Our intrepid Enrico Nardini conducts another in his series of five question interviews. This time he talks to Christopher Moeller, artist for Wizards of the Coast and the creator of Iron Empires.
So shuffle your deck and get set for another TGN Interview.
Enrico Nardini (EN) – Name one thing you didn’t know when you started working in the adventure game and comic industries that you wish you had.
Christopher Moeller (CM) – I wish I had been more scrupulous about photographing my originals before selling them. I didn’t understand that I’d want them someday in their “pristine” form. I thought if they were published, it was all good. It was also harder when I started (the days before scanners). I had to take my painting down to a photo studio and get a large 4″x 5″ or 8″x11″ transparency made. Each of those cost around $40, and as a youngster, I didn’t feel I had that kind of cash. So there are gaps in the record of my earliest work.
EN – As an industry veteran, how do you continue to challenge yourself and grow as an artist?
CM – There are several ways of approaching that question. For me, I challenge myself either through evolutionary change (as a minimum) or radical change (as needed). For example: when I started working, I had a hard time letting any portion of my paintings “go.” If a figure had on chain mail, I painted all of the chain mail, right into the darkest shadows. When I started work on a series of Batman: Shadow of the Bat covers for DC, I saw an opportunity to try letting my shadows go truly dark (Batman’s a perfect character to do that with). Those covers marked what I consider an evolutionary change in how I paint. After doing those paintings, I had the confidence to let some areas of my painting be less detailed than others.
Radical change is something I’ve been doing more recently — painting from life, painting non-illustration subjects, painting in oils instead of acrylics. That sort of massive shift is unsettling as a professional with a well-established artistic tool-kit, but for me, feels like a necessary movement. I talked to Michael Kaluta a few years back on this subject, and he had a different perspective. He suggested that it wasn’t about change; it was about perfection. He has an approach to image making that suits him, and his job is to give it the most perfect realization he can.
EN – You’ve worked extensively on Magic: The Gathering; what is your favorite MTG card art that you didn’t create?
CM – Good question! God, there are so many. One I always enjoy putting on the table is Elvish Ranger by Terese Neilsen (either version, they’re both sexy and beautifully painted).
EN – If you could expand Iron Emipres into any other gaming genre (there is already an RPG), what would you choose?
CM – Miniatures! I love the idea of a video game, but it’s like getting a movie made… I don’t feel like I’d have a lot of control over it, and there’s nothing I’d hate more than a BAD Iron Empires video game. Except maybe a bad Iron Empires movie.
EN – On that note, name three actors you would cast in an Iron Empires movie?
CM – Back in 1998 when I painted Sheva’s War, I wanted Demi Moore as Ahmi Sheva. She’d still be great in it. Vin Diesel is the obvious candidate for Faith, but now I’m thinking Matt Damon, if he was willing to shave his head. He’s an incredible action lead. Finally, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger has to be the voice artist for all of the Kerrns.
Our thanks to Christopher for talking to Enrico.
Be sure to check out his Kickstarter campaign: Iron Empires: Faith Conquers and Shiva’s War hardcovers.