Hue Vang is a recent graduate of University of Wisconsin-Stout from the master of fine art in design program. He was part of the team that created the indie game “Everend,” which won first place for Best Visual Quality at the 2017 Intel University Games Showcase. Vang’s latest project, “Sun of the Children,” won the People’s Choice Award Art Contest at the 2017 M+DEV Conference in Madison as well as Best Independent Game at the fall 2017 Stout Game Expo (SGX).
Vang is currently polishing the game with his team to present it at the Intel University Games Showcase at the Game Developers Conference 2018. The showcase will be streamed live on Twitch on March 22, 5-8pm.
What sparked your interest in art?
Superhero comic books and cartoons in the late 80’s and early 90’s really caught my attention. I was particularly interested in the detailed, dynamic human form represented in this genre. The works of Jim Lee, Dan Jurgens, Todd Mcfarlane and Joe Maduriera really inspired me to improve my drawing skills at a young age. All through grade school, instead of playing outside during summer break, I would stay inside and draw all day.
What styles do you prefer?
Right now, I like the balance of extreme detail with extreme simplicity. This isn’t restricted to mark-making, but can be attributed to character design vs environmental design, color palette vs character/world design, or character vs narrative.
How do you approach your artistic process?
My process usually starts with music. I’m not a musician, but listening to music, primarily instrumentals, tells a unique story. From those stories that emerge, anything is possible.
Do you just start projects and see what happens or do you start with a plan?
It’s a bit of both. I’m interested in creating characters or stories and embed them into gameplay. Most of these things are created because of one ‘moment’, which is discovered through random music. ‘Moments’ are usually the climax of a story. Once this ‘moment’ is established, then everything else will be designed around it, which begins the plan.
How would you describe your artwork?
Currently, it’s a mix of eastern and western influences. From the east, I really enjoy the works of Wing Shing Ma, Makoto Shinkai and Hayao Miyazaki. From the West, I love the works of Glen Keane, J. Scott Campbell and Joe Maduriera. A combination of all these styles pretty much describes the look and feel of my artwork: dynamically calm, or intensefully peaceful. Interestingly, all of these artists work in comics and 2D animation. It’s a visual style that I’d love to see more often in games.
Do you have any big plans for the future?
Aside from the Intel University Games Showcase later this month, I plan to publish my thesis game on Steam. If there is strong support and interest from players, I’d love to continue working on it.
Is there anything that stood out during your time at UW-Stout?
I really enjoyed the flexibility and opportunities at Stout, especially the GDC trips. Many game students I met from other schools wished their game program did the same. Having the opportunity to be a part of and present the games I’ve worked on at GDC is also pretty awesome.