Interview with Pirkka Harvala

The responsibility for bringing the setting of Orlandes and its denizens to life was not solely down to the writing and required some pretty awesome artwork to accompany it. Enter the talents of Tin Man’s Finnish artistic magician, Pirkka Harvala! Pirkka shares his experience (in his own unique style) of working on An Assassin in Orlandes and his love for fantasy illustration.

Firstly, how did you go about deciding what to illustrate in the gamebook sections?

Well, I was given a list with titles and what section to illustrate. I found that it was quite easy to work out what to illustrate. The scenes in a script were well described, so it wasn’t difficult to imagine a picture. I  cautiously read every word in the section that needed to be illustrated and in that way the image popped in my head. Of course while I was doing a painting the picture might change and come alive in various ways. Lucky for me I guess I have sense for dramatic scenes or situations, which probably comes over from movies, TV series and other fantastical paintings.

Your art style is beautiful. What techniques do you use?

I try to utilise both techniques – traditional and digital. I first sketch several thumbnail sketches on paper then end up working up those sketches digitally. Sometimes I use a 3D program to help with designing small spaces or structures. Then I paint over, adding some details onto a rendered image. It is a fast way for me to create images and also a great way to find nice viewing angles. In cases where time is limited I directly sketch in digitally with a Wacom tablet which makes things so much easier nowadays. On An Assassin In Orlandes I worked completely in a digital way.

Are there any other artists that inspire you (alive or dead)?

Oh, man. There’s many artists who inspire me, living or dead, but I’m actually inspired by every image that I have seen and I am also inspired by
my surroundings which includes life, movies, music – everything! If I have to name some artists I would suggest classical or romantic painters such as W.A. Bouguereau, J-L Gérôme, J. W. Godward, J.W. Waterhouse, E.B. Leighton. Not forgetting too, Finnish traditional painters, such as Albert Edelfelt or Akseli Gallen-Kallela. From living artists I would choose Michael Komarck, Todd Lockwood, Aleksi Briclot, Marko Djurdjevic, Dusso, Brom, Robh Ruppell and Jeff Easley. There are so many!

You obviously have an eye for fantasy. What other fantasy based games do you like?

A recent game which I played was Dragon Age: Origins on PC. I played it through in two weeks. It’s a good old “hack ‘n’ slash” RPG with a epic story. I liked it a lot! I like to play RPGs similar to games like Baldur’s Gate on a computer or console. I have also been playing traditional pen and paper role-playing games for almost 19 years. I’m never going to stop as it keeps your mind healthy and your imagination vivid.

If you could work on one project, what would that be?

A very tough question. I have dreamed about working on a fantasy or cyberpunk movie as an concept artist,  like the LOTR trilogy or Blade Runner. It would also be nice to work on the film from Finnish mythology, Kalevala. It would also be great if I got an opportunity to illustrate some covers for some printed fantasy or sci-fi books.

Thanks Pirkka. Expect to see him illustrating again on upcoming Gamebook Adventures titles for Tin Man Games! If you’re interested in hiring Pirkka for a project then contact us and we’ll happily pass on your details to him. We think the quality of his work speaks for itself. 🙂

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