|Thomas M. Baxa has been a professional illustrator and concept artist for over 20 years. Tom works primarily in the role playing game industry and has done art for Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: the Gathering, White Wolf, Fasa, and many more. He also does work for Video Games and Films, and is developing his own properties.|
"Tom Baxa has a very unique and brilliant approach to his art. He
has this loose energetic style that really grabs you. I was a big
fan of his for years before I became his friend.... good job Tom!"
-- Brian Snoddy, Artist
ďTom Baxa doesnít paint pretty flowers. His passion lies in painting worlds made up of monsters, zombies and demons. Iíd highly recommend this DVD for any artist who is interested in exploring the darker side of thingsĒ -- Jeremy C. Cranford -- Creative Manager, Upper Deck Entertainment
ďTom's work has always pushed the envelope with shear raw energy. His Images are wrapped with palettes of subtle variations to full blown high chroma and they will tear your face off given half the chance.Ē -- Mark A. Nelson, Artist/Teacher
"Tom Baxa continues to be at the forefront of all things rotting and decayed. His textural style lends itself perfectly to the subject matter closest to his heart. Whether it is zombies from the grave or fairies from the midden heap, the end result is always well executed and delightfully disturbing." -- Ben Thompson, Art Director -Upper Deck Entertainment
|Press + Interviews:|
|Links to some friend's sites|
|In My Own Words:|
1. "Can you introduce yourself for the people who don't know you?"
Well, Iíve always had an aptitude and love of drawing since I was little. I spent a lot of time reading comics and watching classic horror films. The art in comics inspired me and I sketched a lot when I was young. My grandfather was a commercial artist and used to do beautiful marker renderings of my favorite superheroes for me when I would sleep over.
I knew very early on that I wanted to be an artist. Luckily, my high school had a pretty extensive art program which gave me a good introduction to a variety of mediums. Iím thankful for all the training and encouragement I received while there.
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and I wanted to go to a college close to home to get more formal training in art. When I heard that Northern Illinois University had a working comic artist teaching there, I enrolled. I studied under Mark Nelson (a comic and fantasy artist), and his enthusiasm towards art and his gracious efforts to open some doors lead to a very rewarding career as a freelance illustrator, first inking comics, then mainly illustrating for role playing games.
At age 33, I moved to Southern California to expand my horizons a bit, both personally and professionally. I worked at Westwood Studios, a video game company, doing concept and in-game art for Nox, Nox Quest, Red Alert 2, and Yuriís Revenge. Two years later, Iím out freelancing again full time as a concept artist for the film industry, doing fantasy art, and working on personal projects.
2. "In which games have you published artwork? In which do you think you've accomplished "real good stuff"?"
Iíve done tons of stuff! Which is pretty cool. Some of my bigger contributions were to Dragon Magazine, both covers and interiors, as well as several TSR game lines. I was one of the main interior artists on Dark Sun, the Monstrous Compendiums, and a host of other Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books. Iíve done a bunch of stuff for FASA, including covers, color interiors and b+w ink drawings for the Shadowrun, Battletech, and Earthdawn universes. Iíve also worked on various CCGs, including Magic the Gathering. Iíve also had my work published in Spectrum 5 & 6, The Art of Shadowrun and The Art of Forgotten Realms.
I hope that Iíll continue to grow and my best work will be my most current work, but I did do some of my best work during my 4 years as a staff artist for FASA. The art director, Jim Nelson, was an artist himself and afforded me a lot of room to experiment artistically. I grew a lot, especially with my oil painting. I did some of my best work for them. I was also freelancing during that time and got to do some covers for smaller companies where they gave me a lot of latitude, creatively. Those are some of my favorite pieces.
3. "How did you like working at Westwood Studios?Ē
Before I started at Westwood, I had never been on the internet and had only a cursory knowledge of computers. The job there has helped me grow tremendously in that area. Which is a lot of fun! I learned a lot from my colleagues at Westwood; especially Phil Robb, Jason Zirpolo, and TJ Frame. (check out their sites in my link section).
Iíve become fluent in PhotoShop and 3D Studio Max (a 3D modeling program) and have been making models and textures for video games. The nice thing is that this knowledge also translates well for web design as well as other areas and has really broadened my horizons. But, as much as I enjoy making images on the computer, Iíll never abandon my love for traditional drawing and painting.
4. "Which living fantasy artists do you really appreciate?"
I respect a lot of the artists working in our field, and try to learn something from all of them. Some of my favorites would be Brom, Jeff Easly, Rick Berry, Mark Nelson, Dave McKean, Mike Mignolia, Phil HaleÖ.I could go on forever! Thereís so many people doing nice stuff out there.
However, Bill Sienkewitz will always hold a special place in my heart. He was my #1 influence growing up. I still greatly admire his gutsy approach to painting and drawing. He is often fearless in the way he puts down a mark, and has a lot of energy to his line. Heís one of my all time favorites!
5. "What's your goal when doing a painting? Do you put a lot of personal touches in a piece even when an art director's instructions are tight?"
Well, I think I end up doing that whether I consciously try to or not, but I think more than anything I try to come up with a character or environment or action scene that is evocative and exciting. Or maybe creates a mood, whether that be action or a creepy feeling deep in your gut.
I also like to challenge myself to use light and color expressively to help heighten the mood and push me in new directions as an artist. Most of the time, the growth is gradual, but always personally rewarding.
6. "Of all the illustrations youíve done, which is your favorite?Ē
Thatís a hard one. And it changes a lot. I find a lot of joy in many of the illos I do. Sometimes a simple black and white ľ page illo, that I took a lot of chances with, gets closest to the way I want to draw and I like it because it represents a time of growth and thatís a lot of fun for me! I have a lot of parts of illos that I really like because of that. Sometimes I really like a painting because of a particularly scary character I created.
7. ďWhat mediums do you use?
For black and white illos, I like to do pen and ink drawings. I use a crow quill pen on Bristol board. Sometimes I add tone to the drawings with black watercolor paint. I do pencil line drawings and marker renderings for concept work. And for color, I paint oils on gessoed masonite. I also like the results I get with gouache on really slick hot press illustration board.
8. "Are you into comics? games?"
I used to be into comics a lot! I bought the mainly for the art and it seems that there isnít as much chancy stuff being done these days, so I donít buy them too often. I was a big toy collector, but have slowed down on that too. I do enjoy small amounts of everything now like movie, books, comics, toys, you name it.
9. ďAny last thoughts?ĒYes, Iíd like to say thank you to everyone who has every supported me in my efforts to pursue a life as an artist. And that I really appreciate when someone is genuinely interested in my work. I hope that I my work will continue to delight and inspire (and scare) the folks out there, as much as other artistís work has inspired me. Look for great things from me in the future.
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