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Interview with Adam Burn

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Date Added: 12th July 2013
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Adam Burn is a UK-based artist, specializing in sci-fi art. In this interview he tells us a little about his route into the CG industry and how he has been pursuing his own side projects to achieve lifelong goals.

Hi Adam, thanks for agreeing to chat to us. I have taken a quick look at your Deviant Art page to find out a little about you, but couldn’t find a great deal about your career up to now. Can you tell us when you first became interested in art and how you found your way into the CG industry?

Thanks for the opportunity. Well my journey into art, like lots of artists, started when I was very young. When I was about six I would come home from school with piles of books with detailed images of diggers and machinery, and ask my dad to draw them for me, but after a period of a few weeks he got a bit fed up with it and told me to go draw them myself. That was really the first push I got into art and I was hooked instantly; I would draw all sorts of things.

I decided to pursue a course in computer game art at Teesside University in the UK, but due to the course’s focus on 3D and animation I dropped out. However, while I was there I began to use Photoshop and started on my path to becoming the artist I am today. I am totally self-taught, except the odd little tips I have picked up from other artists along the way. I started doing just space scenes, but after a few years ventured into more illustration-based stuff, like the stuff I focus on today.

You mentioned the restrictions that were placed on you when doing GCSE art and how they were frustrating. When you do work for clients do you still find strict briefs frustrating, and how do you satisfy your creative urges on projects that aren’t as appealing to your artistic tastes?

With many commissions there are strict guidelines. The client will usually have an image in their head of how it should look, or you are working within an established universe and therefore have to make sure each aspect is perfect, and the design of ships and environments are exact.

I noticed on your Deviant Art page that you have worked for some impressive clients in the past. What has been your favorite project to work on and why?

My favorite project would have to be working for the indie developer Taitale Studios. I was brought onto the project early on to do some small paintings for use in a trailer and when that contract was up I left, like I did with most of my contract work. I had worked on a lot of indie projects before and sadly 99% of them I never heard from again; they just didn’t last. I was therefore very happy and surprised to get an email from the CEO a year later asking me to return on contract, and later as a full-time, senior 2D artist.

I worked with them for about two years, creating detailed concept art for massive space ships, which I loved, as well as epic battle scenes for promotional use at conventions like PAX. I was able to travel to Seattle and Boston, where all the team would meet (as the studio was remotely run we usually only met online, which was a challenge, but it worked).

It is clear that you are a fan of sci-fi. Would you say that there was one point in your life when you decided that you were going to go down the sci-fi route, and what was it that made you make that choice?

I often find that artists who are fans of sci-fi art have one specific movie or game project that they wish they could have worked on. If you could have worked on any sci-fi-based project in the past what would it be?

Halo, without any doubt. I used my very first pay cheque to buy an original Xbox and got Halo with it. I had heard about it before, but as it was a console FPS I wasn’t too interested as I was mostly a PC gamer, but I felt like giving it a go. By the time I finished the game I was hooked and that was the start of my obsession with the Halo universe. The games are great, but it was always the universe that intrigued me most. The mysterious Forerunners and their massive creations; it is a huge inspiration to me and to be a part of that is my dream. Who knows, maybe one day â€" there is a new trilogy after all!

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