EverQuest II has some incredibly talented artists on our team. This week we sat down with Amanda McNair, who worked on the Shard of Love and the Battlefield of Ganak. She does amazing work. Thanks, Amanda!
What do you draw from for inspiration for your art in EQII?
I tend to draw my inspiration from everyday life and what is going on around me. When I visit museums, watch movies, or even flip through catalogues, I’m always checking out architectural elements and trying to decide how it was built, or taking pictures so I can use it for reference for my environments. For instance, the new movie Alice in Wonderland has some awesome visuals and is currently inspiring me with what I am working on for the next expansion.
What’s your favourite part of EQII?
My favorite part of EQII is checking out all the different zones and characters that my fellow artists have created. It’s great seeing all the different art styles that we each have on display, yet they all seem to fit together and exist in the same world.
What's your favourite thing that you've done for EQII?
I recently completed the art for one of the Battleground maps—Iksar Ruins (capture the flag). It was really fun to work on because while I was in game testing everything out, I imagined that I was running around with a flag on my back, trying to avoid being killed by the other players. I also created the zone, Shard of Love. I was given a lot of creative freedom on this zone as far as creating the look and feel and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
How did you get started in the industry?
I started at SOE as an intern and have been employed here ever since. I received my Bachelor and Master degrees at East Tennessee State University and then moved to San Diego with a fellow student and friend. Several other artists that attended my school were already living in San Diego and employed by SOE and other local game studios, so San Diego was an easy choice. Knowing these other artists in the industry was extremely helpful in my search for employment. I met a lot of them while I was still in college, as we were always at school working until the wee hours on our projects and we got to know each other really well. We all still keep in touch and some of us have worked together on various projects over the years.
What are some of the other projects you've worked on?
I actually have only worked on EQII -original EQII, all six expansions and two adventure packs—almost eight years and counting!
Do you have any special (or just super fun) projects you're working on now for EQII?
I am working on a new dungeon - top secret as of now ;) - that will be really unique and interesting. It’s really pushing me creatively to think outside the box.
Do you have any advice for aspiring game artists?
If you are currently attending art/gaming classes, I would suggest making friends with your fellow classmates. You never know which friend will land that perfect job, and someday will be able to recommend you for a position at their company. While I was in college, I was in our school’s computer lab all the time working late, but also having fun with my fellow classmates without really knowing how valuable this time would turn out to be. After graduation, when I was choosing where to relocate, it was a no brainer to move to a place where so many others from my school had succeeded before me. There have been many success stories amongst our group relating to helping each other find jobs at any point in our careers. These friendships are the most valuable aspects of my education.