We had an opportunity during our Too Many Bones: Undertow Kickstarter campaign to sit down with Anthony LeTourneau and ask him some of the many questions our readers wanted to know about our Artist.
Anthony has been creating illustrations for a number of our titles now but he is probably most recognizable for his work with the Too Many Bones series. His art is vibrant, has lots of depth, and coincides perfectly with our company’s direction. We enjoy working with him immensely and hope to keep using his talents in future titles.
Q. Before we dive into our reader’s questions let’s start off by having you tell us a bit about yourself, Anthony:
A. Well, I’m a grandfather and a father of three boys. I live in northern Minnesota and have been an artist almost as long as I can remember. I Started drawing, at two or three years old, recognizable images. I received lots of encouragement from family and friends and I always tell people the more encouragement you get from others the more you feel like you want to go in that direction.
From there I went onto college and worked for 23 years illustrating in a studio, actually just right down the street from here in Plymouth, MN. At this studio we would develop illustrations for tech books. For example a medical or biology manual book would need us to create drawings of anatomical figures such as the heart, lungs, knees etc. After that, I went on to do freelance work full-time and then starting to work with you all on Chip Theory Games’ projects.
Q. Reader, John wants to know: What do you like to draw more: the baddies, Gearlocs or the cool items they get from the trove loot?
A. Wow, yeah that’s a hard question to answer. I mean, I love them all. They each provide unique opportunities for an artist. In regards to the Gearlocs, I have been able to illustrate them in full figure. In fact, just recently we started to explore drawing all the sides of the Gearlocs in 360 degrees. It’s been fun as an artist to get to play around with the whole round idea of a character.
The baddies, just because of the way they are used within the mechanics of the game, it’s simply black and white headshots. As much as the Gearlocs are fun for their color, the baddies are equally as fun because of the variety of characters needed for the game. Josh and Adam have been so kind to let me as an artist explore. I get to kind of just create things which is very enjoyable. It’s the same with the loot. I will be given a certain direction such as a specific category, but for the most part, I get to explore and I really enjoy that.
Q. Reader, TGPumpkin asks: Has your artist, Anthony, ever drawn pumpkins before? Specifically pumpkin knights with flaming skies seeking revenge on Gearlocs?
A. The specificity of the pumpkin knights with flaming skies, I haven’t done that. But I have done a fair amount of pumpkin illustrations, funny you should ask. I just completed within the last probably two months or so a large 40ft mural that’s in our local grocery store filled with pumpkins and gourds. I will ask them if they would like to have flaming skies and knights to be added to it.
Q. Reader, Justin asks: What were your inspirations for the looks of the baddies and Gearlocs? Were they based off of a few specific things you had seen or a myriad of lore, art etc?
A. Josh Carlson will give me a lot of ideas and images, for instance, I didn’t know what a bard was, so he sent me 15-20 different bard images just so I could get an idea of what a bard actually does in a game. Generally, after that, I will do a quick line sketch from my head to flush out a rough idea of their shape and size.
The overall tone of the art, the color choices and the lighting stem 100% from my specific painting style. For things like the character’s gear or accessories, I would explore bazaar images of old 1950’s equipment. 1950’s equipment, in general, has some really unique qualities to them and they always seemed to spark my imagination for creating steampunk looking accessories.
Q. Reader, Tunde asks: Do you listen to some music while you draw? If yes, what do you listen to?
A. I have varied music interests. My family chuckles because I listen to everything from Bob Dylan, early folk, Johnny Cash to contemporary music, hip-hop even. I’ll listen to anything that inspires me. However, I don’t listen to a lot of music when I work. Sometimes I will break out the tunes but most of the time, shocking enough, I’ll watch television or movies.
Just recently I was watching Gotham. Most of the time it’s just background noise but I’ll watch episode after episode for the 6-8 hours I’ll be illustrating for the day. What’s happening in the show with the villains or the story plot can be an inspiration for myself while I am creating and developing.
Q. Reader, Gaven asks: Is there something you would like to draw for Too Many Bones but never got around to it?
A. No, actually. Josh and Adam have kept me fairly busy. I do however from time to time step away from a project, even in the middle of a project, and go draw whatever I want to draw. I try to have a regular practice drawing session every morning with my watercolor journal. It’s not that it is something that I want to get around to it’s more of an artistic release. It helps to keep my skills sharp, just like a basketball player will shoot free throws.
Q. Reader, Gaven also asks: If you could be a Gearloc or tyrant who would you be?
A. That’s a tough one. I can’t actually answer that clearly as I tend to fuse a bit of my personality into all of them. Most times I’ll look at myself in a mirror to get an expression or to study the correct lighting.
There is one little baddie that is not a tyrant or a Gearloc, just a baddie. He’s a little monkey with a great big head on his head. That was a fun one to play with extremes. The idea that there is this little tiny monkey with a huge dead orangutan head with his eyes kind of sewn shut on his head was interesting to develop.
Q. Reader, Dave mentioned: I think we need a Gearloc inspired by your beard Anthony!
A. We actually never talked about whether or not Gearloc’s can have facial hair. In an early sketch for Tantrum, I was thinking he would look more like a dwarf. Though as I was sketching I felt the look was getting too close to the Tolkien lore. I wanted to break away from that, so we never ended up going with facial hair. It’s a great question!
Q. Are there any stylized differences between the original Too Many Bones and Undertow from an art perspective?
A. I’m not sure about stylized, but I have become much more detail oriented with the characters and elements in Undertow. When we first started working on the original Too Many Bones we based a lot of our designs on wooden steampunk with more of a rustic feel. These characters would create things out of natural materials such as bark, stones, and foliage. Undertow, you are seeing hardened material technology with the bots and the Mechs characters in metals.
Q. Anthony, what is it like to see your work on a tabletop game, as opposed to hanging in an art gallery?
A. To me having my work on a tabletop game is like having it in a gallery. I don’t really see the two being very different. At a gallery, people go to look at your artwork and with a game, people get a similar opportunity to see and explore your art.
It was amazing to get to go to GenCon last year and see my work lit up / illuminated on the large side pillars. Everything from the logo to the characters, it was just like wow, that is my art and it has come to life, full of color! It was a very neat thing to experience.
Well, that’s all the time we have for questions today. Thank you, Anthony, for coming down and talking with us and our supporters. You are always an absolute joy to work with and we’re very excited to have you continue to create new and wonderful art for future Chip Theory Games’ series.