Woozworld 10: Artists' Interview

As you know, Woozworld turns 10 this year! To celebrate, we've been throwing you back to past events with Unitz, furniture and clothing. We also thought it would be fun if you learned more about some of our dedicated staffers, so we've decided to do a short interview series! That's right; we're interviewing Woozworld's best and brightest just for you.

Today, please enjoy your behind-the-scenes look at Woozworld's art team!

To keep their accounts private (not everyone wants the spotlight,) we have created some clever aliases for them. Without any further ado, let's introduce you to Mage, Mongoose, ChuckFinley, Algernon, Woozie, Slurmp and Terror-Dactyl!

What was your first Woozworld item that you drew?

Mage: It was the swimming shorts with beach-themed patterns from summer 2018.

Mongoose: The first item that I drew for Woozworld was the set of sunflowers for the Botanical Garden campaign in March of 2018.

ChuckFinley: My first asset was furniture. I had the simple task of designing and rendering a magical door. I kept failing so bad at it on my first day that I had to take it home with me and complete it over the weekend :P

Woozie: As far as I remember (my memory is spotty,) the first thing that I drew for Woozworld was some holiday pyjamas [from December 2018].

Algernon: My first item was a princess ball gown, waaaaay back when Woozworld was called Kid Studio and the early drawing style guide was very simple and cartoony. (I just looked at it again and kind of cringed.) It's been retired from the game, because it doesn't match with the style of rendering that we do now. The first furniture I did was the traditional pizza oven, and I think I did way more shading on it than my art director wanted. I still get carried away with details and shading. B)

Slurmp: First item I drew for Woozworld was a pair of [**spoiler alert!!!**] antennas for the Halloween MysteryGrabZ, and I have no trouble remembering that since that was last week! :D

Terror-Dactyl: Well, my first asset as far as I can remember, was the Cortoza variation ball gown, which was based on the Mystic Alley ball gown that Algernon did.

What was the most challenging item to create?

Mage: Hair (especially braids or messiness.) Another challenge is figuring out the techniques for new fabric types, like wool or fuzzy fabric or embroidery. Also, fiiguring out how new outfits, like Halloween costumes, can work with the game skeleton.

Mongoose: One of the more challenging outfits to create was the viking skeleton thing [AKA Vladiator] for Halloween 2018. It was a big project to take on alone. For day-to-day stuff, I dread doing anything with crochet or super involved textures. And STRIPES.

ChuckFinley: It's hard to say which was the hardest, but in terms of which asset kicked my butt recently, I would have to go with the Square Unitz for the Lib Street revamp. It's a monster of a Unitz with a lot happening and trying to design a place that's unique, has interesting details and that's well-balanced under a pretty tight deadline was pretty rough. Really fun, though, too!

Algernon: The Nationz revamps have been the most challenging, but also the most rewarding events to work on. I found it hardest to get started on the Lib Street Unitz, not because we had no ideas, but because we had too many! We did a lot of research, and when I sat down to start sketching the Avenue, it was difficult to decide how it was all going to fit together. We had a little less time than we did on Mystic Alley, so getting stuck on one sketch for a couple of days was super frustrating. It ended up being one of my favorite Unitz, though!

Terror-Dactyl: I think after years of working at Woozworld, one of my biggest challenges is finding new ways of drawing common items (like jeans, sweaters and certain types of hairs) differently. Working on different fabric textures is challenging for me, too. It's hard to give the impression of velvet, leather, satin, denim, etc. But with each challenge I've met, I've felt I've improved as an artist and that makes it very worthwhile.

What was your absolute favorite event to work on?

Mage: Halloween. I get to involve my personal interests in games and horror movies at work, which makes it more fun.

Mongoose: Probably the Chinese New Year stuff we did with the farming plots. I felt like it was something I could've gone on forever with.

ChuckFinley: The Mystic Alley revamp was my fave. Getting to do some fantasy-themed art, some world-building and having a direct influence of the art direction of this campaign will forever be at the top of my list. Also, it was an awesome opportunity to implement some new techniques for creating assets :)

Woozie: So far, the Mystic Alley Revamp. I love drawing fantasy stuff and getting more creative liberty with the outfits, especially with that skull mask [AKA Mystic Beast Mask] that I did!

Algernon: The Nationz revamps are really satisfying to work on. Over the course of ten years, the original style of the Nationz was getting further and further away from what we're currently designing in the rest of the game. Now, we can take these simple and cartoony unitz and give them all the loving detail they deserve. I love making insanely rendered furnitures and Unitz, and this project really let me cut loose and try a lot of new ways of doing that.

Terror-Dactyl: I love any event that gets us out of our ordinary :) So, it's difficult for me to choose. I love Halloween, Woozmas, anything fairytale-related, etc. I love them all!

What type of clothing or furniture do you hope to see more of?

Mage: I would say animated expressions… And pets! I'd like to see lots of weird and normal pets :) I think it would be super cute and interesting.

Mongoose: I hope to see more imaginative clothing (things based on fantasy, themes, anything outside the norm of everyday fashion). As far as furniture, I like the varied campaigns we do.

ChuckFinley: Animated assets were always fun to work on because it adds another level to the game experience and there's something very satisfying about seeing something you made come to life.

Woozie: Definitely more fantastical outfits; something other than what we see everyday. Having a chance to be really creative and get really excited to work on something is always fun!

Algernon: I want to bring back pets! I've got lots of ideas to improve on them. I love any chance I can get to do some animation. I especially had fun working on the elephant pet.

Slurmp: More fantasy and historical clothing!

Terror-Dactyl: I think I'm really excited about revamping [**spoiler alert!!**] Cortoza because of all the darker and edgier outfits we could draw, as well as furnitures and Unitz.

If some Woozens wanted to get into illustration, what advice would you give them?

Mage: Draw what you love and make it cooler... Enjoy the process and never give up! It's important to handle the small mistakes and fails at the beginning well because with time, you'll see fewer and fewer. Every time you make a drawing, make sure you learned something, even if it's small. Always learn perspective and anatomy… You can find information in books and videos, since plenty of artists share their tutorials and art process online.

Mongoose: Use references, watch videos of other people illustrating and avoid tracing. Also, try to make sure you have a job lined up before you venture out on your own.

ChuckFinley: Find yourself a group of like-minded people that love art (this can be in person or online.) They will keep you motivated and you will do the same for them. Learn as much as you can from taking courses or following tutorials online (we live in a perfect age for this.) Don't compare yourself to others, but look at the progress that you've made. Also learn the fundamentals of art. Learning composition, perspective, color theory, lighting and value will be a huge asset in getting you to be able to communicate what's in your head to the medium of your choice. Reference images are incredibly important! Your imagination is great, but it won't teach you what things really look like ;)

Woozie: Practice, practice, practice! And always use references. Ignore the people that say that using references is cheating, follow what you love most and you'll always be growing and thriving!

Algernon: Practice drawing from life. Be a really careful observer of everything you see around you. Be curious not just about how things look, but try to really figure out how they work and move. You can learn from studying other people's drawings, but cast your net of influences widely. Experiment in different styles and with different tools. Have fun drawing the things you love, but don't forget to challenge yourself. Draw things that are out of your comfort zone. If all you characters have their hands in their pockets or behind their backs, it's time to start learning to draw hands!

Slurmp: Learn the basics as early as you can! Anatomy, perspective, color theory... That way you don't get stuck with bad drawing habits. Feed your visual library with books, movies, museums, and be curious about everything. A bad drawing can be as useful as a good one in order to improve. Show your work to others and ask for feedback, and be open to criticism. But mostly, draw what makes you happy, and draw often!

Terror-Dactyl: I think taking time to draw from observation is really important. Practice a lot and keep an open mind to feedback. Don't be afraid of challenges and having to try again and again. But most importantly, have fun drawing :D

And there you have it, straight from our artists' mouths! It's clear that they put a lot of care into their work. We hope you learned something new from them!

Tune in again soon for another instalment of our interview series!

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