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Career path interview with Theo Prins

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Date Added: 10th January 2014
Career, Interview, Digital Art,  

AreaNet concept artist, Theo Prins reveals his childhood inspirations, industry experience and future aspirations!

© NC Soft/ArenaNet: Guild Wars 2


Who are you and what do you do for a job?

I'm a concept artist in the video game industry currently working at ArenaNet on Guild Wars 2.

What were your childhood inspirations and earliest artistic memory?

I remember carving miniature worlds in a sandbox my family had, cutting tunnels in blackberry bushes and creating little dens. I also made a lot of couch forts and cities out of piles of books and household items.

Later on I started crafting dioramas with cardboard and clay. I spent many hours drawing each day from the age of 2 onwards. I was very absorbed in creating things, mainly environments. I spent a large portion of my childhood in the Netherlands and took frequent trips to Scotland, which had a big influence on me.

I was also fascinated by flight. In my early teens I funded flying lessons by going to our local airport and drawing airplane portraits for pilots.

© NC Soft/ArenaNet: Guild Wars 2

What training have you had (if any)?

I haven’t had any formal art training. As I was growing up I wasn’t focused on learning how to draw and paint, I just wanted to explore the worlds in my imagination. I never really considered that I was learning how to draw in the process. I learned that it felt good to be inspired and fascinated by the world around me and that’s what fuelled my artistic growth.

© NC Soft/ArenaNet: Guild Wars 2

What was your first job in the industry and how did you get it?

My first job was working as a concept artist at CCP games in Iceland when I was 18. CCP games had noticed work I’d posted online and offered me a job after a chance meeting at a Gnomon workshop in early 2007.


What can people expect from working in the industry?

In my experience it has the potential to be a lot of fun, extremely fun. My job as a concept artist is a bit of a blank slate. I can choose to approach a project in any number of ways. It’s up to me to make it fun. Overall I feel very grateful that I get to dive into my imagination every day. It’s what I’ve enjoyed doing most over the course of my life.


Where would you like to be in five years' time?

I’d like to be painting still and enjoying it fully. I'll want to feel that I'm continuing to grow and learning new things. In fact, I want to feel like that for the rest of my life â€" that would be great. I also want to be able to look back and know I made the best possible use of my time.


Looking back with the benefit of your experience, are there are things you wish you had done differently, in terms of your career?

I used to spend a lot of time waiting around for the right moment to paint, waiting around for inspiration. I wish I’d learned earlier on that it’s possible to start painting at any time, and if it’s painful to start, to just push myself over the bump.

© NC Soft/ArenaNet: Guild Wars 2

If you could give one piece of advice to people looking to break into the industry, what would it be?

Posting my work online was crucial for me. I'd recommend getting out to art events and meeting people, or if that isn’t possible, connecting with other artists online. Spending time around hard working creative people can be very motivating. Find ways to keep yourself excited and inspired. Everyone knows what to do; it’s just a matter of doing it. Stay focused, work hard!

Theo’s temporary studio space aboard a container ship crossing the Pacific Ocean

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
(ID: 155763, pid: 0) Andah on Wed, 15 January 2014 12:28pm
Thank you for such an inspiring interview! I wish Theo all good luck on his way
(ID: 155741, pid: 0) Dary on Sat, 11 January 2014 5:23pm
Thank you so much for this interview. That fascinating colouring strategy inspires me greatly - say, I have now idea how can I really use it, but to look how it works is enough to start =) Theo, let me wish all good luck to you!
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