Greetings fellow Citizens! It’s time for Meet the Devs with Jeremiah Lee, Character Concept Artist!
JL – Jeremiah Lee
JP – James Pugh
JP – Where’d you get that shirt?
JL – Target.
JP – Target? *laughs* I’ve seen that shirt around – I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers… but I’ve seen that shirt everywhere and never actually had a chance to purchase it.
JL – Do you shop at Target?
JP – I do… like… Exclusively! Target and Kohl’s. *laughs*
JL – My man… *fist bump*
*Meet the Devs with James Pugh intro plays*
JP – Welcome back to Meet the Devs. I’m James Pugh. With me today is Character Concept Artist Jeremiah Lee. Jeremiah, how ya doin’ man?
JL – Whassup!?
JP – Thanks for comin’ on man. Thanks for stopping by our little lounge.
JL – I know, it’s a lot smaller than…
JP – A slot smaller right? A lot hotter too. We got this sick lamp though.
JL – Yeah, it is sick.
JP – So, you’re a Character Concept Artist, is that what you wanted to do? Where’d you go to school?
JL – I went to Art Center College of Design and during school I just loved drawing. That sounded so boring, ‘I love drawing,’ and then…
JP – To be fair, to be an artist you’ve gotta kinda love drawing.
JP – That was my thing. I was just never good at drawing so I could never be an artist.
JL – Well, while I was in school I took a class outside of school called Concept Design Academy and met Jerad Marantz and he’s a concept artist who has been working on the like the Batman and Superman but at the time he did Spider-Man, Planet of the Apes, Ghost Rider, just all kinds of movies and I had a class with him and he was just showing me the ropes of what was currently trending and just kind of the tricks of the trade in just what concept artists are doing currently. So, that got me real jazzed to be a concept artist. I was like, ‘I want to do what you’re doing!’ So, I took his class like three times I think – just back to back to back – because I wanted to learn more and then I started working while I was going to school, like I did some free gigs here and there just doing some concept work and then slowly my name starting to go around and slowly I just left school because I just had way too much work and I ended up here.
JP – What is it about the concept portion that interests you the most?
JL – It’s really… I mean, like we read books and we see movies and stuff and we try to come up with our own cool stories. But, it’s always cool when a director or somebody… like a 3rd party, being like, ‘I have this project coming up and I want to show this to everybody and I have this cool idea in my head but I can’t draw it, can you do it for me?’ And then when you listen to the story, you kinda get into it and you just want to bring his/her image to reality. Just, that part really excites me. Just bringing someone else’s idea to life but using your creative influence.
JP – That is interesting. I honestly have never thought of it that way, because when you read of a book, you’re making this world in your head and… no matter how good a movie of a book is, it’s never going to be as good because the one I create is going to be better – it’s more tailored towards me. I can see the craft and the excitement there might be from taking someone else’s idea and bringing that to fruition. That’s interesting.
JL – Right. I mean, sometimes it’s very boring. *laughs* I mean, most projects I work on, the first pass is always my favourite because that’s where they’re kinda like, ‘Oh, you know, let’s see your take on it.’ And then I just go nuts. I just do this really cool drawing and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, you know, it’s a cool drawing but I kinda want it this way and they start dumbing down your drawing a little more, a little more…
JP – Yeah, I can see that first pass being the best.
JL – Yeah, it’s always the best. Like that recent project I worked on that I showed you which we can’t speak of.
JP – Yes. They love it when you do that by the way *indicates the YouTube audience*. They love it when you reference stuff they can’t see.
JL – Like, you like that first pass right?
JP – Yeah, I loved that first pass. We should stop talking about it because, like I said, they love that stuff…
Hennessy – That was a good pass!
JP – It was, it was a great pass. Trust me… in a couple years you’ll love it.
JP – So, what was it about this project that interested you the most?
JL – Uhm… Well, when I was a kid I grew up playing TIE Fighter. I didn’t play any Wing Commander games.
JP – That’s alright, you’re not going to get in trouble, I’ve said specifically I never played any Wing Commander games before I got here.
JL – You should be shot.
JP – I think Ben thinks that.
JP – Ben probably thinks that but everyone else is okay with this.
JL – But I was always, I mean I loved Star Wars. I loved Star Trek. And I always wanted to play a game that kinda has that giant universe type of feel… and I feel like a lot of games tried it but it was just… not there. So, that was kinda like my dream – I always wanted to play that type of game and funny enough, I think 2012 while I was working I had some podcast going on… TotalBiscuit. Yeah, he was doing the interview with CR and CR was talking about his game and I stopped. I stopped drawing. And I was just looking at it and I was like, ‘You gotta be… no way. No way. This can’t be happening right now,’ and then that’s when I saw the whole trailer and I got into it and I was like, ‘They’re finally making my game.’
JP – That’s awesome!
JL – They’re finally making the game that I want. And then I was just waiting for it… but I never thought I’d get on the project at the time. Then years go by. I worked with Rob McKinnon, our Production Designer. We were working on a Kanye West music video.
JP – Nice! From Kanye to Star Citizen!
JP – That’s everyone’s career path.
JL – Oh man… but… we were doing some concepts for his music video and Rob liked the work that I did and a couple months later he was like, ‘Hey,’ – real cool too, like in a cool tone – ‘Hey, you want a job?’ I was like, ‘For what? Like… what is it?’ He’s like, ‘Star Citizen.’ I was like, ‘What?! No. No, you’re pullin’ my leg!’ He’s like, ‘I’m Production Designer baby…’
JL – So, that’s how I got on board…
JP – I like Rob.
JL – Yeah, he’s cool. He’s a cool guy. But, that’s how I got in Star Citizen. It’s been fun.
JP – Awesome man. I’ve seen your work, it’s great. It’s good to have you here. So, before I let you go I’ve got some rapid-fire questions…
JL – Oh no…
JP – You ready?
JL – Okay.
JP – Favourite movie?
JL – Favourite movie… Blade Runner.
JP – Never seen it.
JL – *rubs his forehead* Can I go?
Hennessy – Yeah.
*All three laugh*
JP – Favourite video game?
JL – Uh… shoot… favourite video game… Mass Effect 2.
JP – Dude! Word! *fist bump* That’s my 2nd favourite video game.
JL – What’s your 1st?
JP – Metal Gear Solid 2
JL – Ahh, that’s a good game too.
JP – Yeah it’s a good game.
JL – 2!?
JP – Yeah 2.
JL – So, the Raiden one? You don’t like the 1st one?
JP – I love the 1st one… but I like the 2nd one better.
JL – Okay… alright. Alright… okay.
JP – The 3rd one is my least favourite though.
JL – Why?!
JP – Because it didn’t matter…
JL – It totally mattered.
JP – Well… it doesn’t really… it kinda… the only reason it matters is because 4 made it matter… if you really think about it.
JL – Well…
JP – Like, if they had taken out all of Metal Gear Solid 3 and just gave Metal Gear Solid 4, they could have explained everything that happened in Metal Gear Solid 3 in just backstory.
JL – Well, that is true. 4 did have to frickin’ wrap everything together, right. Anyways… rapid fire…
JP – Gotcha… Yeah… these are the fastest rapid fire questions ever…
JP – Favourite ship in Star Citizen?
JL – Favourite ship… it’s gotta be… ooh this is tough…
JP – Oh dude… anticipation…
JL – Favourite exterior is going to be the Retaliator and interior is the Connie.
JP – Huh… why the Connie?
JL – Because Chris Smith… he’s frickin’ awesome.
JP – He is, right? Dude… Chris Smith… *fist bump* He’s not even on here and we’re giving him a shout out. Good job Chris Smith, you’re my man.
JL – Chris Smith… you’re my man.
JP – Alright, well thanks again man for coming on with me. Once again this is Jeremiah Lee and I’m James Pugh – you’ve just met a dev. Point.
*James and Jeremiah point*
JL – Point at who? At that camera?
JP – *points the other direction* Point at that camera… now point at that camera. Alright. Peace!