Concept artist James Clyne began working in video games and then turned his sights towards designing films like Avatar, Transformers, Star Trek, and War of the Worlds. Clyne filled io9 in on his favorite designs and projects.
Why do you about love being a concept artist?
As a concept artist, you just never know what will be asked of you. It's that crazy problem-solving design energy that I crave and is exactly why I wanted to go into this profession in the first place. It's also a true collaborative effort, working with like-minded artists, craftsman, photographers and directors. This is not something you accomplish in a vacuum, you're constantly working with others with a common goal in mind.
What's your favorite project that you've ever worked on? What was that project that really let you put your personal stamp on it?
Oh, that's a loaded question if I ever heard one. If I say one in particular, then I push the others to the side like a forgotten toy. Rather I'd say there is one that from a design point of view, had the most pure, raw design to develop. That one would be of course Avatar. A concept artist's wet dream due to the amount of hardware, world building, and technology that was required in the visual development phase.
The project that allowed me to put the largest stamp of personality was probably J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. Working with the Production Designer, Scott Chambliss, was a real pleasure in that he gave me a lot of room to explore and develop the material. It's rare to have your early designs make it all the way to the final cut, but on this show, I was lucky in that it happened quite often.
What's the funniest or weirdest piece of concept art you've ever seen? Or alternatively, just the most awesome piece?
Oh man, Jean Giraud, "Moebius" never ceases to amaze me when it comes to interesting, satirical, erotic, and simply original art. The work he did for the original Alien and Dune was amazing from a concept art point of view.
Finally, is there a tutorial on some aspect of concept art that we might be able to show readers?
Sorry, I've wanted to put together some kind of tutorial forever — I do however have the series of Gnomon Workshop DVDs you guys can check out anytime.