domingo, 22 de octubre de 2023

Interview with Katrin Dirim, digital artist

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Katrin Dirim is a self-taught illustrator based in Turkey with an interest in ancient and medieval art. Her art has been featured in several fan publications from the Jonstown Compendium, such as the Sandheart Volume Two, A History of Malkionism, The Six Paths, and most notably Ships & Shores of Southern Genertela, as well as in official Chaosium publications such as the RuneQuest Starter Set, the Pendragon Quick-StartThe Prosopaedia, and the Cults of RuneQuest series of supplements. In 2021 she even won Chaosium's Greg Stafford Award for Gloranthan Fandom, which recognises "a significant and exceptional contribution to Gloranthan Fandom". I am a huge fan of her art, so I decided to ask her if she would be interested in being interviewed. She kindly accepted, so below you can read the interview with Katrin Dirim.

>>>Puedes leer esta entrevista en español<<<

Katrin Dirim with some samples of her Gloranthan-related art

Hi Katrin, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. How is it going?

Hey, thanks for the opportunity! Things are pretty well, it’s been a busy few weeks.

What have been the main influences in your art? What are your favourite artists?

Well, the biggest influences are historical art styles, from Minoan frescoes to medieval Islamic miniature art. Something that really impacted me was seeing color reconstructions of ancient Greek and Roman statues. If you’re only used to seeing the white marble, it can be strange and a bit garish at first look, but they’re actually beautiful! For me seeing them first was quite a long time ago and it really made me reconsider what ‘ideal’ art is and look at a lot of both historical and more recent art in a new way. More recent art history is something I’m probably not as familiar with as I should be, but I really admire Gustav Klimt’s art, and quite like the Art Nouveau style. I also have to mention Kalin Kadiev, Agathé Pitie, Loïc Muzy and Ossi Hiekkala whose work is in a lot of older, current and upcoming Runequest publications and is absolutely brilliant.

Your art stands out by being colorful and full of intricate detail, in a way that reminds people of ancient art. Do you do a lot of research for inspiration?

Yes - I’ve collected a pretty massive folder of reference material over time. Myth and history have been big areas of interest for me pretty much all my life, and I draw a lot from that as well.

A demon and the goddess Inanna in a bad mood, two pieces of non-Gloranthan art by Katrin Dirim

How was the process of teaching yourself to do digital art?

Pretty chaotic. I didn’t start out completely from scratch as I did attend an art course focused on pencil sketching back in school for a few years, but that was years ago and I never fully got the hang of that back then. I first started out with digital art doing heraldry, and then kept on doing things I was interested in and learning the basics as I needed them. It’s probably not the ideal way to learn, but it works much better for me as I am notoriously resistant to formal schooling on any subject.

What software do you usually use for your digital art? Have you ever used any more traditional materials?

I use Clip Studio Paint for almost everything, and Inkscape for vectors. As I mentioned, I did some pencil sketching as a teen as well, but haven’t picked it up again since.

The White Moon Legion

What is usually the process you follow when you start working on a commission?

It depends on the commission. At the most basic, I start with a sketch, do any revisions necessary, and then finish the piece. There might also be multiple rougher sketches to show options for compositions and similar things depending on what the client is looking for.

What kind of commissions do you enjoy the most? Do you prefer to have lots of art direction or to have free rein?

Generally, I really like it when I have a lot of information to work with about the figures and themes of the piece but isn’t hyper-specific about execution, but I enjoy working with all kinds of art direction, each is a different experience.

The Holy Land, art for The Prosopaedia

How did you find out about roleplaying games and the world of Glorantha?

I started out in school with some friends and really enjoyed them. I was introduced to Glorantha when I was staying in Berlin. I had to leave my first one-shot session early before it even started due to a migraine, but was intrigued enough to come back and get the core rulebooks. The art especially drew me in. It was so different to what I was used to in rpgs, and presented a world that felt alive in a way that a lot of fantasy settings aren’t.

The first piece of your art I ever saw was a completely customized HeroQuest character sheet. The next one was a picture of an epic duel between two characters, which if I recall correctly, was the climax of that same campaign. What can you tell us about the campaign? Who was your character and what did you like the most about it?

Oh, it wasn’t the same game. The one the character sheet was for never got started, and the duel piece was the end of a one-shot I ran. It was a lot of fun - the premise is that the players are military and civil leaders of a Tarshite city that’s besieged by an Exile army right as the tensions in Tarsh are boiling over into civil war. My favourite things about this was watching the players argue about everything and trying to balance surviving the siege with their political allegiance, and describing a triceratops without naming it and seeing how long it took for the players to catch on. I ran the one-shot again at Chaosium Con this year and it was very fun to see how differently it went.

The HeroQuest character sheet for Katrin's Dara Happan character and the "Duel Beneath the Red Moon" piece.

How did you start working on Gloranthan books? Official and non official!

My first time really working on one was for Nick Brooke, a series of Lunar illustrations in the style of a drawing I had done of Teelo Estara. I’m still really glad to have worked on that, the pieces for that are still some of my favourites, and it opened up the door to pretty much all the work I’ve done afterwards!

You did all the wonderful art for The Prosopaedia book: How was it like to tackle all the art in an official RuneQuest book?

I loved it! I got sent an early version of the book and told to just pick out what entries I would like to illustrate. Each entry has a little description of how the deity is usually depicted, which already gave me a lot of ideas. I enjoyed varying the style in-between entries too, and choosing what is most appropriate. One of my favourite pieces for example is the statue of Seseine, which is inspired by the Artemis of Ephesos.

King Heort finds the Second Son at the end of the Great Darkness, a piece of art by Katrin in The Prosopaedia.

I specially love the pieces you did for Ships & Shores of Southern Genertela, with mythical landscapes where cities, land and air are represented by the deities of those same domains. What was the main reference for that kind of composition?

Thank you, it's some of my favourite work I've done. The general idea for the compositions was born while Martin was trying to explain what sort of image he wanted. It took me a bit to come up with something for the first piece, but we were both really happy with the result and I kept working on more and more locations in that style.

What has been the most difficult piece of art you have done so far, and which has been the most satisfiyng to finish?

Hmm, the first thing to come to mind are the early pieces for Ships & Shores, it was really satisfying figuring out the compositions for those. It got easier over time as Martin and I got used to working together and learned what worked best.

Gods and Goddesses of Genertela, one of the many pieces by Katrin included in Ships & Shores of Southern Genertela

Have you noticed your art evolving these years? Where do you see your art evolving in the future? What kind of projects would you like to do?

Definitely. There’s a big difference in my work from today to, say, two years ago. I’m not sure where it’ll go, I’m happy to keep experimenting and learning and see what direction it takes. I’d like to work on more book covers in the future, I’ve really enjoyed the ones I’ve done up until now. I’d also enjoy doing some more work similar to the arms & armor I illustrated last year. I’m also slowly getting into doing some writing - I’ve not really had all that much time and energy to do a lot of it, but there’s one story I think is not completely terrible. I’ll ask you if you’d like to link it here - it’s gloranthan and has pretty pictures so it’s on-topic! 

Oh, I read your story "The Price of Grain" and liked it a lot. There's the link for anyone to read and enjoy. To finish with, if you lived in Glorantha, where would you like to live and what would be your main 3 runes?

Well, I’m not really subtle about my fondness for the Lunars. Where else but Glamour, under the benevolent gaze of blessed Rufelza, could I choose? For the runes, I’d pick Moon, Harmony, and Illusion.

Thank you, Katrin, and keep up the good job! 👍
And dear reader, I hoped you liked this little interview. You can see more of Katrin's great art in her Twitter, Instagram, and ArtStation page. 

To whoever is reading this: What is your favourite piece of art by Katrin Dirim? Let me know in the comments below!

Gods and goddesses in the city of Nochet, art for Ships & Shores of Southern Genertela

Would you like to read other Gloranthan-related interviews? Read my interviews to Kalin Kadiev, David Dunham, and Penelope Love!

6 comentarios:

  1. I didn't know she's self-taught! Her art is truly amazing. We're so, so lucky she's so young, as we'll get to enjoy her work for many years.

  2. It is always a delight working with Katrin! If you want to see what it’s like bouncing ideas around with her, check out the bonus content to “A History of Malkionism,” I’ve shared basically the whole art-direction process plus sketches and line-art.

    The Seven Mothers propaganda at she mentions (her first commission, from me) should be coming to the Jonstown Compendium next year. Some other artwork from that same commission is in “Crimson King,” among the six illustrations of Moon Goddesses (or related entities).

    And I was one of the players in her Chaosium Con game, and can confirm she’s a great Narrator/GM as well as a superbly talented artist. My favourite pic is probably the illustration of my character she produced afterwards, but there are so many to choose from!

    1. Wow, looking forward to seeing those Lunar goddesses, then! 😋
      Is the picture of your character in Katrin's game available somewhere?

    2. It’s in comments here:

  3. It was very rewarding collaborating with Katrin for the many fine pictures she drew for Ships & Shores. She understood the Gloranthan nature of the pictures I asked for, providing an in-world set of beautiful pictures.

    1. Thanks a lot for leaving your experience here! 💯
      Those are my favourite pictures by Katrin so far! 👌


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