character-, environment-, UI-, or props-related theme. Having basic ideas nailed down brings the entire team onto the same page. Consequently we're able to do quick changes and iterations in a more fluent fashion. An extensive collection of references offer excellent inspiration and helps you to focus on particular elements. As soon as the draft has the composition, atmosphere, and feeling we like, I start with the “fine art" execution. Going forward step by step, iterating, improving, and some post processing in the end.

Last but not least, do you have any advice for all the aspiring artists out there?

Ina: Hmm, I probably have, since handling art seriously can become quite a roller coaster, emotionally. It happens every now and then, that you feel unable. Unable to deliver, or to develop a proper style, to do the shading right, to keep the perspective, to find a good idea, and so on. Let me just underline, these are phases that almost every artist I know went through. It's part of being an artist and is absolutely necessary for your improvement. Accept these episodes as part of your personal development. Try to relax, take your time, and in the end, get back to art with fun and passion. <3

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