A Thai artist in living in America. One who shamelessly draws dapper men amongst other things. Inspired by Imperial Russia, The Old West, Norse Mythology, The Middle East, South Asia, 19th and 20th Century, Tolkien, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Marvel, Steampunk, Decopunk, Dieselpunk, Mucha, Leyendecker and much more.
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ARTIST FOCUS: RAMIDA (PLOY) ROJANAVIPAT
We are joined this week by Ramida Rojanavipat, a designer of characters and backgrounds for animation. Her recent re-envisioning of Valve’s Team Fortress 2 franchise has delighted fans and showcased her influence by J.C. Leyendecker’s art and her passion for late 19th and early 20th century history.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia.
How long have you been designing/illustrating? What got you interested in art?
I’ve always loved to draw since I could remember. My mother was also an artist so she had a lot of artbooks laying around the house for me to draw inspiration from. But what got me to consider pursuing art as a profession was when I was introduced to concept art for video games and animated feature films.
Who/what influences your art? Is there a particular person’s style that has influenced you?
Growing up in Asia, you can’t really avoid manga influencing your art. But going to art school in the US introduced a lot of western influences into my work and allowed me to expand my style. Right now, the biggest influence in my art is late 19th and early 20th century illustrators, particularly Alphonse Mucha, Charles Dana Gibson, and J.C. Leyendecker. My interest in the history of that time also plays a big role in my art.
How would you describe your style?
I see my style as a blend of manga and western styles. Though one influence may show in certain works over the other.
What medium do you typically use when creating art?
I mainly go digital (Photoshop) nowadays from start to finish. But I still use the good o’ pencil and paper every now and then.
What is your approach when creating new illustrations? Do you plan out the illustration ahead of time or do you just start drawing and let the experience guide you?
Usually I have an idea of what I want to draw in my head to start with, then delve into researching my subject on the web. Once I have all that done, I immediately jump into the illustration stage.
What is your day job?
I currently works as a designer of backgrounds and characters for animation.
Tell us about your current projects. What are you working on? Any upcoming art shows?
Well, I gotta get the Pyro done sometime. Other than that, I’m working on personal artwork with some fanart here and there as relaxation after work.
How did you come up with the idea to give the Team Fortress 2 characters a 1920s makeover?
I’ve always loved the character designs for Team Fortress 2 and I wanted to draw some fanart for it. But I didn’t want to just make generic fanart. Team Fortress 2 characters are heavily inspired by J.C. Leyendecker’s illustrations (one of my favorite artists). It just so happened I had his artbook right on my desk at the time. So why not put my favorite things together? It was originally just going to be the Scout, but after receiving tremendous response to do the other classes, I went ahead and drew the rest of them.
Once you complete your final TF2 character (Pyro) do you have plans to illustrate another game franchise?
Not sure to be honest. I haven’t planned out that far ahead yet.
Has video game art, concept art, or fan art influenced you at all?
Absolutely. If it wasn’t for video game/animation concept art, I probably would have never pursued art as a career.
Are you an avid gamer? If so, what are you currently playing?
I use to be but not as much nowadays. I do like to watch other people play games, though. But if there’s a game I go back and play every now and then, it’s the Sims 2.
If you could be any video game character who would it be? Why?
Probably Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series. You get to visit all those pretty Disney worlds and get to meet the characters. Sort of like getting to go and live in an expanded Disney World.
What do you do for fun?
If it’s not sketching away at my tablet, I like to cook or go out and try new and different ethnic/regional cuisines with my friends. I’m a big foodie.
If there’s one thing that you want people to know about you, what would that be?
I haven’t had a chance to play games on my console in years. I don’t now how I am still sane. Still love video games though. But mostly I’m gaming on the computer nowadays.
Want to keep in touch with Ramida or see what she is currently working on?
I had the honor of being interviewed by the wonderful folks at OTL (On The Level) Gaming site for my 1920s TF2 series! Check it out!
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