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Friday, March 27, 2015

Interview with Artist Anthony Devine

Today we continue our series of artist interviews with Anthony Devine, whose work has been featured prominently in several recent LotR: LCG quests. The Fog on the Barrow Downs quest, in particular, has drawn praise from my player circle. 


In addition to his work on LotR projects, Anthony has also been conscripted into FFG's burgeoning Star Wars endeavors. He was gracious enough to answer a few basic questions that give some insight into the world of professional artistry.

What was your earliest introduction to Middle Earth? 

The films actually! I was more of a sci-fi nut growing up. I had heard about LOTR before the films came out, but only through what some of my friends had mentioned about the books. FFG doesn't have copyright permission to use New Line Cinemas 'version' of middle earth, so I need to use the books to reference when I'm painting. Irony!

Do you have a favorite character or setting from Middle Earth? 

Sean Bean ;)

And what's not to love?

How did you come to work on FFG's games? Was there an application/audition process?

No - I just emailed my portfolio at the time, which was only 4 or 5 pieces strong to [ed: redacted to keep this person from having their inbox flooded].  I got some work around 4 months later.

Do you play any of the games that you work on?

FFG keeps me busy painting artwork for their games which doesn't give me much time to play them, unfortunately.  

What other games do you work on for FFG besides LotR? Are there any games of theirs that you'd like to do some work for?

I've worked on pretty much all of their Star Wars titles which has been great fun.  Their IG-2000 Expansion Pack for X-Wing: Miniatures, was just released which I worked on for both the cover art and majority of card art inside!  That was a blast!  Call of Cthulhu has been a great game to work on.  I love doing all the research that's required for the game as it's set in 1920's America.  I would love to work on their Warhammer 40k series eventually (ed: I'd love that as well!).  

What is your preferred medium for your art?

Primarily, I'm a Digital Artist & Illustrator, but I wouldn't say that it's my preferred medium. It's just what I understand more so at this moment in time, particularly with the type of work I'm being commissioned for. I still very much begin all of my work as little thumbnail scribbles on paper before taking them into photoshop. As a hobby, at least for the moment anyway, I've just started teaching myself how to oil paint. So who knows, maybe in the not so distant future I'll be mostly painting with oils.

Did you study art in any organized way? Or are you mostly self-taught?

No, I'm completely self taught. I did study Graphic Design at college for 2 years & became fairly good at it, enough so to be offered full time employment as a Graphic Designer at a studio before graduating, but designing labels, logo-types & creating magazine layouts for a living all day just didn't appeal to me in the end.  

Eventually, after about 6 months of being nothing and doing nothing, I decided to teach myself Art Foundation. I used my timetable from college and timetables found online from other art colleges as models on how to arrange and prioritize my time and what kind of "classes" to teach myself. I spent a solid year building up my foundation skills before moving on to paint and experiment with my own stuff.

Can you take us through your personal process; from concept to finished product? 

Everything begins by reading the brief and checking to see if there's any template that I need to use which determines the format of the painting. From there I'll do some quick black & white thumbnails to generate possible solutions for my painting. I'll choose a couple of thumbnails to take into sketch phase and will also begin looking at reference material. I like to make my sketches look quite solid nowadays so that there's no guess work during the final detail pass. Once I get feedback from my Art Director on what sketch to follow through with, it's just a simple case of detailing everything now and making it look complete!

Any advice for artists who want a career like yours?

Leave 'Talent' behind! It's only a word that people use to describe you after the fact and not before you've become good at something. You don't become good at what you're learning because of some mystical "gift"! You become good at something simply because you've repeated and practiced it more times than you can count, not to mention the amount of times you've failed trying. That's how we grow as humans and that's how you can become good at anything really. Of course, it does help to have an active interest in that some thing or things!

Where can we view more of your work?

You can find more of my work or simply drop by to say 'Hi' at

Big thanks to Anthony for taking the time to answer our questions!

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!

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