On the 1st of March we had the pleasure of hearing from the very talented Art Director and Concept Artist Jessica Rossier. Jessica is a founder of French studio 'Wardenlight' that specialises in visual development for AAA video games, films, commercials and more.
Jessica, thank you for your time! So you're a director and founder of the company Wardenlight Studios, alongside your business partner Bastien. Are you the only two members of your studio working on projects, or do you employ other artists on a freelance basis?
"Usually it's just us at the company - I’m in charge of the paperwork and the customer relationship, but I work as a concept artist as well with Bastien Grivet. Bastien is the art director and concept artist at the studio. Most of the projects we are in charge of we accomplish ourselves, but sometime we need reinforcement. It happens when the deadlines are too short or the project needs particular skills."
It looks as though Wardenlight work primarily in the video game space alongside advertising. What have been some of your most exciting projects so far?
"Yes for the most part the projects we work on are video games and advertising, but I would say the best project was 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' which is an upcoming animated movie from Sony Pictures Animation. Our Art Director who hired us on that mission was Alberto Mielgo and let me say - this guy is amazingly crazy, his vision as an artist is mind blowing! Thanks to him throughout the production we learned so much about new digital painting techniques, new graphic vision and so on…It allowed us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and now we’ve integrated these new techniques in our process."
You have a beautiful style of concept art that is very textural and atmospheric. Is it purely painting and image manipulation, or are you skilled in 3D art also?
"My favourite technique is photo manipulation, I love working with great photos, I love stretching it, cutting it, painting on it… I really torture them! Today we have lots of photo material libraries on the internet so why shouldn’t we use it? Sometimes I need to work with 3D software; it’s often for specific things like spaceships or furniture or complex architecture etc.
How long have you worked in the industry for?
"I’ve been working in the industry for over nine years. I started as a freelancer, I opened my first freelance studio called Jess Studio alone and then I started a new adventure with Wardenlight Studio."
How long have Wardenlight Studios existed for?
"Bastien had secured several contracts with different companies while I worked as a freelancer, and at a certain point we were both renown and confident enough to create our company. In 2013 Wardenlight Studio was born."
How would you describe the industry when it comes to concept art, as far as finding employment?
"I used to do a Masterclass around five to six times per years and I noticed that the students would often be worried about what path they should choose and weren't confident there would be a position for them. I’ve always answered with "there is a place for everyone who is good enough". This industry is constantly trying to find fresh ideas, why not yours?"
What's the best advice you can give to those considering a career in creative industries like this one?
"In 2015 Bastien and I were pleased to meet Iain McCaig at a festival. We truly admire this amazing person and I think he gave us some of the best advice we had ever heard - "do a personal project, it’s a nice way to see the best part of who you are as an artist". All you have to do is be passionate about what you love creating and show it on the web and it will always reach someone who is interested in your art. Try every day to be better at what you create and don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it."