Between Two Turrets - Chat with IronStylus! [COMPLETED]

http://na.leagueoflegends.com/sites/default/files/styles/scale_xlarge/public/upload/btt_header_final.jpg?itok=HSvllf8j _Welcome to the first installment of Between Two Turrets, a new Q&A series from the NA Community team in which we’ll connect you with various Rioters to chat about League, life, and anything in between. You can expect an installment every couple weeks or so, with Rioters from all over jumping in to spend some time with you on the boards._ _First up, we’ve got concept artist (and lover of all things parrot) IronStylus!_ --- **EDIT - Alright guys, heading back to work! I'll try to check back every now and then over the next couple days so feel free to leave more questions. Great talking to you all!** Why hello! My name is Michael Maurino and I'm a Senior Concept Artist here at Riot. I currently work on the Champion Update team as one of two concept artists who are dedicated to bringing our older champions some well-deserved love. I've been at Riot for just over 4 years and have worked on each of the character content teams: Champion, Skins, and now ChampUp. During my time on these teams I've worked on some extremely fun and rewarding projects with some amazing people, helping to visually design such champions as Leona, Talon, Xerath, Skarner, Graves, Diana, and Quinn & Valor. I've designed various skins including Steel Legion Garen, Lunar Goddess Diana, Pool Party Leona, and others. While on Champion Update I've worked on such characters as Master Yi, Sejuani, Trundle, and others. Currently I'm slated to do character concept art for Taric's upcoming(tm) update and other characters as well! You can also check out a bunch of my League-related work [here](http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Friotironstylus.imgur.com%2F&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNHPXsuu1ZCRxzr1s0-SVADmHgoLVw). This Q&A is wide open to discussions about my work here at Riot, artistic practices at the studio, art education, all of that! Pretty much anything that is in good taste and can be discussed openly. In addition, what we can discuss goes beyond League, art, and game development, too. There's a lot of passions I have that I'm happy to share thoughts on and would likewise love to hear yours! I'm a parrot owner, a traditional sculptor, lover of all things sci-fi, a proponent of gender equality and positive representation of women in games, a lover of social media, and online communities (especially the League community). I also have a tremendous interest in psychology and the workings of the human mind as someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression. It is a topic dear to my heart, and I always want to reach out to those who struggle or have struggled with mental illness. So! Whether your questions are League related, art related, or you just want to hang out and chat about parrots, it's a big world filled with big discussions! Let's talk!
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so do you ever stream your artwork like Riot penguin does? If so where could I go to watch?
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Currently I do have a patreon but it's been inactive. There I post original work that's not League related however. It'd be a bit of a conflict of interest to post anything but personal stuff there. HOWEVER! I should be starting it again in a few months with VOD's and streaming :D BUT! For streaming of League art I'd be doing that on my own and I'd notify people via twitter. I hope to pick that up soon!
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Been extraordinarily busy as of late, but as I get more time I plan to do this, either on Patreon or through twitch.
You're very well-known for your "armoured ladies" -- which is to say female characters who are not only wearing armour, but who are also powerful. Leona is a great example of a more conventionally thought "strong" woman, but her counterpart, Diana, is another strong woman yet she is a slightly more unconventional. Can you discuss your thoughts on female character design not just at Riot, but in games in general, and the kind of thought process and considerations you have when crafting your "armoured ladies," particularly more unconventional "strong women" like Diana?
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Absolutely. Leona was done in a bit of a vacuum as I look back on her. She's much more traditionally "fantasy knight" than anything extraordinarily unique. That said, I'm happy that she has become a bit of a symbol of a tiny step forward in female character design that's it's own power fantasy and fairly non-conventional in games a whole. That said, I definitely wanted to reevaluate how I approached strong women who have specific power fantasies in designing Diana. There was intent there. I wanted to go a bit further in my personal approach to the design. I wanted to steer completely away from even the mistakes I made with Leona (boob-plate, heels, etc). I intentionally designed Diana to be contrasting shape language but also polar opposite in theme and demeanor. Female character design is something that fascinates me so very much, and I'm glad we as a company and games in general are making strides to a more diverse understanding as to what makes power fantasies surrounding female characters or female protagonists compelling. I'm also really delighted that other companies have made intentional strides to expand female character pools. Not for the sake of appeasement or agenda, but for the simple fact that so many amazing character possibilities lay undiscovered or have not been capitalized. We as artists at Riot have different ways we interpret power fantasies. We express it in different way. All of them are valid I feel. Whether that's Riot Zeronis making extremely badass and conventionally sexy ladies, to TheBravoRay who designed Kalista and definitely bucked trends there, to myself who likes diving into what actively challenges conventional gender roles. I think my own understanding is evolving, I think Riot's understanding is evolving, and I think the games industry is evolving. I think that's absolutely fantastic, and I'm so happy to throw my hat into the ring when appropriate. Armored ladies aren't the only solution to gender diversity in roles and character development. I think each power fantasy has a niche and can be expressed in so many ways. In the end it all works! It's all about what works best at what time in what context!
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What champs do you personally want a VU for right now? What champs do you think need it the most?
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Personally (and luckily they're in our sights, eventually) are Taric, Poppy, Urgot for obvious reasons, very large and intensive character remakes which are honestly a lot of fun, but very resource intensive. However, there are some other character kind of on my hit list, which we're not really prioritizing for some good reasons. Personally I'd love to overhaul Eve. Keep that sexy succubus thing but really amp that up along with her fidelity. Caitlyn for not so much technical reasons, but for consistency reasons to fit with Jayce, Vi, Jinx, etc. To embody that real slick cop vibe, bring her in line with Piltover and give her a slightly more aligned costume to hit her theme home. I love the dress, but I think we can find a common ground solution. Irelia, again for a huge tear-down, but definitely not as important as our major overhauls up top. I'd really like to embrace the mind-blade lady thing in all facets of art, gameplay and story. Many others, I'd have to dig a bit. Those are the ones at the tip of my brain though.
WarWork (NA)
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Hey Stylus could we get any get any info, leaks, sneak peaks or teases on Poppy's (mainly her seeing as she is an armored lady) and Taric's update? Also I would like to know the process of creating a champion from the artiste's side. What the process is like, how long does it take, what do you do with rejected/ cancelled characters. And do you guys at riot ever look at community created characters for inspiration and ideas? Like what happens if a member of the company conceptualized a champion you really like? What's going on for Warwick???
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Well, I can't offer any real sneak peaks unfortunately, but I can sort of give an idea of the space we're playing in. With Poppy we want to find the fundamental base of her character. What is her particular space in the yordle lineup? What gives her such fortitude and the power to wield weapons a bit too large for her? What's the thing that she wants or strives to be? Those are all things which we build off of which are core to the character's development and identity in the universe, game space, and look. Small yordle big weapon is a neat contrasting theme, and seems to be something common throughout all yordles. Contrast, motivation, all of those things are core. For Taric, again, not much I can say, though I have had extensive conversations with the community about him, asking what people would like to see from such an update. Lots of interesting feedback, lots of good opinions and ideas. The space I'd like to play in there is how to make Taric fundamentally compelling without relying on stereotypes or tropes that are either ancillary or just not great foundations to build off of. Taric has so much opportunity. He has a great standard archetype - Hero. A known and fun trope - Paladin. A neat spin that we can give - Gem Magic. Those alone are great to build off of. Those things known we can expand upon it to add flavor and see exactly what the most compelling version of those three standards are. Personal preference for me is that we make Taric someone who is wonderfully confident, kind, heroic, has presence, is someone who is a lover of beauty and is a protector. The rest of the story writes itself from there. I'm not particularly involved in new champion development right now to comment in a meaningful way on that process really. We look at the community a lot, but there's also a wealth of internal ideas that often align with what players are thinking. We tend to rely a bit more on the brain dump of individuals at Riot, but also always peak into the community to find motivation, inspiration and what is trending. Warwick? Hmm.. not quite on the docket at the moment, and ZenonTheStoic took time away from that update to work on some Champion team stuff.
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I've got three questions: 1) Can you tell us about any champion projects you might be working on at the moment? 2) Is there any chance for another female tank (We only have Leona and Sejuani as far as true tanks are concerned). 3) Did you have any involvement in choosing Leona's voice actress?
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1) I'm not currently working on anything aside from ChampUP character, mostly on early ideation for Taric at the moment. 2) I'm sure there's a chance and space that can used to develop such a character. 3) I did not. That was handled by the creative designer at the time.
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Any update on the Champ Reworks? Specifically, how long before you can get to serious work on Yorick?
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I can't get too crazy in explanation, but there is some very, very early on work going on for Yorick. No dates, no expectations at the moment, mainly exploration on a new direction for him by passionate designers.
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> [{quoted}](name=IronStylus,realm=NA,application-id=cIfEodbz,discussion-id=sftAEOEo,comment-id=000e0000,timestamp=2015-06-17T20:40:53.556+0000) > > I can't get too crazy in explanation, but there is some very, very early on work going on for Yorick. No dates, no expectations at the moment, mainly exploration on a new direction for him by passionate designers. Then I'll ask my question in a different way. Speaking for yourself, where do you put Yorick on the priority list? Are the other "Sion-level" champion reworks (specifically Poppy, Taric and Urgot) and other "low-hanging fruit," like Gangplank and Fiora, bigger or more important targets for your team than the Grave Digger?
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He's definitely a Sion level project.
I know at one point your name was being thrown around as someone working on the Cait VU. Is it still being worked on and are you still a part of it? If so how is it coming? What are some challenges you faced working on that project? Got any interesting stories about the creation process from you or your team in that project? One last question, are you also working on the MF VU?
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Cait is not currently in active development as there are some really big projects on our docket. (Taric, Poppy, etc) I have a concept hanging out which might be able to inform an eventual update, though it'd probably, if anything, just be a model update. I'm hopeful but it wouldn't be in the near future. Currently I'm not involved in anything MF related.
Ashtana (NA)
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Which faction of League's lore (Noxus, Demacia, Zaun, ect) would you like to see developed the most? Besides Mt. Targon, that is :P A while back there was talk of the Yordle Unification Pass- we've already gotten Tristana and Heimer's (awesome) new looks from it, and we know Poppy's next. What other yordles do you have in mind to look at?
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I'd really like to expand and understand the Piltover/Zaun dynamic. I think there's so much room to explore that tension between two diametrically opposed city-states. I'm also a fan of fantasy-sci-fi sorta tech and motifs. Not as much with the high fantasy that tends to be Demacia/Noxus. As for yordles, we do the pass as we go. Using Hiemer and Tristana as a point of reference. So as we progress on Poppy we line things up and check for consistency. It's more of an ongoing active space we operate inside than a style guide. Personally I'd like us to maybe get an understanding of Viegar. I'd have to do a bit of digging to see which yordle in particular I'd like to give some love to. (I'm really excited about Poppy though!)
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> [{quoted}](name=IronStylus,realm=NA,application-id=cIfEodbz,discussion-id=sftAEOEo,comment-id=00090001,timestamp=2015-06-17T20:45:47.897+0000) > > I'd really like to expand and understand the Piltover/Zaun dynamic. I think there's so much room to explore that tension between two diametrically opposed city-states. I'm also a fan of fantasy-sci-fi sorta tech and motifs. Not as much with the high fantasy that tends to be Demacia/Noxus. > > As for yordles, we do the pass as we go. Using Hiemer and Tristana as a point of reference. So as we progress on Poppy we line things up and check for consistency. It's more of an ongoing active space we operate inside than a style guide. > > Personally I'd like us to maybe get an understanding of Viegar. I'd have to do a bit of digging to see which yordle in particular I'd like to give some love to. (I'm really excited about Poppy though!) We seriously need an airship-commander type champion :p Like somebody from Final Fantasy :D
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..how do you feel about jetpacks?
Bad Karma (EUW)
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I'm not sure how much you're into working on Morgana and how much you are ALLOWED to say, but what can you say about her? Do you consider changing her? How will her future look like? What would you change on her? What do you think is iconic and shouldn't change? Will we see something in the near future?
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We have a concept hanging around but she's not in active development. Morgana is a big fidelity and theme project, not so much gameplay. I would love to know what exactly she is. Is she an otherworldly fallen angel? Is she some sort of Targonian being? Is she a product of the Shadow Isles? I think she needs something really tangible to base a new direction off of. With that direction and thematic cohesion we can build art to suit. I think she's really iconic, and it comes down to more of how the narrative influences any future visual direction. Can we make her awesome and badass looking? Absolutely! I think we just need to find a great hook for her first.
Besteau (NA)
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Ironstylus. I am a self taught artist. Everything digital I have done I have taught myself through experimenting and tips from other artists on sites and even one of your employees. I was wondering how would I come across making a portfolio for Riot Games and what would you expect out of it? I know Toli is teaching me how to shade by doing a wire frame over the original drawing. Also, since the furthest thing I have is an associates, does the degree you have matter? I think its the amount of effort and growth from the effort that matters as well as your drive and desire to continue to do so. How do you determine a price for your artwork? How would you go about selling artwork or advertising for it? Is there anyway to see your entry portfolio you used to apply to Riot? Could you make a Bilgewater Quinn skin with a parrot please? How do you price your art? How would you set up goals and rewards in a patreon? How do you get a following so there is more demand for commissions? I have many more questions too. Perhaps this is a long shot, Could you add me as a friend in client please? Edit: Got to gold with Leona. Best support. Edit2: Attached is something I'm working on. It's pretty tough when you have to find things out on your own. But I am proud of myself for getting this far. Now to keep pushing myself. My goal is to finish a champion concept page with color and move up from there at this moment in time. I wish I could make sense of cartoon like styles so i can fluctuate between realism and cartoon.
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So, I'm gunna hack together a response from a few different places. I sort of have a cookie-cutter document I carve from now and again when people ask these general questions. If all of this doesn't align perfectly, my apologies! I'm going to tailor some stuff in the response but it might be a little more of an overview. I'm going to do some gratuitous copypasta: **Some of the personal story.. ** I had to go through several phases of life in order to get to my current position. I attended Pratt Institute in New York to get a bachelors in art, then however found that the type of art I did wasn't in demand on the East Coast. I left my home and family to move to Los Angeles to attend Art Center College of Design for a brief period while I learned specifically about entertainment art. These two colleges alone cost a fair amount of money. My early days in Los Angeles were filled with uncertainty as I wasn't sure how to achieve what I wanted to. I worked as a prop-maker in film for a long time, for low wages, desiring to get deeper into the movie industry. Only later was I clued into the world of video games as being ripe for concept artist opportunities. Even then, I put a significant amount of work, on my own time, of creating a robust portfolio. I worked many low-paying freelance jobs before accumulating enough good work that would impress a studio. Once I was in a good place, I was able to take on freelance work for Riot and eventually prove my worth as an in-house hire. All in all, a lot of time, money and emotional struggle was spent, but it was unquestionably worth it. Going through what I’ve gone through has given me a unique perspective and helps me not only technically, but also allows me to work efficiently with other artists, communicate, collaborate, and be able to function as a productive part of a team I love being a member of. **In terms of specific instruction on direction and craft..** First, figure out exactly what you want to do. If concept art is indeed where you’d like to focus then the first and foremost thing to do is to draw. Draw a lot. Have an unquestionable understanding of form, color and other artistic principles. Be able to recreate life from your head and then be able to build on that with your own ideas. After you can represent what you see in life, create your own worlds. Show how many ideas you can come up with. Be comfortable with coming up with hundreds of ideas and narrowing down that lot to a small number of options. Be able to technically take those sketches, drawings, etc, to a level of high illustrative polish. Knowing what 3D artists need from a concept artist is key in that we create work which they use to create a final model from. Working inside constraints of the entire pipeline is necessary. Becoming familiar with the duties of the people that will eventually surround you is really valuable. Everything you design has to be made. That thing being made has to work. It has to move. There are real limitations. Knowing when you're designing armor how to avoid shoulder pads clipping into a dude's head is a good thing to know. **In terms of education..** Various individuals on the Concept team have varying levels of education or credentials. Traditional education is not a requirement, but it tends to be the way most artists achieve their general toolbox of skills. That said, there is no specific academic credential needed to hold a position as a concept artist at Riot. What is important is learning the aforementioned skills to pay the inevitable bills. However you get that is up to you. Indeed, ala carte classes are really valuable, and extremely appealing given that most studios don't require education credentials. CDA, Red Engine, Schoolism, etc are all totally viable. I'd go as far as recommending CDA because I went there while I was freelancing. Very worth it. Same can be said for artists teaching their craft on Patreon or Gumroad. Those are amazing resources for aspiring artists and they incentivize artists to teach. Live figure drawing at any college/workshop that offers should also be on the list of resources. A mix of in-person education, online tutorials, art communities and a host of other non-traditional education methods are at your finger tips. Definitely dig into those. **Some info on "soft skills"..** Meet people, create relationships and generally be cool. There's a host of game development communities. Talk to people. Get to know others in different disciplines. Never be shy about asking questions or turning down an opportunity to make a friend. It might sound a little cynical, but relationships foster new careers. If you're a known quantity to someone, there's a higher likelihood of getting hired somewhere. I think as long as you are developing personal relationships with people you're doing something right. You want to make sure you're comfortable with people and want to engage personally. I believe relationships, friends, and eventual colleagues are invaluable. At the end of the day you are going to meet these people around town, look at their work, and eventually possibly work with them. It's important to be regarded as someone who is positive and engaging. I very much like interacting with people so I feel that helps me. Some people have gotten in "easier" or maybe in a way more "traditional", but I think everyone's story is unique and inspiring regardless. Everyone who enteres into the field is tremendously talented. Where they end up is a testament to how hard they've worked and how intently they've kept focus on thier dream. I would very much encourage artists to meet as many people as possible. Attend workshops and events. Draw with friends and generally get to know people to learn from them and to seek friendship. It's discouraging to work for the dream in isolation. Knowing people involved in the industry is great for learning but it's wonderful for genuine connections. People like to help friends and they like to help out people with potential, artistically and personally. Hopefully that helps and makes sense. Sorry if there were some incongruities in there. Sorta kinda using a template here.
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Hey Ironstylus! Duo? I can initiate poorly and miss all my Q's on Vi again! No but really, here's my questions: Oftentimes when people in the community see something art-wise they might immediately develop an impression from that which might be mistaken or which doesn't reflect the amount of work put into it. What are the things that you wish the community understood better about the art process at Riot (or any subsequent fixes to art based on community feedback) that would allow them to gain better insight into what you and the people you work with do when it comes to creating a look and feel for champions? Conversely, what kind of challenges or common scenarios do you encounter in the studio working in your area when communicating with other teams or areas? And lastly, what sort of goals do you have moving forward as far as A)updating older art and B)presenting a more consistent and unified theme for art that you or your team are responsible for? Can you share some of your ideas about how the art in League can or should evolve in the future? Thanks for doing this.
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Oh man! Good question! The biggest thing I'd like people to dig into and have context on is just how thorough and hand-crafted our process is. We work extensively on every asset and it's a large chunk of material, speaking from the art side. The tools we use and the methods we utilize might not be the most fast, but they are comprehensive as heck. A lot of specific craft expertise goes into everything from concept, 3D modelling/texturing, animation, VFX, sound, etc. These phases of production are deep and filled with nuances and challenges. Valuable feedback comes in many forms, but the BEST feedback has 1) all the context in mind around why we did what we did 2) well written out, concise and polite feedback, even if it's critical 3) has a solution, or an idea of how we can remedy or improve. "I don't like it!" is very difficult feedback to parse. Not everyone will like everything. That's just a given. But if we can find who doesn't like what for whatever reason when they have all the context and processes in mind. It's kind of a weird "give some trust to the craftsman" sorta mentality but it has to be REALLY WELL BALANCED with "Players have valid, informed and passionate feedback which we should hold ourselves accountable for". It can be a delicate balance, but I believe the back-and-forth can be there. Challenges we face often just come down to miscommunication or misalignment. A team might be doing something that looks totally crazy to another team, or individual. Often that just means a) the team doing the thing needs to be transparent and provide context and b) the disagreeing party should probably seek to understand the specific context and motivation. Either way great discussions can be had. Our teams goals distinct, cohesive and well-executed champion updates which resonate with people who are passionate about those characters but also to help those character occupy space where they can be more appealing. To make a champion appealing to everyone is impossible, and shouldn't be the goal. However, delighting the audience of that champion and making visible to players who are new to that champion the appeal, that's a worthy goal I feel. Art cohesion is great of course, when we're talking about character that "look bad", but for me the most value is in the larger more comprehensive projects. Those that dig deep and go beyond just a nice new model. I like us to focus on bringing theme and narrative heavily into the process and building a character that can better fill the IP space which is so ripe for further development.
Darlantan12 (EUNE)
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Do you still think of Cho VU? {{champion:31}} If so, do you have any plans?
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We have concepts but he's currently not in active development.
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Hey Ironstylus. Leona is my second favorite champion and by far my go-to for support laning. Without her, I can honestly say my experience playing league starting back in mid season 2, and up to now, would be completely and utterly different. So what I want to know is, what do you think would be the future for Leona? How do you see her evolving in LOL as time goes on and where do you think she will end up? How do you imagine her lore expanding in the future? Please do not give anything away yet if it has changed in any way! Simply share your thoughts on how you see her standing in the world of Runeterra and where you imagine her to be in the future. Do you think she will get any cool new skins in the future? Again don't spoil anything, a simple yes or now will do. Something like a "Super Nova" skin would be excellent for her. Where her abilities would look super charged, and she would have some cool golden armor. Okay enough about skins lol. I don't want to be the guy who pesters Riot all day about skins. I guess the last thing I have to say really is this. If you really did base Leona's looks off of your wife, well then you are one lucky man.
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I'm a big fan of Leona in many ways. I do however see the need for her to develop more depth if we move forward with showcasing more depth in our storytelling. Right now she is indeed a bit generic. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing! It just means that as we evolve, I'd like to find what nuances she has rather than just "PRAISE THE SUN!". I really see her as being a cornerstone as to whatever we do with Targon. I think her and Diana are really compelling characters to use as the flagship protagonists of that region. I think they'll play a pinnacle role in whatever we develop from here on out. I'd also love to see Targon really built up to a region which has major significance. Right now it's a really ambiguous area but it has TONS of room for expansion and to create a unique world space. I'm optimistic on Leona's future in the general scheme of things IP related. I think she has a lot of potential to be a cornerstone character who appeals to a lot of people :)
How do you normally go about designing a champion's visuals? Are most visuals based on the personality of the champion, the kit idea, or something else?
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With ChampUP we develop around core pillars of the character. We also define what this character MUST be, what it COULD be, and what it absolutely CANNOT be. That's a bit unique to our process, but it gives us a great jumping off point to develop all aspects of the character. Art, narrative and design.
Destínum (EUW)
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Hello IronStylus! Long time fan of yours, and I have a few things I'd love to hear your opinions/thoughts about: 1. Mount Targon. Because of your fondness for Leona and Diana, I assume as far as lore locations goes, this one would be the closest to your heart. However, as it's pretty under defined, what do you personally think of when you hear "Mount Targon" and what direction do you feel it should take when it comes to themes? Mythology? Religion? Strength? Something else? Do you think there are any other already existing champions that could be tied to the area, like Alistar, Malphite or even Janna? 2. With such a diverse cast of characters like League has, do you think it is important for HBTQ people to be represented, as there is already a fair amount of straight/CIS representation, or do you simply feel like league should try to stay out of political messages and simply do classic fantasy things? If you think such a representation is of importance, how would Riot or you personally try to approach making a, for example, openly gay character without it seeming like you're only making the character that way to represent the gay community? 3. How important do you think it is for a character to be identifiable as either male or female? What is your opinion on a character that is completely gender neutral (and not technically gender neutral but identifiable as a gender like Bard) or is an equal amount of male/female and impossible to identify as one or the other alone? Is a character like this something that would work in LoL, or would it complicate things for little payoff? You don't have to answer all the questions if you don't want to, but thank you for spending your time talking to us players!
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1) I love what Targon could potentially be. I love that right now it pretty much stands as our most mythic and potentially powerful locations. Maybe a place where the celestial intersects with the physical. I could see that being an awesome direction to explore. How to humans interact with what's "above", and what are the motivations there. I think it's extremely rich in possibilities in terms of character growth and also a really epic story arch. I think really tying in the celestial magic/bodies/whatever to earthly doings is fascinating. Maybe Targon as place that is worthy or pilgrimage, or of such legend that people cross treacherous obstacles to be touches. I dunno, those are all just ideas. But a lot of those possible stories/themes touch on fundamental what we are as humans. Howe we relate to the "divine", what does that interaction look like, what part does it play in the development as individuals and the meta which it creates with our world and beyond. I'm really psyched to see our Foundations team take it on as a project. 2) I think equal representation is necessary, but I also feel that said representation happens as a byproduct of good character design. If it makes sense for a character to have a particular gender, sexual orientation, anything of that significance, it will happen because it strengthens and adds depth to them. I like when games and media make strides towards representation and showing the breadth that is the gamut of humanity. I want that to come from a place of heartfelt character development, good storytelling and rich worlds rather than aiming directly at stereotypes or zeroing in too much on a specific agenda. 3) I think it's case by case. I think if you're making a male character.. well.. you're making a male character. Again, it comes from whatever is best for that character. I think it's a good idea to play in the spaces of archetypes, roles and tropes though. Quinn was initially supposed to be male. Welp, turned out differently because we played in the space a bit! As long as we develop what makes a good character first, I think representation or the need to specifically target certain identities will fall in line. **(PERSONAL SPEAKING TIME, NOT OFFICIAL RIOT POLICY)** I, in particular, want to do communities justice and be respectful. I personally don't find the term "social justice" to be a bad term. I am admittedly a progressive who disdains homophobia, racism and gender inequality. Period. I don't find it acceptable to actively discriminate. I want for groups of people to have heroes, heroines, power fantasies, bedrock characters who appeal to them and accurately make manifest their hopes, dreams and aspirations. I've been on the opposite end of bullying during my youth, a disregard for my feelings and an undermining of my confidence. I hope and strive for a world where these feelings are not suffered by people in such an extent as the worst of times. I think the goals of equality, acceptance, kindness, empathy and tolerance are not shallow nor unimportant goals. Nor do I think they're unachievable or somehow pandering. They are also, in my mind, goals worthy of rallying to as an individual, an industry and a culture. We in the gaming community have so much power to sway cultural norms and buck convention. We are products of a time of immense human connection, which can either serve to deliver judgement upon other people or find common ground which is our most valuable asset. We're on the edge of change and redefining what "tradition" means. My personal hope is that we make new traditions, new identities, new havens and be able to share them universally.
TonyRk (EUW)
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When (re)designing a champion, how much can you influence the lore _around_ that champion; his/her/it's enviroment? Is the lore of valoran carved in stone by the narrative designers or can you sugest to change it in order to make the desing work?
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We work a lot with Narrative and Foundations to find unique places for our characters to occupy. But also we do it to work collectively to create an environment and world that has cohesion.
Aerelia (EUW)
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Sorry for my bad english at first. I love your work, but it's possible that you may show us more concept arts? We can see Leona, Talon, Diana, Skarner, etc... In internet, but... I want see all *_* You think that it's possible make a skin of Talon Batman? >_< I love Batman and I love Talon!
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Here ya go! http://riotironstylus.imgur.com/ Not sure sure about the batman thing ;)
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If you could make one new skin set, what would it be and why?
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Oh god.. More Pool Party and more Project! *fingers crossed*
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Hmmm.. probably the Pizza/Fast Food line :D
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I've always wondered what it took to be a concept artist for Riot Games. Care to share some advice about what's needed?
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Check out one of the above mega-posts about art, but generally! - Good fundamentals in drawing. painting, etc. All around strong skill set. Gotta have the skillz to pay the billz. - Degrees aren't necessary, but it's imperative that you learn and continue to learn. - Make art, all the time. Sketchbooks, speed painting, everything. Art every day. - Make connections all around you. Talk to people, make friends. You never know who will help you along your way or provide opportunity. - Practice soft skills. Taking feedback, giving feedback, working with people, managing time. - Know your craft and adjacent disciplines. Know workflow, pipelines, etc. - Generally be a nice person!
Masalar (NA)
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Hey, you don't know me, but I'm that guy who asked if there was a way to get you a cookie after GD went...crazy...towards you. Glad to see you're doing well and hope you have a good time chatting here!
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Thanks! Doing quite well now :)
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What have you been up to recently, IronStylus? You were a regular fixture on the boards months ago but you've mostly been nowhere to be seen more recently, which I imagine mean you've been super busy! So... What's up with you?
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Welp. A combination of personal life matters, some burnout issues, and general business. Some of that comes down to my day-to-day tasks, but also the fact that I'm trying to learn a lot of new things. Doing a lot of 3D modelling and learning the pipelines/processes of my co-workers and fellow craftsmen. Generally it's been a busy year, with some upheaval and change. Things however are smoothing out and settling down. Time to get back into it :)
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Glad to have you back, and with things settling down, then. :)
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Thanks!
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Muffins or Cupcakes? The world must know!
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Oh man.. muffins for breakfast and cupcakes for dessert!
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Hey Stylus! Told you I'd bombard you with questions, but one at a time... or maybe two. :] First off I'd like to know what got you into drawing and what made you become a concept artist. Just curious. c: I'd also like to know what your day looks like at work, what do you do there regularly, what's the process behind concepting a skin or champion and how many are involved in the actual concept? I wanna become a concept artist after all and the more information i can get beforehand, the better! I would also like to get some advice from you if possible. I got in contact with Sunnykoda/Kindlejack (awesome guy! Say hi from me =) ) who gave me some advice on some of my pieces. (Less airbrush style, experiment with brushes, simplfification of complex parts and much more, I'm unimaginably grateful for that) This is my current result, still WIP of course, but I'd like to know what I can do better and what did I do good so far. Critiqe is extremely important to me, as there is no one in my environment who can give any productive statements. :( I still think it's going along nicely though. My very first try at painting metal. :] Have no mercy! >:O
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Above I made a big mega-post so you might check that. However.. I'd been drawing since I was a child, and I guess the things that moved me in that direction first was support of my parents, being encouraged to do what I wanted to do, and have access to tools that just let me go wild. Eventually, I became a concept artist after a time when I didn't even know what one was. I wanted to make stuff for movies at one point, and I did so for a while. As time went on though I found myself doing less making-stuff and more designing-stuff. That put me squarely in the concept art discipline.. Day-to-day for me mainly comes down to whatever art tasks I'm working on (a character design or a 3D model) as well as attending meetings for my team. Discussing characters, seeing progress other disciplines are making, planning, etc. We have a lot of freedom, so there's plenty of time for fun and silliness in the between time :) I think you need to have a very solid understanding of form, value and perspective before moving to color. Color should be the last thing on your mind. Get that design solid, understandable and locked down in drawing and maybe grey scale before moving on. There's a lot of contrasting color which is confusing the focal point. Everything is rendered to equal prominence. Try dialing back, to the drawing and grey scale to sort out visual hierarchy first. Good progress though!
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Hello Iron. I've got a few questions to contribute if you don't mind and have the time. 1. How difficult is it designing the new Taric? 2. What type of characters and/or references that are already out there are you using to help inspire you for Taric's design? I'm sure there's a few out there that essentially give you the feeling of what he should be similar to in the end. 3. Is Riot's current plan to release Taric alongside the live action movie release of 'Gem and the Holograms' in theaters this fall similar to how they released the Prehistoric skins alongside the release of Jurassic World? I'm really interested in the progress of Taric because he's my favorite champion and with your hand in it I know we're in good hands because I respect and enjoy your art/style.
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1) It was difficult in the past just because how open Taric is to interpretation and how many divergent opinions there were. However, now that the team is more heavily aligned we have a clearer, less muddy, idea of how to go forward. 2) We look at characters who are generally beautiful, good and kind. There are some specific examples but they've sort of fallen by the wayside as we develop Taric as his own individual. We've now got more internal vibes versus external inspiration, which I think is a good thing. It means we're pushing into some territory that might really be unique. 3) No plans on that, I'm afraid :P
333lom (EUNE)
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Hello IronStylus! I always wanted to ask about the direction in which female champions are developing in League - when I started playing League, I, of course, browsed first through the champion pool. Leona caught my eye as a female knight, and I was amazed by the fact that such a character exists in an online game. I know there will be plenty more female champions whose primary trump card will be how attractive they are, in the conventional way. But what about intellect and brains? A lady, for whom you first spot how smart she is, rather than how pretty she is? What do you think about female characters whose primary fantasy would traditionally be called male, like miners, mechanics, scientists, etc. Is there hope one day for such iterations to appear in League? It looks like to me that there is a lot of room for that kind of champions, and I would be very happy if that were true!
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I'm 100% for diverging from what might be considered as conventionally male roles or tropes when it comes to designing female characters. We tried at one point to design a female mechanic, but it got a lot of wires crossed and turned into Braum. That said, we have a ton of opportunity space to play in and bring that trope back, or any sort of adjacent theme.
Hi IronStylus you mentioned awhile back something about a Quinn texture update being in the works, but another rioter posted and didn't seem to know anything about such a thing, so could you update us if or if not it's gonna happen? As I'd like to know where I should keep my expectation. Also I've suffered anxiety and depression in the past, well still anxiety sometimes, but not depression anymore since I finally started dealing with the root cause of it. But I want to ask have you tried any form of yoga, and/or mediation to help deal with it? As personally speaking I found they've helped me a fair bit.
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Right now it's not a huge priority since we hit more of the heavy offenders. Still totally possible, I just don't know when. 100% with meditation. I highly recommend it. I use Headspace, the app, for daily meditation. It really has helped to ground me but also pull me away from being in the fog of overwhelming emotion. Being able to distance from feeling so intensely about often irrational thoughts has been one of the benefits of meditation. It's not only calming but helps sort your mental state. I've found it integral!
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Hi Parrot Lord! First of all I wanted to tell you I really love the work you've done in the past with updates, especially Sivir, who now has a lot more personality, I think. It was a shame losing you from champion design to champion update, but you've done a really great job in the past! I also wanted to thank you for all the conversation you've had on the forums about your design process and what the community thinks champions' core themes are, like you did for Taric. You should do more of those! It's nice to get a look into the ideas behind the design end of things. On a more personal note, thanks also for your posts about handling depression. It's nice to see successful professionals talking openly about their experiences with it. It can be hard describing something that exists in your head and won't go away no matter what you do, and especially seeing it as a real problem that deserves help, so it's reassuring to see other people talking about it. Sorry for being such a suckup, I just think you're cool and wanted you to know. In terms of an actual question so I'm not wasting everyone's time, I remember a while back you said you wished you could do a Quinn update. If you had the time and resources to work on her, what sort of changes do you think you would make?
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Funny, just answered another question about depression and Quinn :) In terms of Quinn, I'd probably really re-explore why she has to be an ADC. I'm not sure we fully explored the melee version with enough rigor or time. I'd love to break her back down, find that core fundamental and build upon that. I'm really glad you've found the discussions about depression and anxiety helpful. As I've said, mental health advocacy is a huge passion for me. I want people to very much know that they're never alone. I know how hard it is to describe the intangible, that's why I think it's imperative that those of us who have gone through it be open about it, so that we know that we share something special, that it doesn't need to be explained to someone who knows the experience. Individuals who have suffered or do suffer with depression have the world open to them as much as anyone else. It's a slog, but we can live with it. We can live full and meaningful lives with our challenges and leverage them to help us in may ways! This is a great TED talk I saw on the subject recently: http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share?language=en
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I heard you were in the middle of the Poppy VU and rework? How close is the end date?
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Not close at the moment. We're currently in the modelling phase. Animation and a lot of other stuff to follow. I think her kit is in a good place however.
IronStylus, do you remember that you promised me something long time ago? ;( http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/fancreations/PYLg8F2c-ironstylus-you-promised-me-something-and-never-delivered
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Oye. I'm the worst :|
GibIets (NA)
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First of all, Thank you for doing this Q&A and answering all the communities questions and being so thorough with the responses. I am an avid Cho'Gath lover/player and love both his AP assassin style and his huge annoying tank play styles. One thing that I hope you guys remember when you eventually relaunch him is that you are able to keep both play styles alive by making the AP Cho squishy and the tank Cho, well, tanky and for his visual to embody that. I remember a while ago you wanted for Cho to be a "Void Kaiju" which makes me believe that you think of Cho as a tank rather than a AP assassin. So all in all, please keep in mind Cho has 2 very different play styles and I think I speak for all Cho'Gath players that he should keep both modes and visually represent the choice.
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I'm afraid I don't really have any expertise in the gameplay area.
Solash (EUW)
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When Leona eventually gets another skin, what would the ideal skin idea/concept for her be for you?
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Hmm.. something sci-fi would be my preference.
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From a visual standpoint, which is your least-favorite champion in terms of design?
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Oh man, there's a few. Saying "least favorite design" is kind of a reflection on the artist who designed them, so that's not really what I'd focus on. I think it's more about understanding the motivation at the time of the original design and seeing how it jives with what we need now. But I'd like to take a crack at, in terms of straight up artistic design, would be Cait, Irelia, Eve and Le Blanc I feel.
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> [{quoted}](name=IronStylus,realm=NA,application-id=cIfEodbz,discussion-id=sftAEOEo,comment-id=003a0000,timestamp=2015-06-17T22:13:16.600+0000) > > Oh man, there's a few. Saying "least favorite design" is kind of a reflection on the artist who designed them, so that's not really what I'd focus on. I think it's more about understanding the motivation at the time of the original design and seeing how it jives with what we need now. But I'd like to take a crack at, in terms of straight up artistic design, would be Cait, Irelia, Eve and Le Blanc I feel. If it's not too presumptuous to ask, what don't you like about them? I do kind of agree with a lot of your opinions, though :) Caitlyn: Her "steampunk" design feels really dated compared to other Piltover champions, even Vi looks more high-tech than her. Wasn't Cait one of the earliest Pilty? Eve: It seems you guys intended for her to be more of a succubus, but she looks like a weird dominatrix to me. Irelia: Her armor just looks... weird. Also her "whacks you with a surfboard made of blades" style is kinda not what you'd expect from a telekinetic warrior.
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All of what you've said are very much in line with my thinking.
Łunatic (EUW)
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Hey IronStylus! I've got two questions to you: 1. Did your parrot Kiwi ever inspired you to do something in your arts? If not, will we see more parrots in the game one day? 2. Have you ever considered to do some artwork with MS Paint? It's basically the best program for superior art of all kind and displays the inside of your soul the most through every single pixel. I could tell you some more advantages of this glorious program but I want you to find out for yourself. Let the MS Paint joy flow inside you. I hope one of your next works will be made with MS Paint, I'm sure the League community will love it!
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1) Hah, well parrots in general inspired Iron Solari Leona. Not sure about future parrot expression :P 2) I once dabbled in Paint but it's sheer utility overwhelmed me.
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On topic: What upcoming skin/champ/rework are you must looking forward to? Off topic: What is your favorite food?
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On topic: VERY much looking forward to Taric and Poppy. Off topic: Toss up between chicken Parmesan and hamburgers.
NVDax (NA)
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Ironstylus, any insights into the direction you're taking Gangplank as far as pirates go? Will we not be seeing him this patch, or the next? Is it still to early to discuss? Is there ANYTHING you can share?
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Not much I can share, but I think the big challenge with him is how to not make him so very pirate-mcpiratey. I'd love to find something that makes him uniquely League.
Bentley (EUNE)
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A question about the Zac chromas: Is it possible to change the orange to something that looks less like yellow? Right now the Orange and Yellow chroma look way too similar, and it would be cooler with, say a red or even a dark blue.
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I'll follow up and ask, not sure how easy that'd be though.
Krosan (NA)
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How's Kiwi?
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She's full of sass!
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How is the Yordle Unification Pass going? :) I mean, we know that Poppy is in the works, but are there more yordles in the pipeline currently? You did mention, last year, that while you were working on a female yordle (who I assume was Trist) and a male yordle. What happened to the male yordle? I mean, you don't have to dive into details if you really can't, but I'm just wondering. Also, what's up with Targon? Have you ever tried more Targonian champion concept over the years that didn't make it through? Care to elaborate on some if there are? :) Edit: Also, what do you think about Lulu, in terms of how she fits with the modern yordles lineup?
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The yordle unification goes case by case. Tristana and Heimer are our flagship female and male right now, so we basically line up any new designs as we make them to confirm unification rather than work from a style guide. I worked on Poppy. Not sure which male yordle I was referring too.. I'd love to make a new Targon champion! No idea if/when that'll happen, but I can think of some characters we can fit into the realm of Targon. I had tried to make a Targonian mage but it just sorta felt flat and I abandoned it. Just wasn't unique. I'd probably go back and visit her just a bit. Or assign her to my partner in crime Lonewingy who does yordles much better than I do :P
IronStylus! I can't tell you how long I've waited to be able to ask you a bunch of questions! First of all, I want to start of telling you that you're my idol- ever since I found out who you were I fell in love with your work and aspired to work my way into a position like yours! I'm an amateur concept artist that just-so-happens to love armored ladies like you do, so when I found out that you NOT ONLY worked in my dream job, but were also responsible for the design of my some of my favorite characters - Diana, Leona, and Quinn - I immediately became your biggest fan. So I have a couple (actually a lot) of questions for you! 1. Where did you start out in the industry and how did you manage to become Senior concept artist? I'd like to know where my best chances are! 2. What is your degree in, if you have one? I'm struggling with choosing a major (I'll be a college freshman next year, so I have a while) because there are so many different paths to take. 3. Do you prefer to work digitally or traditionally? Which do you find is better when designing characters? 4. What method do you use for coming up with characters? Do you usually start with an aesthetic, a story, an idea, or do you usually just wing it? 5. I often notice that my designs look very similar, how do you manage to not make any of your concepts extremely similar and set them apart from the rest? 6. Do you use any references while designing your characters? I find myself needing inspiration while creating characters so I turn to references to get ideas, but then I lose interest in those characters... 7. (Personal question, I understand if you don't want to answer) Do you ever find your anxiety and depression getting in the way of your work? If so, what do you do to overcome that? I have anxiety as well and often I find myself doubting my works and ability, but I haven't found a way of dealing with it yet. 8. My college allows me to intern in California for the last two years (as a work-study program), how difficult would it be for me to get an internship at Riot? And would I be able to intern in the concept art department or would I be put into a smaller job? 9. If I WERE able to intern at Riot, would I get to meet you, my biggest hero? 10. (FINAL QUESTION) What would a good portfolio look like to land a job at Riot? Would they look for MORE content, or QUALITY content? And do they require content in the department you wish to work for, or general content that is applicable to League of Legends (animation, 3D models, writing, etc etc)? I appreciate any effort you make, and I hope some time I get to meet you, it would be an honor!
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Oh my, ok well check out the post on here for some general stuff: http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/miscellaneous/sftAEOEo-between-two-turrets-chat-with-ironstylus?show=rundown&comment=00100000 I'll try to burn through these questions: 1) I came from collage at Pratt then went to Art Center. Then met a guy who knew a guy who was making independent movies. After that I just made more friendships which eventually lead me to meet a recruiter from Riot. The rest is history. TL;DR, make friends! 2) I have a Bachelors in Fine Art. Degrees aren't necessary. Only that you keep learning and get a solid grasp of your fundamentals and build from there. Pick SPECIFICALLY what you want to do now. Character concept art? Cool. Go as deep as you can for now, broaden later. 3) Initial designs are often just pencil sketches, or marker sketches. However I do some early iteration digitally as well. Though I find it easier to find nice shapes in traditional. Later I do all my fleshing out and rendering digitally. 4) Depends. If I have a story it's easy. Otherwise I'm just looking for compelling shapes, forms, and finding design in the noise. When I specifically design League characters I want to know a solid narrative/story/theme and the fundamental gameplay hooks and mechanics. 5) I have the same issue. Try an exercise where you do nothing but thumbnailing shapes and look for form/design/pattern in the noise you create. Use a less controllable medium like marker and work SMALL. Find shapes first, then tighten. Only spend a few seconds. Iterate rapidly. 6) I do when I'm attempting to hit a particular character trope or design. If I'm designing Taric I'm going to look at paladins, etc. Often though I do the thing where I find shapes first, then reference motifs and specific designs when I have shapes and forms I'm cool with. 7) I feel the same way. It takes work but you can break through that wall. Often I'll meditate and pull away from my emotions. That helps. Sometimes I utilize my medication, other times I do the free-form exercises I mentioned. The key is to loosen, however you choose to. 8) I would recommend getting your craft nailed down before interning. If you're a freshman I don't think you qualify for the art intern stuff just yet, and that's ok. Really focus on deepening your craft. Get confident. There will always be opportunities out there. 9) Hah, yes, I'm always around :) 10) For character concept, I'd rather see a FILLED sketchbook or two with ideas and well executed drawings than 5 really super high rendered pieces. You need your fundamentals either way, but for concept I want to know your ideas and how you execute on them. From ideation to finished render. It's about quality and quantity in the right balance. Standard thing I look for is for a single character: 1-2 pages of ideation/sketches/thumbnails -> 3 tighter pass drawings combining elements -> 1 well executed drawing or greyscale pass -> Final render with front, back, and detail callouts. Lots of great examples of people's portfolios on such places as Art Station and other sites. Thanks for the questions!
Fairly Innocent question, will there be a diana skin coming out soon? _please say yes please say yes_
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Not any time soon as far as I know. But I'm sure I'll be a complete bother to the skins team whenever they start working on one :P
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Mr. Parrot, I'm not sure whether or not you're the right person that can give me an answer, but during one of the splash redesigns, Ahri's went through two attempts, and both were particularly (and remain to be) disliked by many of us - especially when extremely limited feedback seemed to go through. My question is about Knockwurst's fan art splash that he mentioned sending in to Riot just for the heck of it. Since a revert to Ahri's old splash is apparently out of the question, is there any chance something will be done with this? http://knockwurst.deviantart.com/art/AHRI-League-of-Legends-Fan-Splash-517882502
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That's all unofficial art so we wouldn't use it in any capacity officially. Kienan (Knockwurst) does however work as one of my outsourcers on ChampUp, so his work on League goes on.
Hey Iron , Why so many skins for champions that already have a lot of them? Ya know , Xin ,Rengar , twitch , ect , I'm starting to lose hope in new skins now a days , because every time I look at PBE , all I see is new skins for champs that already have a lot of them , for example , Yasuo could have sooooo many good skins , I think with all Kha'zix's evolutions something awesome could be made with a bit of time (Wasnt as hyped with guardian of the sands , but it looked ok , or maybe even a new urgot skin if you could pull it off (Pls , for the love of God , no more Crabgod ;-;) , I just think riot could do such a better job with this , and just wanted to know if there was a specific reason why it is happening , thanks ! :D
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Some champions, like Urgot, Poppy or Taric are on hold until ChampUP can touch them, so thats part of the reason. But some champions you'e mentioned are really resource heavy. New animations and VFX in particular. There's always skins in development, but production is what consumes a fair amount of the time. It's not about the idea, it's about the bandwidth of the team to actually make it.
WarWork (NA)
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How do you feel about Quinn's state, that she isn't considered and adc by most high ranked players. She was my first love as an adc so i really like her. If you were incharge of rito for a day what would you do with Quinn
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Not a gameplay expert, but I'd like to revisit her core themes.
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How'd ya think of ur awesome name?
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Oh, a mix of the tools I use and my love of propaganda :P
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Hey there, IronStylus! Are there any visual- or gameplay-related updates planned for Quinn? Also, thanks for such a cool Champion.
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Nothing currently on the docket. She'd be way behind champions that need much more urgent overhauls.
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Hey! My question is a bit specific, about your concept art for Pool Party Leona. In the drawing, she has a Lunari badge kind-of tattoo on her back, is there any story behind it? Or is it just some joke on Diana?
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Just sort of a fun idea that the moon is always over the sun's shoulder, following it along it's path ;)
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Look, I'll not bring up any questions about Riot not wanting to work on sexy female skins anymore - seeing the issue with the Pool Party skins and there being no female human in a swimsuit. But I do want to ask an important question: Can we see what Quinn looks like without her helmet on. A simple drawing would be nice. Please, I'm begging you.
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I think I have a drawing of it somewhere.. if not I'll do a quicky sketch sometime and post it to twitter.
XpsYZ (EUW)
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I'm totaly in love with your older Quinn concepts and she's actually kind of my main champion right now. Is this lady on the list for a rework? And why is she lacking a parrot-skin? D:
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Heh, parrots aren't as universally appealing as I'd prefer them to be, plus I'll leave that to the Skins team's discretion ;) Also, nothing in terms of reworks/updates for her at the moment.
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Will there be any other champs from Targon? We only got 3 (Leona, Panth, and Diana.) Other places have a broad selection of champs to choose from but Targon is very few.
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Just a personal opinion, but I think inevitably there will be. Probably just a matter of time. I can't speak for the Champion team as to whether they have something in the works or not, but here's hoping someday :D
I just want to be sure about one thing. Quinn's hair is purple right? Is it natural or does she dye it? {{champion:133}}
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I think something really dark that for some reason gets purple in its highlights. I'unno. Runeterra has strange natural hair colors! :D
What's it like being a concept artist for riot? or just being a rioter in general? I love your work and that of many other artists at riot and other places, and have decided to try becoming a concept artist myself! not to mention riot games just seems very welcoming, and looking at the career page the application doesn't seem too scary either. so what's it like? any tips for someone looking to apply as a concept artist someday?
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Primarily focus on your craft. Pick a thing you love, like character concept art, and get to know it back and forth. You want to be an expert craftsman in that regard. Know all the ins and outs. Also, learn to work with others, generate creative ideas, take feedback, help teach. All of that is important to grow. Being a concept artist at Riot and a Rioter in general is really fantastic. Mainlybecause it gives a lot of us what we crave most; creative freedom. Not necessarily to do anything we want, but we can gravitate to what we're passionate about, work with like-minded people and strive to produce something really special. Just the act of creating in a positive atmosphere is of incalculable value.
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We were asked some time ago about Diana and what direction she should go in/changes to her kit. Has there been any progress made on changing Diana?
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There's some design team members working with us who are looking at broad strokes across various characters who fit into certain roles. I don't believe she's currently under the lens, but I'm guessing she'll come up as they take a closer look at fighters.
Hey IronStylus, Thanks for doing this Q&A sort of deal. I wanted to ask about Mt. Targon. I've read your responses in the forums (here and elsewhere) that you do want to expand and explore this region to make it prominent just like the others. Leona has been mentioned, as well as Diana. I would like to know, will Pantheon be included in the whole scheme of things when Mt. Targon goes through changes? (Also, some people I know think you don't care about Panth, but I don't believe it.) He's one of my favorite junglers and just has a great feeling about him as a character, not to mention I'd love to know more about his background with Leona. Thanks! Edit: Grammar problems.
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I think inevitably he'll have to factor in. Regardless of how our narrative path evolves, he's a pretty good staple for that region and someone who has a lot of possibilities. There's a bedrock that can make for a great character, one who can tie into more heavily with the more cemented Targonians like Diana and Leona.
Lüc (NA)
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What archetypes would you like to explore further in terms of character design? What are ideas or thoughts you have on introducing less battle hardened/ready champion designs like a dancer, playwright, or musician (bards or "Bards")? This is somewhat gameplay design-y, I find the support role to be the most diverse in terms of character design(Braum, Leona, Nami, Sona, Bard, Thresh, etc.), with the above question, do you feel the other roles/positions need more archetypes that read less "warrior" or would that interfere too much would gameplay readability? i.e. does LoL have room for champions that may look like they might be "support" but play like a mage or fighter?
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Archetypes are pretty broad, I guess I dabble a little more in tropes. I like anything that challenges the convention of an existing type of character in media historically. So, in a very simple sense, if I want to look at a paladin, I want to look into a female paladin (ala Leona). That's a real skimmed down example, but I like to look at things with historical male power fantasies attached to them and see what the opposite gender equivalent is. There are so many tropes which have been traditionally been occupied by male characters where I'd like to see female counterparts explored. That's honestly just the tip of the iceberg however when it comes to playing with tropes or archetypes.
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IronStylus, were you an Art Major in college? Also, are you enjoying your job? I'm really passionate about drawing, and I hope to create concept art as well one day, but I'm worried that I'll end up as another "starving artist".{{champion:32}} I want to be able to live comfortably, but I also want to enjoy the work I have to do for the rest of my young life. I'm going to college in the Fall, but I've not decided on a major yet....Any thoughts?{{item:3091}}
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I was. I went to Pratt to get my bachelors in art. I then went on to Art Center to do entertainment design but ended up leaving school early. I do indeed enjoy my job ;) I'd suggest looking specifically into where you'd like to apply your art. If it's games then you're very much in luck. You can take a look at any of the amazing game artists out there and emulate or learn from them. Pick your passion and where you'd like to apply it. Learn it back and forth and learn how and where to apply it. Knowing the context in which your craft is used is just as important as the craft itself.
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Hey, Ironstylus- I just wanted to thank you for making so much epic work, and creating some of the best (imo) characters around. I've been around since preseason one, and have silently kept track of you on the boards- sounds creepy, when I put it like that- but mostly just cause I used to be afraid of social media- almost to the point of it becoming a phobia. Thanks for always being an awesome member of the riot community- I don't think it is said very much, but you are one of the most respected members of riot on the boards. (look at how many of us still call you the parrot) Personally, I spoke about you in a thread- [here](http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/memes/hJixEpQR-you-are-now-a-riot-employee?comment=0024) -and you responded to me (eight months ago!!). After maybe six months I actually went back to that thread, and found your reply, and it made my month.... It took awhile for me to realize you can see your comments, and when people reply to them.... I can't tell you how cool it was to have my favorite rioter respond to me. Personally, I hate how many women are portrayed in games with heels, and over-sexualized armor. It makes no sense to me, because that type of outfit would be nothing but trouble in a fight- look at any jmmo. Enter {{champion:89}} , and already I was really happy- that in this game there were women not overly-sexualized. It was why I mained Kayle during season one- I then fell out of league until I saw the new champion spotlight pop up in a feed. Diana, Scorn of the Moon- my favorite champion to date. I got back on the boards- and saw all the discussions about her- and loved them all. Honestly, the first thing I'd ever "fanboyed" about. So, after all that, I'd just like to ask you to maybe chat about {{champion:131}} a little. The League is retconned- so you can say anything about her, really, I'm curious as to whether she wants to rebuild her civilization, the lunari, or just eliminate the solari. And maybe, if you're feeling super awesome- you could tell me her opinion of Leona. I'd love to chat about a dusk-themed champ sometime, if you're still up for it. Shoot me a message anywhere- on league, through the boards, email- w/e, I can make a different thread or something. Apart from that- I just wanted to say thanks again, your champion got me back into a game where I found a friend group I never would've made. I also struggled through depression, still occasionally do- but thanks to friends that part of my life is mostly over. Stay Awesome!
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So glad I could make your month :D Also, I'm really glad that you've gotten through your tough challenges with depression. I know it well. I know the slog. In terms of specific story lines and narrative arcs, there's not much I can really specifically about Diana in particular. There's a lot going on with our Narrative and Foundations teams that's really exciting, but obviously not really ready to see the light of day yet. A lot of that work goes into creating internal alignment so teams like ChampUP can draw from that common pool of world-building and create cohesive characters. Personally speaking, I'm not sure what Diana's end game would be. That's exactly what's great about teams like the ones I've mentioned. They're in the trenches looking at long term stories and rich world building in order to make these characters not so subject to conjecture. Sure, when we were developing Diana we had some ideas as to where the story arch could go, but there wasn't really any way for us to keep telling the story. I think as our internal teams develop more content to create that canvas for us to paint on, we'll have better tools (as you've been seeing in teasers, comics, etc) to make those characters live on past release.
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