Mark Gibbons

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Mark Gibbons "Red Knuckle" is a concept artist for Blizzard. His artwork in the Warhammer universe, created while he was at Games Workshop, is some of his most iconic and well-received work. Recognizing his talent, Blizzard offered him a position and enticed him to move from Europe to work in their Irvine office. He was the seventh artist to join the Sons of the Storm.

Background[edit | edit source]

Mark Gibbons.

In the words of Mark himself:

"I left art school after a fortnight painting with custard and gravy to join a rock band - not perhaps, the wisest of moves considering my subsequent choice of career."

"Hailing from Cardiff, I cut my creative teeth in Welsh kid's TV before Games Workshop lured me into what I fondly regard as my 'spiky period' in the early 1990s. Over the next six years I scribbled away, creating artwork for almost every game and supplement GW produced before the birth of the Sony PlayStation woke me up to a whole new world of possibilities."
"I first freelanced for Eidos Interactive before joining Sony's Cambridge Studio, initially as a Concept Artist. Put to work developing the studio's first PlayStation 2 title, Primal, I became the team's Lead Artist where, in addition to my traditional role as 'pencilsmith', I found myself directing motion capture sessions and writing character dialogue. After four years with Sony and a second stint at Games Workshop, the wanderlust led me back into the turbulent waters of the freelance until an opportunity too good to pass up saw me set sail for Southern California and a senior position at Blizzard Entertainment."

"When not hunched over a drawing board, I can usually [be] found in my garage, swearing loudly at a motorcycle."[1]

Interviews[edit | edit source]

Mark was interviewed by 3D Total while he was working on the Playstation 2 title, Primal (published in 2003). In the interview, he told a bit about himself and what he did as a lead artist.[2]

3D Total: Tell us a little about yourself.
Mark Gibbons: I'm a 37 year old illustrator who, more by luck than judgement, has found himself Lead Artist at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. It all began some 18 years ago when I dropped out of Art College because they made me paint with custard and gravy. I touted my portfolio around Cardiff (my home town) and eventually the nice folks at HTV gave me some freelance work, providing illustrations for Welsh language children's television. I suppose my 'big break' came in 1990 when I began working as an artist for Games Workshop. I consider the ten or so years I spent with them to be something of an apprenticeship. People like John Blanche and Jes Goodwin taught me an enormous amount about illustration and design. It's certainly where I learnt my craft and developed an artist's eye. I look back fondly on what I've come to describe as my 'Spiky Period'. As far as video games are concerned, I'd been playing games since the Mega Drive but it wasn't until the release of the original PlayStation in 1995, that I began to realise that here was a potential avenue of creative employment opening up. Games like Tomb Raider and Resident Evil demonstrated a new, exciting visual sophistication that I thought someone with my art background could contribute to. When I first entered the industry, just five years ago, it was very rare to see Concept Artist vacancies advertised - developers usually had a 3D artist or two who could hold a pencil and rough some sketches out - but today, most studios worth their salt employ a full-time Concept Artist on each of their projects. I joined Sony Cambridge in 1999 as Concept Artist. The role grew gradually over the next twelve months until I became Lead.

3DT: Explain the role of a Lead artist - what do you do?
MG: The role can vary depending on the team dynamic. Essentially the Lead Artist's job is to set the artistic style for the game and then supervise production of the game art by the rest of the team, ensuring that the fundamental style is adhered to. One of the most challenging aspects when working with a team of fifteen artists, which was the size of the Primal art department during much of the production, is to ensure they're all producing work of a consistent style and quality. The Lead Artist should also expect to contribute to the core game design, offering creative ideas along the way. From a day to day perspective, the work can vary greatly. Since my background is in traditional illustration I spend much of my time producing concept designs for characters and locations. I came to Sony with no 3D experience but am now producing a small amount of in-game models and textures when I can find the time. Primal was the first game I'd been involved with from initial design phase right through to completion.

Artwork[edit | edit source]

Mark maintains a personal website where you can view numerous pieces of his artwork.

Diablo III[edit | edit source]

Mark signs his artwork "MG". The official Diablo III artwork gallery has many pieces attributed to him. Here are some examples of his work: Fallen Hound concept, Dune Thresher concept, and Wood Wraith concept.

World of Warcraft: Trading Card Game (WoW:TCG)[edit | edit source]

Mark has also done card art for the WoW:TCG (list of cards with art attributed to him).[3]

Game Credits/Experience[edit | edit source]

Video Games[edit | edit source]

  • 2010 - World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Blizzard Entertainment; Concept Artist
  • 2010 - Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard Entertainment; Concept Artist
  • 2008 - World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard Entertainment; Creative Development Artist
  • 2008 - Nightshift Legacy: The Jaguar's Eye (2008), PlayFirst, Inc; Additional Level Design
  • 2007 - The Nightshift Code, PlayFirst, Inc; Special Thanks
  • 2006 - 24: The Game, 2K Games; SCE Staff
  • 2003 - Primal, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd; Lead Artist, Concept Art, Cutscene Direction, Additional Design, Additional Scriptwriting
  • 1997 - Final Liberation: Warhammer Epic 40,000, Mindscape International; Extras
  • 1996 - Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, Mindscape International; Manual Illustrations

Illustrations[edit | edit source]

  • 2006 - Knights of the Grail: A Guide to Bretonnia (Warhammer FRP), Black Industries, Cover Artist
  • 2006 - Old World Bestiary (Warhammer FRP), Black Industries, Interior Artist
  • 2005 - Karak Azgal (Warhammer FRP), Black Industries, Cover Artist
  • 2005 - Sigmar's Heirs: A Guide to the Empire (Warhammer FRP), Black Industries; Cover Artist
  • 2002 - Dwarfs: Stone and Steel (Warhammer FRP), Hogshead Publishing Ltd.; Interior Artist
  • 1999 - MechWarrior, 3rd Ed., FASA Corporation; Interior Artist

References[edit | edit source]