Profile: Illustrator Adrian Smith

A spread from Adrian's book Chronicles of Hate, published by Image Comics.

150722_AS_biophotoAdrian Smith is one of the best-known contemporary fantasy illustrators. Beginning his career at Games Workshop in the late 1980s, he has gone on to work on a multitude of magazine and book covers, and as a concept artist for games developers EA Mythic and Ubisoft. His books include Imago, published by Seoul Visual Works; Chronicles of Hate, published by Image Comics; and Eastania and Westania, a trilogy of books by Priest creator Hyung Min-Woo. Below, he reveals the key events in his career, and his tips for other artists.

Tell us about your journey

I wasn’t able to get a place in art college, so I’m pretty much self-taught. Going into the local bookshop and browsing art books from the likes of Rodney Matthews, Ian Miller and Chris Achilleos was a real inspiration for me to try and do the same.

My first breakthrough was early on when my dad phoned the Games Workshop studio and asked if they had a job for me. (I was freelancing at the time with them). I knew nothing about this, and so was embarrassed and also very happy. Thanks dad! Working at that first in-house job, I was lucky enough to rub shoulders with great artists, which was an education in itself.

How do you want to impact the world?

Ooh! That would be a long list. At the minute, I’m concentrating most of my efforts on my Hate IP. The second Chronicles of Hate graphic novel is out later this year and I have a board game being designed around the IP by my friends at Guillotine Games.

This is keeping me busy but my real aim for the IP is to have the story animated. My first choice for animator would be Alessandro Bavari. His animation Metachaos is just sublime.

What are you passionate about?

I’m not comfortable when not working on something, so really my work is my passion: it takes up 99% of my time. But I also like to model scenery and paint miniatures. I’m a part-time wargamer and very much enjoy making everything look pretty for each game we have.

What would be your #1 advice to other artists?

It’s a crowded market at the moment – much more so than when I started. This seems to be a good and bad thing: good, because the more scribblers we have on this planet the better; bad, because the competition is great.

Advice? Well, certainly don’t give up. Accept the ups and the downs in your career. It all takes time: time to improve, time to build your portfolio – which should never stop growing – and time to find your niche. Use your time wisely, with lots of drawing and sculpting whatever and whenever you can.

Talk to other artists. Be prepared to face the failures as well as the victories. Keep going!

Related Links
Visit Adrian’s ArtStation gallery
Visit Adrian’s website

 

A spread from Adrian's book Chronicles of Hate, published by Image Comics.

A spread from Adrian’s book Chronicles of Hate, published by Image Comics.

Cul'nar: character art from Adrian's book Chronicles of Hate, published by Image Comics.

Cul’nar: character art from Adrian’s book Chronicles of Hate, published by Image Comics.

Rashnaar: character art from Adrian's book Chronicles of Hate, published by Image Comics.

Rashnaar: character art from Adrian’s book Chronicles of Hate, published by Image Comics.

Zapravo: character art for Conan, Monolith's upcoming board game.

Zapravo: character art for Conan, Monolith’s upcoming board game.

Troll: art for Blood Rage, CoolMiniOrNot's upcoming board game.

Troll: art for Blood Rage, CoolMiniOrNot’s upcoming board game.

Serpent Warrior: art for Blood Rage, CoolMiniOrNot's upcoming board game.

Serpent Warrior: art for Blood Rage, CoolMiniOrNot’s upcoming board game.

Baby Gluttony; a character illustration for The Others, Guillotine Games' horror board game.

Baby Gluttony; a character illustration for The Others, Guillotine Games’ horror board game.

The Hell Club: artwork for The Others, Guillotine Games' horror board game.

The Hell Club: artwork for The Others, Guillotine Games’ horror board game.

Spawn: illustration for Games Workshop's book Warhammer: Warriors of Chaos.

Spawn: illustration for Games Workshop’s book Warhammer: Warriors of Chaos.

Khorne: illustration for Games Workshop's book Warhammer: Warriors of Chaos.

Khorne: illustration for Games Workshop’s book Warhammer: Warriors of Chaos.

Cover art for Hyung Min-Woo's trilogy of books, Eastania and Westania.

Cover art for Hyung Min-Woo‘s trilogy of books, Eastania and Westania.

In The Jungle: illustration from Hyung Min-Woo's trilogy of books, Eastania and Westania.

In The Jungle: illustration from Hyung Min-Woo‘s trilogy of books, Eastania and Westania.


About the author

Jim Thacker is a contributing editor for ArtStation Magazine.