Meet Neil Googe, the newest member of the Warcradle Studios team.
Now, we’re sure you have a lot of burning questions so, to help answer a few, we’ve asked Neil to officially introduce himself.
Well hello there, my name’s Neil and I draw stuff for Warcradle Studios.
Is that enough?
Okay, let’s see, I’ve been taken on board here as Studio Illustrator which, at a company like Warcradle Studios, is a pretty broad term. It kind of means I’ll be doing promotional illustrations to concept art, and everything in between.
Working at Warcradle Studios
For example, right now I’m working on a promotional image for Lost World Exodus. This may go on to be a series of images that explore Antarctica’s vastly changed terrain. If so, they’ll be following Jadzia while she explores the landscape in the form of scouting party for the Commonwealth.
I’m also doing a series of maps to help develop the Dystopian Age world setting. One of the Union for Wild West Exodus, one of Antarctica for Lost World Exodus, and a world map for the Dystopian Age in general…
Plus, I’m working on concept designs for… oh… something we can’t talk about yet, but it’s awesome, and… other things we can’t talk about yet, that are also awesome.
Needless to say, it’s a mixed bag.
On top of all that, I get to throw my hat in on the narrative and world development for the various games and projects in development, as well as the odd game mechanic suggestions here and there.
It’s quite the community environment at Warcradle Studios, which is a really nice feeling. I’ve worked in a lot of industries where departments really keep themselves to themselves. So, while we all have our roles at Warcradle Studios, people are still open to input from other areas. In fact, it’s actively encouraged and welcomed.
Getting into tabletop games
For me, this is an ideal situation. I’ve actually been writing worlds and making tabletop games for as long as I’ve been drawing – going all the way back to writing rules and a world setting for how to use my Star Wars figures.
You see, just playing make-belief in the existing Star Wars universe just wasn’t enough for me and, at that time, the extended universe didn’t exist and tabletop gaming, as far as I was aware, was simply either Monopoly or Snakes & Ladders
So, to get more from my Star Wars figures, I wrote my own extended universe and created a rule set for how combat between my various figures would work. Anytime that wasn’t spent playing or writing, I spent drawing my adventures and developing the characters and worlds from them… Trust me, the adventures of Lando disguised as a skiff guard, or a biker scout deserter, along with the space cowboy they picked up on their travels, were epic.
Not long after that, I discovered a well-known tabletop miniatures game (which most of you could guess the name of) and roleplaying… and the rest, as they say, was history. This kind of gaming just gave me more ideas on how to create and structure my own work, pushing me further and further.
All of the influences
Which brings me nicely to influences…
At that time, I wasn’t really influenced by other art, my biggest influences were the games I was playing combined with the tv shows and films I was consuming, books I was reading etc. I wasn’t really reading comics or looking at art… to me, drawing was a means to an end for my own stuff, my ideas needed developing so I thought I’d better develop them.
I guess, if I was pushed, the two main art influences I always come back to from that time in my life are How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way and the book of Alien. How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way was released in the late 70s and it’s still the first book I tell anyone wanting to learn how to draw, to buy. The book of Alien is the concept art book from the original Alien movie. Also released in the late ’70s, it’s still hard to beat so far as world-building goes. These two books had the biggest impact on my creativity as a kid…
That was until…
Akira. Katsuhiro Otomo. That’s pretty much it, Katsuhiro Otomoa and Akira are THE influence. I’ve picked up more along the way, but there are no other stand out comics or artists prior to reading Akira that have stuck with me in the way that book did.
Akira was the first comic I read that had a profound impact on my approach to art and storytelling. It changed my entire outlook on creating anything as a process; from story to world-building, character development to the overall design. It’s about as close to perfection as a piece of art gets in my eyes.
It was like someone took How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, combined it with the book of Alien and viola… Akira.
I should mention Masamune Shirow, Yukito Kishiro, Frank Quitely, Frank Fazetta, Simon Bizley, Kev Walker and Keith Giffen in a list of early influencers, once I took comic art more seriously. Plus Alphonse Mucha and Frank Fazetta, once I took art outside of comics more seriously. But these were quick on the tail of finding Akira and when I was actively looking and wanting to see what else was out there.
Nowadays, with the internet, the influences are many and varied. We have access to a wealth of amazing work, keeping track of who does what is nigh on impossible… it’s just an ocean of top-level creativity these days, whatever your interests might be.
My CV is a little more interesting than most
As for my work experience… well… I got my first break with Antarctic Press, the US manga company, and from there went almost straight into 2000AD (who I’ve actually been working on and off with ever since). Not long after that, I got to work on Silent Hill for Konami, which is very a long complicated story that I won’t go into but, that teamed me up with Eddie Deighton and Russel Uttley, and pretty sharpish we started Com.x, a British comics publishing company, which quickly grew to be general I.P development for all manner of industries.
During that period, I worked on all kinds of stuff, mostly computer games, but also animation, films, TV shows, music videos, ads… a real variety. This was all while still developing my own properties as well.
Oddly enough, given that we started out as a comic company, I worked on surprisingly few comics.
When Com.x sadly came to an end I went on to work for Wildstorm Comics who were bought by DC comics. Over the years at DC, I’ve worked on most of their main cast at some point or another, most recently working on the Flash… all the while still creating my own worlds and my own stories… all in the hopes that one day someone gets the chance to play in them.
You never know, now I’m at Warcradle Studios, amongst everything else that’s being done here, maybe that will finally happen.
We’re all super excited at Warcradle Studios to have Neil on board as we develop the Dystopian Age, among other world creations we have in the pipeline…