Meet artists behind DanTDM fan art, Dei Gaztelumendi and SeedSeven

We gave three of Europe’s most talented game concept artists who have worked on projects like Battlefield 3, Alien and Dozer, one mission. The task for artists Dei Gaztelumendi, SeedSeven and Joakim Hellstedt was to create the best fan art ever made of DanTDM; one of the world’s biggest gaming commentators on YouTube, using Adobe mobile apps and workflows.

After the release of the videos, we sat down with Dei Gaztelumendi and SeedSeven and asked for an insight into the project, their inspiration and how mobile is changing their way of working. A summary of our conversation is shared below. Read our chat with Joakim Hellstedt here.

What were your main inspiration sources for drawing DanTDM?

Dei Gaztelumendi (DG): Given the premise of the project, the main inspiration was Dan DTM himself and his Minecraft avatar. I chose to combine both of them into a character design in my own style. I particularly enjoyed designing my own version of Grimm, the skeleton dog that has sometimes accompanied Dan’s avatar.

SeedSeven (SS): We took great inspiration from the video game’s covers and characters, with a ‘classic’ hero posing. Another great source of inspiration was Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which you can see in the artwork as Dan is face to face with his virtual avatar.

Can you tell us a little more about the character you created – why did you design him the way you did?

(SS): I mixed features from the ‘real life’ DanTDM (like his face, haircut, earrings, or even his pugs!) and from his virtual avatar, like his outfit and his glasses.

Is there a particular point in the creative process that you see a character moving from concept to having a ‘personality’? At which point did this happen during this fan art challenge?

(DG): It is actually the other way around. You must have a sense of the character’s feel and personality first, and it should be this that then informs your design choices. Hence, for this fan art challenge, I first focused on imagining the kind of personality I wanted to give my character, and then allowed that to inspire my drawing in order to convey that same feeling to the viewers.

How does it make you feel when you see your characters come to life? Do you become attached to them in any way?

(DG): It is definitely a great feeling to see the characters I design become animated, there’s always an emotional attachment with the characters you design. Some may be characters you admire, and others might be characters whose personality you might despise – but that is a connection nonetheless.

What do you think is the difference between what people think you do and what you actually do?

(SS): That’s a running joke we have at Two Dots (our creative studio) – we have no idea what people think we do! Although video games are a passion during our spare time, it’s a very professional environment – we’re not playing all day long!

Do you have any advice for young character designers out there?

(DG): My advice, based largely on the type of character designs that I enjoy from other artists, would be to not get carried away with technique and rendering, and to pay more attention to the essence, personality and originality of the characters. A roughly drawn character that feels true and genuine is way more attractive than the most masterfully rendered, but clichéd or dull character. At least that’s my opinion.

Which part of the creative process do you find the most exciting while using Adobe’s mobile apps?

(DG): For me, the early rough sketching stage is the most enjoyable and rewarding. Being able to bring sketches I might do on paper directly into Photoshop without the need of using a scanner or even being close to my computer (just using my smartphone) is pretty cool. I also want to experiment with the Capture app more, that’s an interesting Adobe mobile app to me.

(SS): It’s great how you can easily shape your ideas wherever you want with Sketch. For instance, I was able to test various compositions while flying to the fan art shoot.

Make it on mobile

Mobile is changing creativity as we speak, as professionals rely more and more on their smartphones and tablets to create great work, anywhere, anytime. You can get started too by downloading Adobe’s free mobile apps.

To view the artists’ portfolio on Behance, visit Dei Gaztelumendi and SeedSeven.