Since posting my e-mail address on the SCRAMM message board I have received quite a bit of mail, a lot of it from artists looking for tips and advice on how to improve their work. I enjoy helping others by sharing my knowledge and experience. Teaching gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, not unlike a shot of whiskey on a cold day. Among the numerous letters was a request from TaXicab asking if I could contribute an article each month for the Adventure Developer web page. It sounded like fun so I agreed. But I wasn’t sure what to write about.
Since my expertise in adventure games lies mainly with art, I initially thought about writing articles on my illustration techniques. But that seemed pretty dry. What I think would be more interesting and useful is to have an open forum for people to get feedback on their artwork. Viewers can submit a piece of art for me to review. In this forum I could talk about what I have learned over the years and how it would apply to that particular piece.
I shared the idea with Taxicab and he liked it. He even suggested ‘Tiller Techniques’ as the title of the monthly feature. Clever name, but I must admit that the techniques aren’t all mine. In fact, most of my knowledge comes from teachers I have had, illustrators I have met or worked with and other artists I’ve admired over the years. While at Cal Arts I learned from professional designers and animators, many of whom worked at Hannah/Barbara, Disney and Pixar. While working at Lucas Arts I learned much from the likes of Peter Chan, Bill Eaken, Larry Ahern and Steve Purcell. Another source of learning came from observing the illustrations of some of my favorite artists such as the Hildebrandt Brothers, Brom, Edward Gorey and NC Wyeth, just to name a few.
So hopefully I can pass what I have learned from them on to you. I’ll try not to make my column boring, and to this end I’ll use lots of illustrations and examples of what I am talking about. I will need to, because as you can probably tell by this article, I am not a professional writer. Anyone interested in submitting art for me to evaluate please contact TaXicab. I can’t promise I will be able to evaluate everyone’s submissions, but I will try. I’ll also do my best to give you feedback in a timely manner. You can submit any art style you wish. You’re not limited to the adventure game genre.
To all of you aspiring artists interested in my proposal, hit the drawing board or the Wacom tablet, whichever you prefer, and send me your best stuff. Why not? It’s free!Bill Tiller