Concept Artist Johnson Ting is a well known artist who regularly accepts commissions as work. We just had to jump in and get an honorable mention interview with this great artist. We hope his experience and passion will inspire you with your own creations, enjoy!
1.Tell us about yourself,how your passion started and where you are now?
Well my name is Johnson Ting, a.k.a Rhinoting on deviantart, which is a pretty goofy name. Anyway, I’m from Malaysia, a beautiful country with very delicious food. Since a young age I’ve been a fan of games, no matter what platform it is, I’m just indulged in the awesomeness, regardless of real time strategy game/role playing game/first person shooter/ third person shooter etc, I just love it. I remembered it was a very old RTS game called “Dark Colony” that really got me thinking “this is it, this is what I’m gonna do in the future, I’m going to make games!”, although I was only 9 at that time. I’ve also dreamed about being a doctor/a marine/policeman/firefighter/veterinarian/astronaut/superhero and the list goes on.
I’m really lucky to be part of the generation that grew up in the era where games develop so fast and with fast changing technology. I i’ve been telling myself that I wanted to do something related to gaming when I grew up. I enjoy drawing alot, but i wasn’t supported by anyone to have a thought of having it as a career, so i just treated it as a hobby. It stayed that way up until high school, where I started to narrow down my path on listing what I love the most and what i think I can achieve. I didn’t know anything about the industry, at all, not even a single hint. When time got closer to my high school graduation, I knew I had to make the decision of taking up art, so I took a leap of faith. I was lucky that my parents didn’t hold me back as there has always been this stereotyping statement of “How can you earn a living with art? No.”, my parents supported me all the way until this day.
In the place where I grew up (Eastern Malaysia), there wasn’t much information about art colleges and the art industry, it was very limited at that time. Basically I feel like I was walking into a thick fog, risky but worth it. My passion has been growing ever since, if it weren’t for games I wouldnt be in this field in the first place, so i’m thankful for that and for the supports around me. I’m currently working as a concept artist at Passion Republic, along with a lot of really great artists working our way towards the top, great team! I also take in freelance works from time to time, mostly illustration works which I enjoy doing as well. Same as other fellow artists out there, I’m also working my way on being a better artist, both technically and mentally, as long as the passion is burning!
2. We see a lot of Sci-fi inspired work, where do you get your inspiration from?
Movies and games mostly, I’m obsessed with technological stuff, especially articles on our latest tech. Discovery channel/nat geo/history channel also provide a very strong boost on inspiration. Those are the best in expanding our visual libary. I also rewatch some of my favorite movies like Star Wars/ Blade Runner/ LOTR/ Metropolis/ Akira/ Terminator/ Matrix etc just to keep my inspiration going. Well I guess my fav genre should be sci-fi then, I also like fantasy films and games! I also browse through alot of great artist works daily, sometimes I do a little study and sometimes I ask them for guidance, it never hurts to learn more, especially learning from the masters.
3.What needs to happen in your morning routine in order to ensure maximum creativity?
I think it’s very important for artist to start the day with a fresh mind, it allows more space to develop ideas and handle the stress from deadlines, to me the best way to start fresh is to chat around with my colleagues and/or have a very good breakfast. The breakfast part is quite important personally, if I start my day with bacon and eggs, I would basically be like an artist on art steroids. But it’s not just the morning routine to ensure maximum creativity, the part on how you handle the stress throughout the day is as important, always take short breaks from long hours on painting, maybe a 10 mins break in an hour, just to keep the brain juice flowing peacefully, to avoid idea blockages.
Read some books, watch some vids, walk around, anything to get your mind off the painting just for a little bit. Working your butt off for 8 hours on a single painting non-stop without any mental breaks is going to kill you and the painting. So I always try to ease up a little to avoid trashing my desk.
4.Tell us a bit about your commissioned work and the rates?
Well there isn’t much to really elaborate on my commissions, the prices are too specified to be mentioned here so if you’re interested you could just go to www.rhinoting.deviantart.com for the rates. I’m currently working on a couple of projects, from card illustrations to board game illustrations, and some concept jobs from time to time. Most of the titles are still classified but i believe you’ll see them around in no time! Stay tuned!
5.What kind of software and equipment do you use for your Illustrations?
I’m using a pc with a fairly good performance as it means alot to me to play all sorts of games in their highest graphics quality possible, so I wont miss out any of the amazing in game details designed by the concept artists. I mainly work on Adobe Photoshop but I also work on Google sketchup to model up some mechs for fun and for work. It provides a more accurate and safer foundation for a painting, regarding the perspective/tonal values/light and shadows etc. Sometimes I do a little sculpting as well, digitally and traditionally.
See how he does his amazing work on his YouTube Channel
6.Your favorite design thus far?
I don’t really have a favorite design since i’m still on my path of coming up with a design that really impresses myself and the audiences really well. To me it’s a lifelong thing and it’s part of a passion, something like seeking for perfection. But if i have to choose, maybe it might be my recent work titled “Ciao”. It’s a commissioned work, I kinda like how the original author created the character so it’s really an interesting character to work with, both his physical appearances and personality.
7. Tell us a bit more about “The Art of Johnson Ting” publication, we hear it has shiny tutorials?
All I can say now is that the book is going under a huge make-over, after meetings with the publishers we have decided to change the direction of the book. Instead of publishing a book with showcases of artworks, I’m changing it into a full length graphic-novel as the main part of the book. The title is yet to be confirmed but tutorials and works are still included in it, along with a cd including videos and brushes. The time of release is yet to be announced but I will be working on it for some time. So stay tuned folks!
8.Any advice for the start up freelancers?
Yes. If you’ve just graduated from art college, with zero experiences on freelancing, please do not make a bold statement of “I’m going to work as a freelancer now”, unless you have a certain amount of money backing you up for several years, otherwise, think twice before you make that decision. Networking is very important on being a freelancer, it determines whether you can earn a living by freelancing or crushed by it. It takes years to build up a network up to the level where you have a more secure source of income, it’s not that consistent compared to a full time on site job, the monthly income can be high and can be low as well. So to take up the path of freelancing, be sure to have the preparation on taking the leap of faith, its not pretty to start, but it’s quite rewarding once everything has settled down.
Always know how to sell yourself, how to persuade and convince people to commission you, whether it’s online or face to face. Always make sure you have a strong portfolio and a persuasive tongue to sell them, and never lie to your clients, always be honest. Once you’ve a stable source of income from commissions, you can easily devote yourself into being a full-time freelancer, but it takes time and effort. So choose wisely when you start, there’s no wrong decision in this (so no worries) just gather different opinions from people in the field and make up your own decision.
Thank you for the great interview Rhinoting!
We really enjoyed chatting with you about your passion. Keep on Inspiring!
MY: +6016 889 3861
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Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.