Orcs, Giant Scorpion Robots, and Barbarians: An Interview with Tyler Walpole

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A couple of weeks ago we interviewed Ed Greenwood, our Guest of Honor at PaizoCon 2011. This time I had the pleasure of interviewing Tyler Walpole, our Artist Guest of Honor this year.

Tyler is one of those artists who just gets it. I don't think he's created a piece I don't love and it's going to be awesome to see him at PaizoCon this year. From orcs battling giant monsters single-handedly, to lone barbarians taking on giant arachnid robots, Tyler's art is dynamic, detailed, and just plain awesome. Tyler's definitely on the list of artists I want to paint murals in every room of my future mansion when I win the lottery.

And he's an illustrating machine, doing work for us (seriously, look how awesome the Master of the Fallen Fortress cover is), IDW on the D&D comic, Hero Games, and a ton of other high-profile companies. We're lucky to have him with us at PaizoCon, and if you're coming out, you should definitely see if you can buy him enough drinks to get a sketch.

And now, on with the interview!

1. A brief bio, where you are from and how you started in the industry?

I am a self-taught illustrator who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. I spent several years trying to break into the comic book industry as a penciler. That ended up being a bit like pounding my head against a brick wall. Lots of offers to do work for free, but no professional (i.e., paid) work. In 2000 I decided to forgo my annual trip to Wizard World Chicago, and instead created a portfolio of black-and-white interior illustrations and went to Gen Con. I talked to every art director I could find on the showroom floor. When I got home, I had an offer to do some work for Palladium Books, and that worked out pretty well, so I kept pursuing more and more game work (and added color into the mix) until I had enough coming in to make the jump to full time. I've managed to stay pretty busy ever since.

2. When did you discover your creative talents?

I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I spent a lot of time in grade school being told not to draw on my homework... now drawing is my homework!

3. What inspires you?

I take inspiration from everything. Movies, games, books, walks in the park, all of it! I have a pretty active mind, and almost anything can germinate in there and come out as something useful for my art.

4. How would you describe your style?

Oh man, I have no idea. John Romita, Jr. once described his work as "Deadline Style"... its as much as I can get done by the deadline. Working in a publishing environment has sort of dictated that I also have a "Deadline Style." One of these days I'm going to spend just as long as I please on something. I'll go back to you after that happens. ;)

5. Do you have a favorite story or character?

Let see... I'm pretty satisfied with most of the covers I've done, my favorite is probably the Orcs of Golarion. It's essentially a Conan vs. the Monster illustration... only in this case Conan is an Orc, and he's dual-wielding axes. Sarah pretty much let me do my own thing on that one, in design terms, and I really enjoyed it.

6. Who are your favorite artists, writers, and/or influences?

Well, here again, it could be just about anybody. Some of my favorites include Donato Giancola, Dan Dos Santos, Todd Lockwood, Greg Manchess, Frank Frazetta, James Jean, Phil Hale, Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan, Adam Hughes, Bill Willingham, and Jim Butcher.

7. How do you juggle freelance work and life?

I skip out on a lot of sleep. No, seriously, I skip out on a lot of sleep. I love my job, but I'm married and have two sons. I do my best to make it to every family function, school event, and baseball game. But, many nights, once everyone is in bed, I sneak back to the studio to make sure I'm on top of my deadlines, and squeeze in some time to develop my own projects.

8. Describe yourself in 5 words.

Living the dream. So grateful!

9. What's the best thing to happen to you recently?

Besides being Artist Guest of Honor at PaizoCon 2011, you mean? I found a publisher for one of those projects!

10. Any advice for aspiring artists?

Practice your art. All. The. Time. Whatever you decide to do, whatever voice emerges through your art, or writing or music, honor it, and do it the best you can... the business part of it will follow. People are drawn to excellence in many forms, so don't try to be like the other guy. And keep at it!

Hyrum Savage
Marketing and Organized Play Manager

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Tags: Constructs Free RPG Day Numeria Orcs PaizoCon Pathfinder Campaign Setting Pathfinder Modules Pathfinder Player Companion Tyler Walpole
Dark Archive

Cool interview with Tyler Walpole, thanks Hyrum.

Would have been a great opportunity to show off a couple of new TW art pieces! (Just saying)

That's ok just give us some more Year of the Ruby Phoenix spoilers in future blogs ;)

Liberty's Edge

Great interview with one of my favorite newer artists!

"I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I spent a lot of time in grade school being told not to draw on my homework... now drawing is my homework!"

Boy, that really hit home for me! I used to get told the exact same thing when I was a kid! :)


I have always wanted to see the stats for that Giant Scorpion Robot!

Sovereign Court

Marc Radle wrote:

Great interview with one of my favorite newer artists!

"I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I spent a lot of time in grade school being told not to draw on my homework... now drawing is my homework!"

Boy, that really hit home for me! I used to get told the exact same thing when I was a kid! :)

As a teacher I can confirm that the correct place to draw is the inside cover of your exercise books. Your handwriting's bad enough without having to see past your doodles, and where am I going to write my comments?

Dark Archive

Go Iowa! Tyler has been a Guest of Honor at Gamicon for awhile now and he's an incredibly easy guy to chat with and generous to boot. I was able to send some of my judges away with some authentic TW art thanks to his generosity.

Silver Crusade

Have to agree that the Orcs of Golarion cover is all kinds of awesome. :)

Liberty's Edge

Great interview...

Dark Archive

I too would like to know more about that giant robot. An piece of art that awesome needs more info to go with it.

Contributor

Mine all mine...don't touch wrote:
I too would like to know more about that giant robot. An piece of art that awesome needs more info to go with it.

My sources say:

Inner Sea World Guide, page 37 wrote:


4709: A monstrous metal scorpion capable of spitting fire from its mouth and tail destroys several villages in western Numeria—the beast retreats into the Felldales after harvesting dozens of living prisoners.

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm certainly intrigued! Numerian equipment showed up in AP #35, "War of the River Kings", by the way. :D


Liz Courts wrote:
Mine all mine...don't touch wrote:
I too would like to know more about that giant robot. An piece of art that awesome needs more info to go with it.

My sources say:

Inner Sea World Guide, page 37 wrote:


4709: A monstrous metal scorpion capable of spitting fire from its mouth and tail destroys several villages in western Numeria—the beast retreats into the Felldales after harvesting dozens of living prisoners.
I don't know about anybody else, but I'm certainly intrigued! Numerian equipment showed up in AP #35, "War of the River Kings", by the way. :D

My techno-magus in Kingmaker will want to get his hands on that.

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