Meet the Artist: Nicolas Bouvier (AKA Sparth)

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  05 May 2005
Quote: Aside from that, another instant fan here!

here too , heh .

  05 May 2005
Sparth, I've been loving your work for a long time. My question is about your palette. You seem to always use the same brownish/reddish hues. Is it because you feel comfortable with it, something impossed from outside for your recent works, your current animic situation?...
  05 May 2005
I've always been a big fan, especially the Prince of Persia art.
You are one of the artists that can be said to have a distinctive style. Your work always has a "this was done by Sparth" feel to it.

Are you ever going to put a tutorials section on your site? And what photoshop tools do you find yourself using the most?
  05 May 2005
i'll be honest and say this is the first time i've heard of u too,but damn....glad i did hear of u,excellent work.

what programs do u use? painter/photoshop?

how did u go about getting into the industry?
  05 May 2005
Congratulations for your excellent achievements, you is a large
representative of our colors, good continuation.
  05 May 2005
Sparth is a class act individual...i had the pleasure of hanging with him at the first Concept Art US workshop in Austin Texas...

Even though i knew his real name, I kept calling him Sparth, but it seems Jason and crew did the same thing...which brings me to my question..

How did the nickname Sparth come about? It's catchy as hell...
Master and Servant Thread
  05 May 2005
Beautiful images.

It seems from the images here at this topic (sorry, this is the first time i've heard of you, but i'll definently remember you) are pretty much science-fiction based.
Have you always been intrested in that, or have you had times when you had other interests?
Of course, people can't paint only one type of images all the time, but many just have breaks, what I mean is long times with painting mostly other types of paintings.

As I said, I really love you work.

Best regards, Øystein Sollesnes.
The tool doesnt make a good artist. If you gave me Leonardos pencil, I still wouldnt be able to paint Mona Lisa.
  05 May 2005
Ah, another thing I wanted to ask you since some time ago: don't do those Dune worms look too much like David Lynch's ones? Is it some kind of honour to him, just because the editor wanted them that way, or any other cause?
  05 May 2005

I have a been a fan of your work for some time. Your unique use of color and the texture you achieve on your canvas is really something. Therefore, I would like to ask you a bit about your technique, because I can't find much info on it.

1. Do you build up you colors on the canvas or do you have a predefined palette which you stay true to?
2. How do you build up your shadows, which seem really rich? Do you use dark saturated colors, or black, and do you start from dark and then build up the detail, or do you continuously darken things until you have the degree of contrast you like?
3. How do you obtain your texture? Only with brushstrokes or do you apply texture layers over your painting?

EDIT: I just checked your website and had most of these questions answered. Thanks for the tutorials.


2D Illustration -
3D Architectural Visualization -

Last edited by andreasrocha : 05 May 2005 at 03:15 PM.
  05 May 2005

Just wanted to say I am also a fan of your work...inspiring stuff especially for someone new to digital painting. On that note thanks for contributing to "Illustrations with Photoshop" book. It was very helpful and great to know that awesome artists want to help others start in the right direction.

My question is: Have you ever wanted to translate any of your pieces towards traditional materials (ie watercolour, oils...etc) and if so how difficult would it be to recreate your wonderful blends and look traditionally.
  05 May 2005
hello all
glad to be able to give answers to your kind questions
i`ll do my best

cg219: 1. Why did you want to become a Concept Artist?
- i guess it was the only thing that caught my attention at first. not of course the job in itself, but the fact of being creative. i started doing a lot of artistic related stuff at a very early age. that's the way it goes i guess concerning dreamy kids. they like painting and drawing because it remains the best way to express themselves.

2. Do you find yourself doing any work with indie groups nowadays?
- hum not particularly.

3. Were you ever part of a Indie group?
- not at all. i like all kinds of music, but i feel more conmfortable when listening electronic and ambient feelings.
4. How is it in the Ubi Soft Studio?
- fine really. lots of talented peeps. we're still growing today. the studio is slowly transforming into a town of its own.

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
- hard to give a definite and fast answer for this one. i will probably talk about it later on though. on a technical point of view, my inspiration comes from my surrounding world. you just have to open your eyes in order to understand how light, colors and shades work.
i also think my general inspiration comes from my past. the way we think and see things at the present time, all of it comes from the culture and education you've had since youth.
and of course, i have my favorites artists that keep my motivation active. there are many, coming from all kinds of horizons. i'll probably develop this point further on.

6. Is your work completely digital or do you also use pencil and paper?
- i have removed the scanning process and sketches a few years ago. i work digital 100% of the time. but this doesn't mean i am not doing a few sketches aside sometimes.
it is just that i don't scan them, keeping them for other use than digital.
i love working traditionally. digital helps you gain time, and it is a different type of excitment.
besides, i have been working traditionally for years.

7. Would you agree to help out a small indie game group?
- i always keep the doors open. however, i admit not being able to do much more than what i am doing now. schedules are tight.
sparth construct

Last edited by sparth : 05 May 2005 at 02:04 PM.
  05 May 2005
wow, nice stuff, I really like the rich colors, not sure if you have any interest or inclination, but a few training dvds if your techniques via gnomon, would be a nice extra sideline. I would be a customer.
  05 May 2005

1.what's life like working for Ubisoft as a concept artist and illustrator ? how was it like developing prince of persia?
- i had a great time working on Prince of "persia Warrior Within" really. i started at the beginning of the project, which adds to the pleasure. as it is always more rewarding beginning a full project from the start.

2.from your illustrations, you seem to have this influence with the sci-fi and fantasy realm, correct me If I'm wrong, I often judge artwork to soon.
- i like exploring new atmospheres, entering into themes that i'm not familiar with. but true, i remain fascinated by the sci-fi world and all the ideas connected to it.

3. How long have you been working in the games industry? have you played other roles like 3d artist or 3d character animator?
- i started working in Paris, in a small multimedia company called flammarion multimedia, it was around 96. but the adventure did not last long, mainly because the so called multimedia industry was already going down during that period. later on, i went to Darkworks Studio. i began freelancing at first, and slowly, i started doing more and more stuff, as the company's needs were growing. this is where it all started, for my case. i considerer having started my true artistic career in this company.
and no, i haven't had the chance to work for other fields unfortunately.
i did many 3d experiments ten years ago. was fascinated, but i never showed a thing.
i don't miss not doing 3d though. i work with extremely talented 3d guys all day long, and i would not feel at the right place if i had to do what they do really

5. Heard that you've done visual communication before, is graphic designing : book cover illustrations still one of your favourite careers?
- yes you're right. i really feel there are two fields to explore. professional work on one side, working in the industry, giving all i've got in order to participate to big or smaller projects. the only condition is to remain excited, stimulated by the games you're working on.
(but then again, the artist is a pretty lucky dude, because even though sometimes projects can become boring or unchallenging, he can always concentrate on the image itself. it happened in the past. it's a very important fact according to me. for an artist, the finished images can be as important as the whole game. it is not selfishness, more a way to keep going forward and produce good art no matter the projects they're done for).

the second field is far more personal. book covers illustrations are like a one shot mission. you give your best for several hours, during one or two days, sometimes a bit more. true, publishers have sometimes definite ideas of what they want to see on the cover, but most of the time, i remain free of imagining the whole thing. i am lucky enough having publishers asking me for covers because of my style. it's a huge honor, and i do my best in order to give them what they want. it's a pleasure showing all you've got without any constraints.

6. This might seem abit ambitious but, do you plan to own your gaming or animation studio someday?
- i don't really think i'd have much dexterity in managment in order to create such a studio. true i dreamed sometimes about creating a concept studio with close friends. who didn't?
it would allow each artist to remain up to date concerning all the technical aspects of the profession. and keep the communication high between artists. but there are other ways to do it. the web allows everything nowadays.
sparth construct

Last edited by sparth : 05 May 2005 at 07:29 PM.
  05 May 2005
Hey Sparth, been a fan of your works for...too long!

Just wondering, how does it make you feel when people compare your work to Craig Mullins? Or even worse, call you a Craig rip-off?
(which AIN'T true!)

thanks for your time Sparth

  05 May 2005
carbonmatter: Got to see you at the concept art workshops in Austin last year (what a sweatbox - but boy was it worth it!) and really enjoyed it.

- hehe true. we did suffer a lot from the heat. i'm glad you had a great time. i did too for so many reasons. i would have liked to do so much more though.

carbonmatter: Out of curiosity, when you're doing concept art on a game, is most of your input at the onset, or do you find you are continually refining and adding material as the game progresses? At what point are you 'finished' the concept work, and then what do you do?

- i like finishing pieces even though we have to sometimes go back and add extra layers and details to scenes. i guess it really depends on the project you're on.
on warrior within, we had no time for second passes. everything had to be done the right way on the first pass. concerning the prince itself, we did take time in order to slowly find new ways of making him more funky and dark. but that's the way it goes when your define main characters. on environments, we had to go straight to the point as fast as we could.
it is not particularly a bad thing too, short productions are indeed intense, but it is worth it in some cases.
during the pre-productions and productions, concept artists often begin working strictly on fast concepts. it is later on during the end of the prod that they tend to do more marketing art and stuff for magazines and the medias. (however their aim is not at all to do what the marketing artists do. they don't act like replacement artists. they just add their vision to the whole marketing process).
still, on warrior within, we had to imagine concepts until the very last minutes of the productions. quite unusual, as most of the time everything happens in the first half of the project.

even more important, concept artists give their best when they are smartly driven. it was the case on POP warrior within. our artistic and creative directors (michael labat and jc guyot) knew what they wanted, and what direction to take for the main look of the game. it helps a lot.

carbonmatter: Also, what was your experience in film work like - worth pursuing for you?

- i haven't done enough in the film industry to build myself a strong opinion on the subject.
in 1998, my friend mathieu lauffray asked me if i was interested to work for christopher gans, who was developing "20000 leagues under the sea" at that time. i worked during a month on the nautilus submarine, pretty fun. but these events are too far back in the days for me, and i couldn't have an opinion from this experience.
i don't know yet if the fact of working for the movie industry is easy to combine with a family life. i guess i'll discover it for myself later on. i'm really opened to any kinds of career circuits from the moment i'm having a fun and balanced life.

thanx dan
sparth construct
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