French 3D artist Pascal Blanche has been blazing a 12 year trail through the video game industry, which has led him to his current position as the Art Director at Ubisoft, one of the world’s biggest gaming companies. At his core, however, his passion for art has been the engine of his success, as Pascal has an unbelievable talent for creating stunning universes.
His view of life on distant worlds is exceptionally beautiful. His concept artwork has a way pulling us into these alternate universes by delving into the minutia of details to make things feel real. He also knows how to bring a lot of emotion and feeling into the atmospheres and characters that inhabit his invented worlds.
We contacted him to better understand how Pascal goes about creating his Stellar artwork. Read our interview below.
What images were your greatest inspirations growing up?
Star Wars obviously, like all kids growing up in the 70’s, then Heavy metal Magazine and artists like Moebius, Corben, Frazetta, Bisley… I am still continuing to look for new stuff, what can trigger new universes and ideas. Sometimes it is a book, sometimes a soundtrack… bit of both.
How did you get started drawing professionally?
I have an Art school background, five years doing drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography all day long.
It first started for me when I had this part-time job at a video Game magazine in Paris ( Tilt Magazine ) where I was helping out with paperwork. I was drawing for fun during lunch breaks, and when their main artist got sick they asked me if I was up for the job: I said “sure!” but never had approached a Mac yet. They enjoyed my work, and I started to do more, never stopped since! Sometimes you just have to jump.
How do you go about creating a new species of alien? Is there a process to this?
I like to start from actual animals, it can be lizards, frogs, or crabs, anything, but I think it helps to give it a more grounded look. There are always new shapes to try out, new combinations, lots of fun really.
Do you consider the backstory of your drawings a lot, or are these just visual concepts?
It depends, but most of the time it starts with an idea: it can be a theme, a word, or a composition I sketched on the side of a notebook. More than backstory I like to draw in details that make it more part of a world, so yeah it is a bit like having a backstory, but I keep things a bit open since sometimes a design can evolve and the whole illustration can take a new turn.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about drawing since you started?
Always finish what you’ve started, publish it, then move on the next one.
There are always moments where you feel like it is not what you intended, that the end result is not at the level of your expectation, it doesn’t feel quite right. That is ok actually, all artists share the same issue. The best thing you can do when it happens is to force yourself to finish it, and submit it to see what people see in your work. Then start something new. That feeling nagging you, most of the time is your imagination already calling for new things to come.
We tend to always think that we are better than what we come up with. The more you finish your work, the more you learn, the smaller the gap becomes between your expectation and the end results.
What inspires you today?
More or less the same things as when I was kid, but now I try to scratch a little deeper. I like to find new sources of inspirations, and above all, follow the chain of inspiration from one artist to another, or the connection between artists I admire. There is always something to learn from art history.