Into the Numinous with Robbie Trevino

Into the Numinous

Part 1: Imaginative Storytelling and Design

Part 2: Process and Design

In this two-part course on ArtStation Learning, designer and illustrator Robbie Trevino shares insight from his career journey from aspiring artist to the creator of his own universe. He discusses his influences, disappointments, and successes as well as insight on how to create a universe made up of rules and strict principles of design.

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“All the things that I wish I had known starting out – this is the way you get to know those things. It’s a road map to everything you need to be a happy and successful artist.”

Robbie Trevino is a freelance illustrator and concept designer based in Seattle, WA, specializing in surreal and sci-fi creature and character art. He is the creator of Numinous and has also worked for a number of clients including Valve, Wizards of the Coast, Microsoft Studios, Mondo, 3D Total, Tool, Aether Audio, Paizo and many more.

In this interview, Robbie discusses his unique art style, times of professional and personal growth and gives more insight into his personal project, Numinous.

Most memorable learning experience:

After a 2 year run as a freelance illustrator for intellectual properties like Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons, I soon found myself working in house at Microsoft Studios as a concept artist on AAA Xbox game titles. This mixture of problem-solving for both illustrative and design-based problems for a very aesthetically stylized game really gave me the tools to form the “style” or aesthetic my current body of work is known for.

Organic shape language, in particular, is something found everywhere in my current work. It’ one of the first places my mind wanders to with endless fascination. My obsession with organic form language began to take hold once I began work at Microsoft and really understood what design was and how it worked. Creature design in particular regularly calls for these design motifs and it’s the perfect area of focus for me to really feed that aesthetic addiction. The biology of animals, insects, and creatures has always fascinated me as well. I learned a lot of this in my earlier years as a concept artist in AAA games.

Also, I recently made a handful of poster art pieces for the musical band “Tool”, a source of inspiration I had grown up with throughout my teenage years. The opportunity to creatively collaborate with them was truly a dream come true.

Behind the course:

This is more of a two-part lecture or “real talk” on my personal industry experience over roughly 8 years and all that it entailed. I want this course to serve as a sort of checklist for the handful of unexpected professional happenings and potential opportunities schooling simply could never have prepared me for – things that any creative professional could potentially encounter and how I dealt with them. This course will also delve into my artistic journey finding my own personal creative voice as well a look into some of my creative processes. Simply put, it’s a creative podcast with “Uncle Robbie”.

We’ll also discuss my personal project Numinous and all the experiences leading up to its conception. Numinous is a surreal and fantastical world of creatures and characters as well as a representation of my “Artistic Rebranding”. It was a period of change and growth in my personal and professional life. Think of Numinous as a visual metaphor for myself trying to leave a world that no longer excited me for one that truly did. Earth is so boring.

1 sentence of advice:

Just create the things you enjoy creating. Otherwise, what’s the point?

What students need to prepare:

With an optimistic, hungry and creative mind.

ArtStation Learning courses are included in all ArtStation premium subscriptions. Find out more >

See more of Robbie’s work here.

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About the author

Sierra is the Editor of ArtStation Magazine.