Art War Champion - Blair Armitage

Art War Champion - Blair Armitage

The Art War is over and now it's time to celebrate the winners of this epic journey!

In this first interview, we chat with the Art War 3D champion herself, Blair Armitage. Coming on top against hundreds of contestants is an incredible accomplishment and we're extremely excited to get to know her more!

Have a look at the full interview below and feast your eyes on some of her gorgeous art!

Miscellaneous facts about Blair:

  • Tools/Software of choice ➖ Zbrush, Quixel, Substance Painter, Marmoset Toolbag
  • Inspirations ➖ Akihiko Yoshida, Hyung-Tae Kim, Yoh Yoshinari, Glen Keane. Everyone on my Artstation feed ;)
  • Coffee or tea ➖ Tea with milk and sugar
  • Good habits ➖ Finishing projects
  • Bad habits ➖ Forgetting to use keyboard shortcuts
  • Favorite movies ➖ Pan's Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, Wall-E, Princess Mononoke, Your Name
  • Favorite games ➖ Final Fantasy 9, Dragon Age Origins, Xenoblade Chronicles, Dark Souls, The Witcher 3
  • Favorite music while doing art ➖ Video game OSTs
  • Future goals ➖ Work on a game that I would love to play, and for someone to cosplay a character I've made.
  • How do you bounce back from a bad day ➖ Talk it out with friends, try and change my perspective
  • What is a good day ➖ When something experimental turns out to be a success, good banter at work

Can you introduce yourself?

Hi! I'm Blair, I'm from West Yorkshire in the UK and I'm currently working as a freelance character artist.

What got you into 3D art, when did it all start?

I was just a nerd who loved JRPGs, anime, DeviantArt and designing my own characters. I had no idea how game characters were made, but I just kept drawing them. I went to Art College and was discouraged from all that by the tutors, but ended up applying to a Game Art course at University regardless. I really struggled with 3D at first, but as soon as some of the senior guys showed me Zbrush, it all started to make more sense.

How did you get to the level you are at today? Did you study in any particular way you would recommend?

University is great for finding out where your interests lie, and meeting people who expand your horizons. Its also a great opportunity to have three years where you can really focus and study. In addition to that, I learned the most from doing online competitions, going through the character process over and over again until I managed to get a job in a studio. I was lucky enough to be part of an amazing team who taught me loads, and would never settle for mediocre quality work.

Why did you enter the Art War?

It seemed like the first large scale event in a while which captured the feeling of the old school competitions where I first saw some of the legendary artists. Back in those days I was still so new I didn't have the knowledge to make anything close to what was in my head, so I wanted to try and apply what I've learned over the years, and have fun talking with the community.

To come on top against hundreds of other contestants is an amazing feat, why do you think you did so well, and what are some things you would do differently?

There were many incredibly well designed and brilliantly executed entries, so its really hard to say! I tried to stick to simple shapes and harmonious colours. In the end I think I could have pushed stylisation more, with a bigger, more intimidating weapon, and maybe made the boar a bit more demonic too.

Other than your own hard work, are there any particular things you can think of or people you can point to that helped you get to the level you are at today? Basically, is there anything you're thankful for?

I'm hugely grateful for the community. Anyone who was willing to make tutorials, or share processes and insights, thank you! I'd like to give shoutouts to Del Walker and Cameron Small for showing me what character art was at University, the character artist team at Frontier Developments for teaching me and generally putting up with me, and Al Crutchley for always supporting me while I was stressing out over getting my Art War entry finished.

Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists out there who might be looking to get to your level one day? What's your recipe for success?

Keep making the things you love and find inspiring. Don't be pressured into making something you hate, but try and find ways to diversify your portfolio in fun ways and challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone every so often. I would also say getting a job in industry is just the beginning. Try and make sure you are never the most experienced or knowledgeable artist in the room, as there are so many incredible working artists to learn from who might not necessarily have an online presence.

What do you think the Art War experience taught you, and would you participate again next year if you could?

It definitely taught me to be adaptive, and be willing to change my plan to fit time constraints. In the past I was inflexible and usually missed competition deadlines because I was too set on seeing a certain workflow through to the end. As for next year, yes! I'm excited to see what the theme will be!

Any final thoughts? Anything you want to add?

Big thank you to all the Cubebrush staff and judges for your hard work. Big congrats to the other finalists, I loved all your entries and it was impossible to pick my favourite. Also, thank you to everyone who was kind enough to offer critique or support in my work in progress thread. On to next year's Art War!


Email: [email protected]

Facebook: @BlairArmitage

Twitter: @Triangle_soup