7 questions for Vincent Dutrait


Vincent Dutrait. Photo de Derek Thompson
Vincent Dutrait. Photo de Derek Thompson

Today is another one of those illustration magician who answer to the 7 questions. One of those people who by his work and his talent makes us travel in different worlds and adds a very important dimension to the pleasure of playing.

Vincent Dutrait who shared his time between France and South Korea, is a prolific illustrator and his illustrations are always very rich. Out of the Emile Cohl school in Lyon in 1997, he taught there as a professor of comics and illustration. He has illustrated a lot of games like, among others, Augustus, Dead or Alive, Diplomacy, Tikal II, Longhorn, Madam Ching and also Lewis and Clark from Cédrick Chaboussit.

Here are7questions forVincentDutrait.

1 . How old were you when you played your first board game and what was it?

« I was a kid and my first memories of games I remember are Inkognito, The Mysteries of Peking; Fireball Island, Black Cannon, among others. And I also have fond memories of Dungeons & Dragons, the Black Eye for role playing. « 

2 . Why and how did you decided to illustrate board games ?

« In the early 2000s, I took my first steps in the game world (since 1997 I only worked for the youth edition) for role playing games (Guild 2) and magazines like Backstab and D20. One thing leading to another, I met the Asmodee team who offered me Dead or Alive. Thereafter I illustrated a few games with a form of interruption until 2009 and a « return » in the game world with Water Lily and Tikal 2. Since collaborations are connected and I’m working on 3 ~ 4 games projects a year. « 

3 . What are your 3 favorite games company and why ?

« There’s a lot … but to summarize, I would say Ticket to Ride, Tikal 2 and recently Robinson Crusoe. I also enjoy many small card games, games for two players, those called abstract. But too often monopolized by mountains of things to do, I lack time to play and I have a soft spot for games that provide a great sense of accomplishment. Those in renewed pleasure because of the diversity of approaches, those who make me live an experience. Even if I miss my game, I want to have some final satisfaction of having completed a development, a story. And without driving me mad. Also very sensitive to images and to the meaning they convey, I need strong and immersive universes with accomplished aesthetic and tidy. « 

4 . For you what is the best combination for illustrate a game successfully ?

 » This is a very delicate equation . Over the collaborations, I seem to have identified several parameters including three essential . The first is a story of the cursor. Find – upstream – the right tone , the right approach to stick as close to the game as possible and from what it feels . What is the target ? Is the game more family oriented or more advanced players even long run players? What will be the most suitable optical adapted to the images ? A capital gymnastics to get the project back on track . Then it is more technical. The illustration is in the service of the game , as a cover for a novels or illustrated album for young readers. The difference is that for the game, the artwork must sit and transmit mechanical . The relationship between the structure , the material, the mechanic of the game and the impact of images is very very important. The illustration must not interfere with the smooth running of the game, but instead make it fluid , the illustration must be legible at a distance or in hand to give body to an action, an effect, a character, an existing environment… Finally, I do not illustrate a game for a publisher but to the players. We must keep in mind that the illustration must transmit and share the intentions of the author, the story , depicts the universe. I can communicate with players via the colors, framing, staging and choice of representation. « 

5 . How do you proceed to illustrate a game ?

« First of all , while bringing docs and references together , I want to play the game and even at the state of the very basic prototype . This allows me to better understand the mechanics but also capture the  » feeling  » around the table, what the players will tell, how the game will be  » put to words « . This is very important because the illustrations are not intended to be viewed on screen or only in hand. A token will perhaps spend most of the game on the table , a card returned , a board viewed from various angles and viewpoints. I need to understand the use to be made of my images to organize them the best way . Once the tone and guideline are seated, I just sketch everything , board, cards , tiles, etc. . I work with the editor to adjust all this because even with a good overall vision of a game , it is not always easy to capture all the subtleties and discussions always turn constructive . Then I get out my paints and brushes , my paper, and start coloring that it is referred to as « traditional » . I only use the digital and computer to adjust or prepare sketches for example my images for printing .  »

6 . What advice would you give to someone wishing to illustrate a board game ?

« Feed yourself images continuously. Be curious. Play, play a lot and get involved. The game world is encoded with its successes and crashes, habits and traditions, modes and its pillars. I follow very carefully everything that is done and said through forums, websites, blogs, videos. Not to be always up to date but to understand and learn, develop and enrich my imagination and my techniques to offer players new experiences and new approaches through my illustrations. « 

7 . Could you give us some information on your next project ?

« These days, I work hard on a script for the game TimeStories from Manuel Rozoy with Space Cowboys. This is particularly complex and dense, very narrative. There are a lot of cards and some consist of large panoramas in which players will progress. It is a universe and a medieval-fantasy adventure in the same spirit as Dungeons & Dragons. I am also delighted to immerse myself in these fantastic and strange moods and hopes to shine the eyes of the players! « 

Thank you Vincent for your time. For more information on the work of Vincent: http://www.vincentdutrait.com/

V. Dutrait atelier

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