Remember when Dreadknux said that you could “get in touch” with us here at TSS? Well, a visitor of ours did. He has been featured here before and wanted to showcase his improvement for all of you. I said, “Well, hey, your improvement is so great and your art has always been awesome. Why not do an interview?” And here we are… about to sit down with “Hazard the Porgoyle,” a guy who “lives to recreate Sonic boss battles.”
Brad Flick: Welcome back to the front page, Haz. It’s great to finally talk to you. I’m a big fan of your boss battle art.
Hazard the Porgoyle: Thanks… and thanks for featuring me here at TSS again.
Brad Flick: No problem. So, what inspired you to start recreating boss battles from Sonic?
Hazard the Porgoyle: When I joined deviantART in 2005, all I had to present were a couple of Sonic Adventure Egg Carrier clay figures and some fancharacter drawings. I did obtain a Sonic Adventure 2 Battle strategy guide prior to that, and in it was a render of the Biolizard. I figured, “Why not recreate that model on paper, then insert the background around it?” So, for a couple of years I carried around a (rather shoddy) hand drawing of just that. When I drifted away from hand drawing and delved into Macromedia Flash 7, I thought, “While I’m trying to learn this program, I might as well see what that old picture looks like when redrawn in Flash.” I posted the result, and (even regarding its quality) it was a hit. (Nowadays, and after a load of edits, that picture looks a little something like this http://hazard-the-porgoyle.deviantart.com/art/The-Prototype-The-Biolizard-87732400 ) From there, I began to think, what other seldom drawn scenes from the Sonic series can I put a new perspective on? Such is my motto today.
BF: Cool. You were featured a year ago in the “Fanatics” series when we were in the blog format last January. The series only ran for a few months, so not a whole lot of artists were highlighted here How did that make you feel to be featured?
HP: At the time, (and even today) it couldn’t have felt better. It was such a pleasant surprise, (surprise is an understatement – I nearly jumped out of my skin) and I will certainly cherish the memory of that January morning forever. It started so normally, except that I had 48 messages out of nowhere, and continuing my morning routine by visiting my favorite Sonic Fan Site I found, well, you know. Alas, after a time I was troubled – I saw how my skills were growing, and how by comparison, quite a few of my pictures had an off model Sonic and completely unrealistic shading.
BF: You thought that you had unrealistic shading then? You certainly look like you’ve gotten better at it. Do you think that you’ve improved a lot in the last year?
HP: It would seem that risks make all the difference. As time has passed, I not only improved my shading (switching from slapping radial gradients on everything to Photoshop 7’s Burn and Dodge tools) and accuracy, but also started playing with even more dynamic perspectives. My accuracy standards have also driven me to never leave any stone unturned. (Action Replay float codes anyone?) Details I thought were “good enough” in the past… not so much nowadays. If I had to bullet point it all, it’d look something like:
– Started drawing Sonic correctly.
– Vastly improved efficiency. Pictures that may take others a week to do can be completed in a day or two by me.
– Learned how lighting works in the real world, and have applied that to my shading techniques.
– Starting expanding the cast found in my pictures.
– Started to truly understand Geometry and Perspective, leading to more dynamic scenes.
BF: It shows. Your DeviantArt profile is full of your boss images. What have you accomplished since starting your DA profile?
HP: Now I’m starting to wish I left one badly drawn picture for comparison, but hey, that in itself is an accomplishment. As I have improved and expanded my skills, I’ve extensively overhauled my Sonic Boss gallery to make sure every moment of the Sonic Series has equal representation through my hands. Specifically, my greatest accomplishments have to be my large animation projects. “To End a King’s Reign” and “For the Fallen Land’s Fate…” both take all of the same elements found in any still picture, and sets them into motion. But no, this doesn’t mean they’re perfect, (they are quite repetitive) but what I have learned form those projects can and will lead to bigger and better things. Oh, and nearly quadrupling my Boss gallery in a single year ain’t too shabby, neither.
BF: It also is amazing that you’ve managed to touch base with almost every game, including Sonic Labyrinth! What do you hope to do with your boss battle art, if anything?
HP: I don’t plan on things changing too much – I draw solely for the people of the Sonic community, just to see their reactions to finding that “Hey, someone does remember that boss.” I’m learning what I hope are skills that will better my chances of working in the field that I hope to enter, but other than that, these pictures are for the fans.
BF: What are your other works of art that you are proud of?
HP: Outside of Sonic bosses, I may not do much, but when I put my skills towards other projects, I make it count. Case in point, in Spring ’09, Chicago held its Farmers Markets Reusable Bag Design Contest. No prizes for guessing who won that and got their picture taken with the mayor. Closing statements: People of the Sonic Community, it’s only because of you that I have improved at all. Without feedback, I’d still be stuck in yesteryear’s patterns. Comments are always valued, and I hope to build my knowledge for the production of even greater pictures and animations. Brad, I cannot express my gratitude for you taking time out of your schedule to create this article, and I hope it marks the beginning of a productive and fulfilling year.
BF: And just for fun… which Sonic games are your favorite?
HP: There can never be a clear cut winner (I seem to go through phases with this sort of thing), but it boils down to Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, and Sonic Rush Adventure. The rich level design of S3&K keeps it from getting stale, the replay value of the hunters’ stages and Chao in SA2B keeps it fresh, and Rush Adventure’s fast and frantic boss battles are always a joy to experience.
BF: Thanks for the interview, Haz. It was great to hear about your improvement as an artist.
HP: No, thank you. Being featured here is an honor.
BF: Before you go… tell me… what the hell is a “porgoyle?”
HP: I knew this wasn’t going to conclude without that loose end being tied up. Porcupine Gargoyle, my friend. I was only about 11 or 12 when I made that really awkward concept up.
BF: That’s… really ridiculous. Oh, fancharacters…