When I saw that Mighty Boards had selected Iella (Daniela Attard) to do the art for Petrichor (on Kickstarter now), I looked her up immediately because I knew I’d seen that art style before. Sure enough, I remembered her from her Ugly Duckling book Kickstarter back in 2015. I loved the style back then, and I think I might have even talked to her about a future APE game project!
I had a chance to talk with Iella about Petrichor, technique and Cartoon Network.
Iella: Wow I can’t believe how many people remember The Ugly Duckling as that was one of my first crowdfunding/self-publishing adventures!
APE: How did you get connected with David to work on the game?
Iella: David and I have participated in a few game jams before! It also helped that we are both originally from a small place called Malta (population 400,000) – you do tend to know everyone especially within the same age group or interests.
APE: I think Malta is turning into quite a gaming hub! Game reviewer Richard Ham (Rahdo) is also from there. It seems like much of your work is character design, yet Petrichor is 100% nature. The work you did on this game will almost surely lead to other similar projects. How would you feel about becoming ‘the nature artist’?
Iella: I welcome the challenge to be completely honest. Drawing natural backgrounds really pushes me out of my comfort zone which is great for my own stylistic development.
APE: My favorite art in Petrichor is the game board. It’s genius to have the leaves blowing across the wind part of the board, the drops on the rain side of the board, etc. What’s your favorite piece?
Iella: My favorite piece was the painted logo. It has come a very long way since the first concept and I am really happy with it now.
APE: Is there anything you’d like people to know about your technique or the tools that you use to create art?
Iella: Im a relatively disciplined person when it come to art practice. I do lifedrawing twice a week and I regularly challenge myself to do studies or portraits. Most of my drawings are done while I commute to my day job (bus or tube). Process wise I always start with small sketches for larger/industry work which I then work up to a sketchy greyscale painting before I apply colour and polish off. I use Photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq. (I also have a cheap Wacom bamboo which I use when I need to travel outside my desk space.)
APE: Are there other artists or studios that inspire you?
Iella: I’d be lying if I said no – I’m quite influenced by animated movies, anime, and gaming. Some of my favourite artists include James Jean and Jamie Hewlett.
APE: Oh, Jamie Hewlett does Gorillaz and Tank Girl – great inspiration indeed! I see that you work at Cartoon Network Europe. Is that the dream job that it sounds like it is?
Iella: Pretty much! I work for the central creative team and my responsibilities include drawing character art and concept art. I also do quite a bit of product development so it is a very varied job.
APE: Are there any other projects you’re working on that you can share with us?
Iella: I’m working on a new short comic after I finish all the new art for petrichor.
Staying busy – that’s great! It’s been great talking with you; thanks for your time. We’ll leave readers with a couple of amazing non-Petrichor pieces.