This feature will display a monthly interview with the best skinners the community has to offer!

The first Skin Artist Spotlight was conducted with KradisZ, one of the most well known and respected custom skinners in the community. Here’s the Q&A interview:

LoLReport: Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you started in this field?

KradisZ: I’m from Canada, BC, I have always been playing games since the age of 5 from the NES to the SNES to the N64 and PSX eras, onwards to the Dreamcast and GameCube and eventually on to the PS2 and finally the PS3. How I started in this field long story short is that post highschool I was a bit lost, went to a college for a term dropped out friend told me to go to art school with him, went with him started getting high marks and passion for all the games I always played with when I was a child. Played League of Legends since the beta was looking for work after graduation, was about to be hired as an animator, the interview went up in a puff of smoke thanks to the economy hitting a recession in 2008. Started working freelance, friend on mumble server was like hey there’s custom skins for LoL check it out. It’s at leaguecraft.com, and I quote what he said was “Hahaha look there’s even a nude Evelynn skin”. I said “Haha what the hell? Oh you can make custom skins. :O.. hmm”. He said “yeah man you should take a shot at it you’ve been working on your demo reel here and there over and over just give your self the challenge of what League of Legends does”. So I took him up on it and basically challenged myself to make a few skins such as the corrupted rune akali, then the night shade katarina one, and finally I timed myself for the starcraft ghost ashe one, 2 weeks, just like League of Legends new champ, all I did was remodel, re-texture, recreate particles, make loadscreens, make alternate texture swaps, alternate loadscreens, video record game play, test the champion, all by myself. When completed my friend said I over killed it because he said I literally became the company since I did every role available to creating the asset other than import/export which was utilizing community tools made available. And that is how I started in this field. P.S. due to popular demand I will be making that SC Skin for Caitlyn, I originally wasn’t going to because I got tired of all the angry comments at how I broke someone’s LoL because Riot decided to update their game which made all ppl who had custom skins not playable on LoL anymore. That is completely NOT my fault as pre-warned by Riot themselves and by my own instruction notes saying that if it breaks your game whatsoever I claim no responsibility, I give the instructions as of how it works and how to install of the date that is stamped on there. Any day past that date and not work is not my fault. I’m doing it for free I don’t get paid to make these nor am I seeking any payment.

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LoLReport: When did you first discover your creative talents?

KradisZ: I first discovered my talents to draw was when believe or not drawing houses, because my uncle was an architect and I thought building houses was cool(I still do) and he had blueprints and all that and I just thought they looked really sweet when I was a kid. My parents signed me up for extracurricular art class from the age of 6 until i was about 17, when I quit the class and went to an art school. I actually started off drawing a lot of flora and fauna and during Christmas time I drew anime Christmas cards and gave them to people in highschool. At art school my style completely changed as what they taught destroyed every principle I drew with until I regained my talent again after art school. (they kept telling me not to draw anime so now I’m sort of stuck in the mix between anime & realism which kind of fits LoL). I also played a lot of video games and eventually through high school I drew a lot of my favorite heroes and characters such as Laharl from Disgaea, or Thor from Marvel, some angel from some anime, flonne from disgaea, the kid from secret of Evermore, a zergling, Link from Zelda, Kirby the pink blob eating hero/god, Ryu from Breath of Fire etc.

 

LoLReport: Could you tell us about some of your work?

KradisZ: Most of my work actually revolves around females currently.. which I’m trying to break out of ’cause it’s not good to be so centered on one gender. Zzz No it’s not ’cause I’m perverse in what I do it’s because it was a serious weak point as you can tell from when I first discovered my talents all I drew were dudes. In art school during the game project workshop to make a game the art lead moved me from environments into character arts and made me make a medusa with large breasts and a paper bag over her head, then I had to learn female anatomy which was fairly informative. And so now today it’s mostly females from what I’ve produced so far. I have made male models in the past which also strikes as *oh god how does that go?* basically its staring at nude dudes. Don’t get the wrong idea I’m not trying to qualify myself here as what all this may sound like, it’s what comes with becoming a 3D character artist so either get used to it or go home. I have a penchant for ninjas(the female ones :P), light armored heroes, agility characters, or really slick acrobatic male characters and I generally try to stay around that genre. But I am eventually moving away from that into a more less serious tone, such as the Laser Tag Ezreal I never released, and a crazy insane old monk that I’m planning to make for a movie short of some romance between an evil possessed antagonist female character and an insane protagonist monk, with a little kid in the mix to tell the story because both the… and I’ll stop there since I don’t want the idea taken away, it’ll be on my youtube channel in the future (user kradisz). My work generally consists of a 5 minute scribble and a 3day modeling grind and a 4-6 day sculpting/texturing of assets and a 3 day of rigging/animating to get a character out if I focus fully on that time. By 3 days i mean it takes 72 hours in total without including all the food and eating and showering and taking a break and stuff in between. If included it could be like a month unless I really am urged and motivated and rushing myself to produce.

 

LoLReport: What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?

KradisZ: The fact that so many games are stereotyped into a certain genre or cloning another to strike it down and the fact that innovation is going down is what inspires me to keep going. I also want to make my own game, which I am working towards by studying programming at the moment. I keep myself motivated simply by playing a game, when I play a game my mind literally switches back to the passion and goes along the lines of “Forget playing this I’d rather be making a game instead”. And so I quit playing and start developing. I always wanted to make something legendary and give it to the public to play and just have fun. I could care less if I get paid or not for it but if I do get paid for it then I’ll be obliged to give out the very best, and that’s saying a lot since I try very hard anyways even without being paid. My part time job barely pays enough to get by compared to what I deal with there (sick angry people come in regularly, take a guess) and that motivates me more to work super hard and release something to the community which may spark the attention of someone who might want to work with me on something rather interesting to sell to the public eventually if not I will be doing this by myself because if no one wants me I’ll make them want me.

 

LoLReport: How will you describe your style?

KradisZ: Freestyle mess and scribbles for concepts that are fresh in idea and needs to be modeled. I generally draw out a very crappy sketch of something and that is reference enough for me to produce a whole model. If i sit down and paint for a couple hours I could have something looking fairly good (or bad depends on the viewer) and turn it into something that could be sold. According to my girlfriend she says my style is completely different and doesn’t really match anyone else’s. It’s sort of like a kid’s drawing mixed with a talented artist’s drawing. How do I describe that? It’s simply if you look at a kid’s drawing you’ll notice it has a certain look to it and you know a child drew it, when you look at a grown up try to draw like a kid, it just looks bad because it doesn’t have those bad scribbly lines and wobbly lines that a kid can make. The disproportionate eyes and things also make it look very childy. But at the same time I add realistic details from what I learned about human anatomy, so mine looks like a wobbly scribble and then I just blob it out with colors or shades then add details here and there and eventually start making it in 3d.

 

LoLReport: What is your approach to design?

KradisZ: Design.. you always need an idea. You always need a concept. You always need good composition. You always need an audience. You always need to have a consistent idea. Keep it simple. Complicate things after you find it simple. Colors will affect what your design will be perceived as. Is it professional, sloppy, polished, rushed, or solid? (I would choose solid over the rest. Why, because professional is self spoken if it’s solid.) Solid design is basically you don’t have swiss cheese designs where people can poke holes by asking questions “Where does that armor end” “Why is her helmet stuck right into her head like frankenstein” “Why does that dude’s axe look like it can kill himself if he tried to attack with it” etc.  My belief is that if you got an idea and you can scribble a fair design of what the basics of how it should look then you should continue on and like your design. The moment you hate it or have to make a billion changes from that basic scribble is the moment your design isn’t your design anymore, its just a different design now that’s banked off something else which might cause inconsistencies or a giant waste of time and effort for yourself because you might end up hating it. (Happens a lot I trashed so many projects until I learned that).

 

LoLReport: Any influences or anyone you look up to when it comes to designing?

KradisZ: Hyung Tae Kim, Lead artist of Blade & Soul, some korean guy who I don’t know his real name but his website is now virus-prone to whoever visits it but he’s a powerful modeler and worked on Metin2 and RF Online (The promotion trailers that is.. not the game part.. so have a look at those). I always try to get a reference of some sort, human, shapes, flowers, nature. You always need reference. Try designing a whole style sheet for one character or environment. It should include what all the materials are, what they look like, how it should look like with an atmosphere, where it would be placed, who uses or what is it supposed to do, what’s it called, why is it called that, what’s it’s background, how did you come up with it, how did you start building it, and what is it’s purpose towards in a final product?

 

LoLReport: Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently.

KradisZ: I am the only artist in my programming class and everyone in there is somewhat socially awkward to talk to or it could just be me. My sense of humor is extremely dry these days thanks to full time programming school. Something funny that’s happened to me recently is that I drove to some wedding in a golf club area in the dark that was sort of in an isolated farmland area and it was scary as hell like The Walking Dead and there were barely any lights anywhere and the street signs were omgscary and hard to see with deep ditches in the roads, and I was listening to Sweet Soul Brother most of the time on the way there. Upon arrival its like a giant arch gate with two lights pointing at the top and I felt like I was driving into the mansion of Resident Evil to get eaten by zombies, only to get to the parking lot and i saw a sign that says BE BEAR AWARE. not Be Aware of Bear, its BE BEAR AWARE. I don’t know if I was to expect Yogi to sneak my picnic baskets away or my mp3 player or my girlfriend but.. oh man Jellystone park came to mind when I saw it.

 

LoLReport: Describe yourself in 5 words.

KradisZ: Sees things through to end.

OR

Passionate polymath gaming programming artist.

 

LoLReport: Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring designers/artists?

KradisZ: Don’t give up, if you’re living under hard conditions where you gotta pay for your own stuff and what not, if you continue and know that you got the essentials to live (shelter food clothing) then you can still make it. You need to produce, and show everyone what’s new. There’s a lot of games coming out, and a lot of them are going free or have a one time fee and they produce quality. Don’t rush things out if you’re not happy with them, companies that follow that generally do well, and the same goes for any artist. Don’t slack or you’ll lose your talent to someone else. And most importantly don’t be a dick, and claim you know everything as an artist, because there is no such thing as perfection as an artist or a designer. Every design and every piece of art has flaws. There are a billion+ people out there to judge your work, and each and every one of them is a client. Not everyone will like it, and that is a fact you must accept so it will never be perfect. You should strive to be perfect but never get there because if you reach perfection, you’re no longer useful. (If that doesn’t make any sense, think about this, if you reach perfection you can’t improve anymore).