Why I’m Shifting Gears Toward Painting Environments

Mongolian Quill Piece

When I first transitioned from working in the public sector as a city planner to becoming a freelance illustrator 3 years ago, I had a very broad interest area, ranging from designing environments & painting characters.

The problem with this approach, I begun to realize, as I got better artistically, was that the complexity of projects I had began to be involved with (i.e. VR, immersive media, production art) required larger teams to maintain the project’s high level of fidelity.

I also began to realize that I actually enjoyed painting environments far more than characters. Characters are incredibly important, but they require a high level of craft to get good at.

One of my recent Quill paintings

Especially since I studied city planning in school, I’m way more comfortable painting environments. I’ve had more practice. Going back to study characters, I realize, would take years to good at.

And to do both characters and environments mean sacrificing the quality of the work. It’s why I’m skewing more toward environments. I don’t want to be average

The downside of being a generalist means you have to work way harder. And, I care much more about lifestyle as I enter into my 30s now. Especially since specialists can command higher rates, it’s much better that what I specialize in allows me to focus on creative direction with an emphasis on world building.

Especially since world building is now a “field” where big brands do pay science fiction to do speculative futures, I’d really like to take that opportunity to explore this type of art more.

The “meta-verse” or world building economy, whatever you want to call it, is sort of like the second iteration of what a city planner does. And, I’m beginning to see that as we enter the next stage of the “meta-verse” or XR economy, we’ll need world builders that can articulate and shape how different types of worlds influence emotional well being.

On Substack, I hope to cover more about world-building in regards to TikTok and video. Stay tuned!


Published by fncischen

Animator / Developer focusing on Interaction Design, Narrative Storytelling, and 2D/3D Authoring Tools

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