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Paul Tobin, There and Back Again

Fri Oct 10, 2014, 1:28 PM
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Most denizens of the West think of New Zealand as a little known outpost of civilization somewhere beyond Australia at the ends of the Earth.






Could any land be any farther from the European motherland, birthplace of the Renaissance that is the Genesis-point of the visual arts narrative we continue expanding and evolving today?  And yet this remote country of islands in the Pacific has suddenly become a cinematic storytelling powerhouse, a film-friendly factory for the creation of some of the most important touchstone mass entertainment experiences to influence our popular culture in recent years.







King Thranduil, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
& Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.


The digital revolution has liberated the “casts of thousands” from the Hollywood studio back-lots once needed to populate action-adventure epics, and the Internet is changing financing, production and distribution models so drastically as to forever diminish Hollywood’s hegemony over the movie business, with hundreds of smaller, but just as productive hubs becoming new centers of filmed story creation worldwide.


New Zealand is one such center, exemplified by Weta Workshop's role in changing the film-making landscape there, taking advantage of its wonderfully diverse landscape offering several completely different terrains to film in as well as its artistically talented inhabitants.


For over twenty years this creative powerhouse has been at the forefront of conceptualizing and then bringing to reality imaginary worlds. Beyond Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, their work has guided the cinematic visions of films such as King Kong, District 9, Elysium, The Adventures of Tintin, Avatar, and most recently The Amazing Spider-man 2, and Godzilla.


Perhaps Weta Workshop's greatest contribution has been its ability to instill passion and inspiration to all those who follow their creative dreams. One such artist was so inspired eleven years ago through his love of Lord of the Rings and is now a senior concept designer at Weta Workshop.









Knight Errant
by PaulTobin







Peter’s Shield,
Narnia, LWW

©Disney Enterprises Inc. &
Walden Media, LCC. All rights reserved.

















Paul is a conceptual designer, illustrator & graphic designer who has been working at Weta Workshop since graduating from Wellington’s Massey school of Art and Design in 2003.






He has worked on films such as Andrew Adamson’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Peter Jackson’s King Kong and James Cameron’s Avatar and most recently The Hobbit. An artist and concept designer who has had gallery showings of his own original fantasy artwork, he has taken it upon himself to become an advocate for other New Zealand fantasy and sci-fi artists.






“Weta Workshop...” says Paul,



...was the starting point of my journey and my 11 years of adventuring in Imaginary lands with a host of very talented artists. It was an experience that I would never have attained otherwise. Like everyone on a quest, sometimes the challenges can wear you down and that’s where your companions can help you onwards and help support you. For me this was the community that I discovered first at Weta, and then later through a broadening range of artists in NZ and eventually overseas at events like Spectrum Fantastic Art Live and on line like DeviantArt. White Cloud Worlds was me setting out on my own self determined quest to reignite my own creative interest and fan the flames in other like-minded artists.”










Bilbo Costume Concept
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. &
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.









Miraz, Prince Caspian
©Narnia, LWW - ©Weta Workshop
Disney Enterprises, Inc. & Walden Media, LCC.







Radagast The Brown & King Thror - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. &
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.


















The publication of White Cloud Worlds was a major statement demanding original digital fantasy art be considered collectible “fine art” rather than mere disposable commercial illustration.






In the volume’s foreward, Guillermo Del Toro shreds the stale bromide that illustration cannot be fine art because it relies on another narrative rather than standing alone as a singular expression. The best illustration “…pre-empt(s) the literary elements which it is meant to serve. In other words, the image becomes the tale. This is true of the best illustrators of all time: Pyle, Frazetta, St. John, Rackham, Tenniel, Quentin Blake, etc. They all become part of the essence of the book they illustrate and, in some cases, seem to reinvent them entirely.”



Of outside interests informing his art, Paul responds:



If I look at my career in design (I am more designer than illustrator) and my life interests outside of work they tend to revolve around exploration of cultures and archaeology and narrative “quests” in film, like Bilbo and his quest to the Lonely Mountain, the kids in Narnia and their journey to rid Narnia of winter. Even Avatar follows this ‘hero’s journey’.”








Asked about his own “hero” status amongst fans and fellow artists, Paul replies:



Just a note on the ‘Hero’ thing. I am keen not to be portrayed as a hero in the context of a modern day meaning of the word. It's more in context of the film meaning of the word where an ordinary person goes on an extraordinary adventure. Luke Skywalker the farm boy, Bilbo the ordinary Hobbit, a bunch of displaced kids in war-torn England for the kids in Narnia. I was quite an ordinary artist technically when I started out, but it was the journey and dedication that pushed me well beyond my humble beginnings.”









And we are all the richer for Paul’s dedication to his continuing journey as master and advocate of the arts.  His peers and admirers will continue to affirm his “hero” standing in fantasy and science fiction art.


More of Paul’s work can be perused at on his profile page.












Orcrist, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. &
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.


















1.What’s your opinion on the continuing resistance to the acceptance of digital art as a “legitimate” art form? Is it just a general anti-technology impulse or an actual fear of the future and new realities?


PaulTobin







I think within the commercial and wider art community the digital medium has become accepted as just another tool for an artist to employ and enjoy.









The White Wyrm
by PaulTobin




I think the primary resistance lies more in the monetary institutions that trade in “fine” art. Much of the fine art market is defined by the exclusivity of having an “original” and “physical” representative art form and this financial tradition spans centuries. Art is like any long-term investment, you need to protect it and control the criteria by which it grows in value. Digital art is problematic in that there is no “original” or physical representation and duplication is easy, so it’s harder to assign value within the existing art order.


Ironically with the proliferation of digital art many artists are rediscovering and pursuing traditional methods as there is greater value now being placed upon producing art the “old fashioned way”.






2.What was the popular reception of “White Cloud Worlds” like amongst fans and fellow fantasy artists, and what was the critical response to your achievement?


PaulTobin





White Cloud Worlds had a fantastic reception amongst fans and artists alike. I always assumed that it would be well received in NZ, but I was really pleased and surprised at the level of interest we got from abroad. We were always keen to offer up a book that treated genre art with the respect it deserves, but as kiwi artists not take ourselves too seriously. I think this combination of really high level art and informality and fun struck a cord with many readers. I also think the level of professionalism we brought to the project which was in large part due to Kate Jorgensen’s production management skills (I like to think of her as a master artist wrangler) that really helped lift our game and give the artists confidence in what we were promising to produce.






One thing I did feel we improved upon with the second volume was seeking out artists that had less connection to the film industry and a greater number of women genre artists. Ironically, I found many of these new artists here on DeviantArt!







Susan's Horn, Bow & Arrow
©Narnia, LWW, Disney Enterprises, Inc. &
Walden Media, LCC.













3.What do you see as the next level for digital art in movies, video games, etc?  what’s the next big thing that few see coming?


PaulTobin

I think the trend thats become very evident in film and games is the gradual removal of 2D artwork and design in favour of designing and rendering in 3D. As a 2D artist I hope there will always be a place for 2D design, but 3D has the advantage of being one step closer to the final product whether its a in game model or digital effects asset or a prop that can be rapid prototyped for physical use. Programs like ZBrush that work much more intuitively to painting and drawing have really accelerated this process and with the ever increasing demand for digital worlds and the convergence of film and games designing directly into a 3D space is going to become the norm I suspect.




4.“White Cloud Worlds”, your coffee table volumes of New Zealand fantasy artists, has been out for several years now. Do you feel it has made a real impact in how you and your fellow artists are regarded in the fine arts milieu? Is real respect growing for what you do?


PaulTobin

I think the books in combination with the travelling art exhibition (which was seen by over a 100,000 people nationwide) had a huge impact in raising awareness that NZ produces world class fantasy artists. This was especially true of school kids who flocked to the exhibition and became big fans of the books. For many of these young artists it was a revelation that you could make a living producing fantasy art from New Zealand. I think for all of us this generational influence was one of the greatest outcomes from the whole endeavour.






5.What comments have other artists included in the volume reported back to you?  Has the book’s publication changed the lives of some of these talented working artists?


PaulTobin

I think the greatest endorsement from the artists has been there incredible level of enthusiasm and support that spilled over in creating volume 2 and the desire to now do a volume 3 (hey we always wanted to do a trilogy.) I think the community that we have created around WCW has really had an impact, especially around events like San Diego Comic Con and Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. White Cloud Worlds gave us all a product and purpose to take to the international stage and its still unbelievable to me that many of these artists have poured their savings into traveling half way across the world to share in our artist adventures at these events.











Smaug Head Concept, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
&Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. & Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.









Goblin King Head Concept, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
©Warner Bros. Ent., Inc. & Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Inc.






6.With the continuing production of Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” movies coming out of New Zealand, can this “Land of the ‘LOTR/Hobbit’ Giants” sustain as the center of all such epic fantasy filmmaking?  Or is the Jackson phenomenon sui generis and a gradual dispersal of digital fantasy adventure movie production inevitable? Is the model that has been built in NZ being adopted in other parts of the production world?











Bard, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. & Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.


PaulTobin

Whew thats a big question! I think that New Zealand has certainly generated a convincing legacy around fantasy based projects that certainly had its genesis with Peter Jackson. However, it’s long been acknowledged in the NZ industry that we have need to form new creative partnerships with other giants in the fantasy and science fiction industry to stay relevant and viable. When a director like James Cameron actually shoots in NZ then that really helps a much larger part of the industry. At Weta Workshop there has always been a huge focus on diversifying and not limiting ourselves to just working on fantasy project being brought to NZ. A good example of this is the work we do for Neill Blomkamp who shot in South Africa for District 9 and Mexico forElysium but we provided principle design and physical manufacture on.


As for this model being adopted abroad? Well I certainly saw signs of this in Belfast Ireland when I visited the Game of Thrones studio and taught some workshops. They very much reminded me of where NZ was at after LOTR became a global phenomenon. There was the same determination and sense of pride to build a industry from the ground up and to foster local talent while still embracing the expertise of folks from abroad.









Radagast, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. &
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.











The Hobbit Ad
by PaulTobin











Na'vi Costumes, Avatar
©2009 Lightstorm Entertainment









Na'vi Costumes, Avatar
©2009 Lightstorm Entertainment






7.What projects are you working on currently?


PaulTobin

If only I could say… It’s the hardest part of working in the film industry, you get to work on the coolest projects but can’t say anything about it. I just did a fun stint of design work on the new Hercules film starring The Rock and a cool Chinese fantasy film called Zhong Kui: Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal. Then of course there is the final Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies coming out in December.




8.Is there a “dream” project (like your “Atlantis” story) that you hope to one day put into production?


PaulTobin

I have no shortage of dream projects but a serious shortage of time Even with the help I receive from my small team on White Cloud Worlds working and working the full time job at Weta Workshop there seems little time to work on my own projects.


However, things are freeing up a bit and after reconnecting with all my new friends in the US and abroad I am all fired up to tackle some new projects. I guess after helping to build worlds for clients I am really excited to embark on creating my own world and I am at work on a Reimagined Atlantis that I want to produce as both a story and concept design book. So hopefully it will hit Kickstarter later this year, so watch this space!






9.Could you speak about the importance of community in an artist's life artistically, professionally and personally?


PaulTobin





I think with art there's really no right or wrong way about how you learn and thats where community is hugely beneficial. Getting involved with a wider circle of artists exposes you to a diverse range of approaches and helps you find your own path. At a professionally level it's really important step in building up a network of friends and peers that can help you navigate the the challenges of making a living in art. When I first started out as a freelance illustrator I never knew what to charge and so I reached out to other artists for advice as just one example. Now as I get further down the professional road it's more about passing on what you have learnt from hard work and experience to a new generation of artists.




With online communities like DeviantArt it's never been easier to share and at the same time keep learning as well.


At a personal level it's simply about FUN! I love discovering new art and artists and working collaboratively whether it's at work like Weta, a personal project like White Cloud Worlds or talking to someone at a convention or online!


















:iconeskarart:

Even Skaranger


EskarArt

“I really enjoy Even’s bold use of shape language and attention to detail. He also presents his work really well, often giving additional information about the design through graphic design elements.”


PaulTobin



























:iconyip-lee:

Yip-Lee


Yip-Lee

“Yip-Lee was a student at my old design school and I am really impressed with his use of lighting and stylish rendering and design coming through in his more recent work. I hope he keeps cranking out pieces like these as he would make a great addition for White Cloud Worlds 3!


PaulTobin












:iconowl-in-a-box:

Mallie


Owl-in-a-box

“Mallie does great costume design! I love the huge variety of designs communicated with a simple and very effective rendering style. Each round of design is frequently accompanied with a great write up explaining the culture and history behind the costumes. Fantastic stuff.”


PaulTobin
































:iconstucat:

Stuart Thomas


stucat

“Stu had the honor of introducing me to all the awesome that is DeviantArt. He’s a colleague at Weta Workshop and in his spare time he produces what I think is some of the finest anthropomorphic art anywhere. Not only is it technically mind-boggling, its also damn funny!”


PaulTobin












:iconkuvshinov-ilya:

Ilya Kuvshinov


Kuvshinov-Ilya

“Unbelievably awesome work. Enough said!”


PaulTobin











































  1. Before reading this article, were you aware of New Zealand becoming such an important hub of fantasy adventure filmmaking, even beyond Peter Jackson making LOTR there?

  2. Do you agree with Guillermo del Toro and Paul Tobin that fantasy "illustration" should be considered as a fine art when the quality warrants that assessment? Are you tired of college professors, art magazine critics and art galleries deciding what's "real" art and what's just "advertising?"

  3. Paul Tobin has an "Atlantis" dream project. Is there a book, historical episode, children's fable, childhood favorite TV show, movie, cartoon or comic book that would be your dream of seeing on the screen in full LOTR digital glory?









Most denizens of the West think of New Zealand as a little known outpost of civilization somewhere beyond Australia at the ends of the Earth. Could any land be any farther from the European motherland, birthplace of the Renaissance that is the Genesis-point of the visual arts narrative we continue expanding and evolving today? And yet this remote country of islands in the Pacific has suddenly become a cinematic storytelling powerhouse, a film-friendly factory for the creation of some of the most important touchstone mass entertainment experiences to influence our popular culture in recent years.

Writers: techgnotic 
Designers: marioluevanos


For more articles like this, visit depthRADIUS.
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Add a Comment:
 
:icongnomishblend:
gnomishblend Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2017
And.... he's gone.
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:iconforbattleon:
forbattleon Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2016
Share, critique, and improve your photography skills! www.photoshares.xyz
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:iconjamesdesign1:
jamesdesign1 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Student Digital Artist
This is really great article. Big motivation for me! Many thanks for this. I have a one small dream....one day i just want to be a professional Concept Artist (Maybe in Weta...i hope so). I am just a 17 years old, but I really hard working on it. I love painting from my eight years.... :) I drawing anywhere that I can. In bus...on the street...in school hours ( :) ) Although I am from a small country in central Europe (Czech Republic), so I still believe in this dream. So once again thank you very much and Have a nice day!

Greetings from Czech Republic! :) 
Reply
:iconcricketbow:
cricketbow Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2014
1. Yep :)
2. I think everything should be considered. Not just fantasy art. I honestly believe that there should be an age 6 and under room in every museum on the planet. Children at this age have an amazing view of the world and an unstoppable imagination. As we age, we become influenced more and more by other people and things we've seen, as well as "learning" things. A child's art is pure, even if it's only created with a crayon.
3. Fred Saberhagen's Books of Swords.
Reply
:iconthedarkassasin:
TheDarkAssasin Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is amazing! I've been a fan of lotr and the hobbit forever! The settings and costumes are wonderful! Well, consider me a huge fan of yours now, Mister Tobin! Keep up the good work!
Reply
:icongreyeyes20:
GreyEyes20 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is a really cool article, stunning job.
I would absolutely love to see Mr. Tobin's "Atlantis" come to life! He is extremely talented, and it looks like a beautiful project.
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Thanks for the kind word's, I am looking forward to making my project a reality in the coming year!
Reply
:iconrhyn-art:
Rhyn-Art Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014   General Artist
I don't think art like this should be placed in the fine art category as fine art is a different language altogether
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I am not sure if trying to categorise art very useful at any practical level. I once thought that the main difference between "fine" art and other artistic work was whether the artwork was created out of self-self-dertermination over say a commercial brief. To my mind their is a distinction between creating art for yourself over communicating a client brief. That said I think it falls down as a definition as well. Some of the Golden Age illustrators work is now considered fine art and a lot of Michelangelo work was commissioned by the Pope....so whose to say....
Reply
:iconrhyn-art:
Rhyn-Art Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014   General Artist
Very true, Art has changes so much in the last 300 years more so in the last 100, dare I say that Hitler's ideology of real art was only the classical form and he saw anything else as trash or inferior.. a lot of art was destroyed under him due to what he felt but I guess fine art can be adapted to any kind of umbrella genre 
Reply
:iconlenlenlen1:
lenlenlen1 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Professional General Artist
Art is art, so yes.
Reply
:iconelenturma:
Elenturma Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for a great article. :)

The reader questions:

1. Yes, I was reasonably aware of NZ's growing impact in film. I'm from Australia, and it's common to travel to NZ- most of my friends have visited for the skiing and the LOTR/film-making tours. A few years ago I made the trip to Weta Studios and I was very impressed with the displays. The talent and the effort displayed is amazing! The guide we had was part of the industry and mentioned their hopes for an increasingly relevant film industry in NZ- and I for one think they deserve their notoriety!

2. I'm definitely sick of the limits on who decides what's 'fine art'. Especially since so much of what is chosen is that 'highbrow' modern art, which seems to be chosen for it's shock value, or for the rationale of some 'deep meaning', rather than any intrinsic property of skill or ability to affect the viewer emotionally. For me, art is something that speaks to everyone emotionally- college professor and man of the street alike, and it's not limited by genre or media type.

3. This is a tricky one for me... I've read so many good series!
One of my all time favourites is Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time". That is an epic journey, but I don't think it would translate well to film!
Garth Nix wrote a series which I think would translate into a great visual design- in "Abhorsen" he builds up a great description of scenery and characters.
Sara Douglas has written a number of fantasy series, and any one of them would be interesting to see in development.
My favourite new series however is definitely the "Kingkiller Chronicles" by Patrick Rothfuss.

For me however, I've always been into writing rather than drawing- so my current project is teaching myself to draw so that I can illustrate my own worlds!
Reply
:icontwili-sparkle:
twili-sparkle Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
i wonder..in the 9389 if the world keeps up till that year, would old stuff be different than what we call old stuff right now? like the old type of bows and stuff like that are old for us well in the 9389 will guns be the old style for them?
Reply
:iconvesaiasthevaliant:
VesaiasTheValiant Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Student General Artist
A great article, it was enlightening to read it. :D (Big Grin) And now for the Questions:

1. I've heard people had become fascinated by NZ for its diversity of landscape and nature, but I really had no idea the interest was this huge. omfg 
That's why I enjoyed reading this article, it's astonishing to hear that awesome things are going on across the globe in the artistic field. :) (Smile) 

2. I definitely do agree with Guillermo del Toro and Paul Tobin that fantasy illustration should be considered as a fine art, for it's a style that I enjoy myself (modern "simplified" art is so dull). 
If college professors, art magazine critics and art galleries are given the so called privilege to decide what's "real" art, it's simply narrows the perspective. True, these people 
are professionals, but it's also important to notice that common folk view art with commoner's critique as well, and that art has as much interpretations as there are interpreters. 

3. That's a good question. :) (Smile) I'm not too sure, but I think mine would probably be 'TERA: The Exiled Realm of Arborea', or if video games don't count, then 'Saban's Adventures of the Little Mermaid'
(even though it didn't last more than 26 episodes, but it was the best cartoon in my childhood). :D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Speaking of Little Mermaid, have you seen this great piece of fan art :) on DA

Little Mermaid by camilkuo
Reply
:iconvesaiasthevaliant:
VesaiasTheValiant Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Student General Artist
Oh, actually I haven't yet. Thanks for the hint! :) (Smile) I'll take a look straight away. ;) (Wink) 
Reply
:iconmagicalmerlingirl:
MagicalMerlinGirl Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014   General Artist
This was really interesting to read! :) Paul is a really great artist and I love his work on the Hobbit and LOTR, I was really happy to see this article on the front page! :dummy: 
I think The Farseer trilogy could turn out great as a movie,  and I'd love to see a new, well done version of the Eragon film, because the one existing is just horrible.
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Sounds like a remake of Eragorn is a hot favourite! Given the live action version was so poor I wonder whether they should explore a more animated format.
Reply
:iconmagicalmerlingirl:
MagicalMerlinGirl Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014   General Artist
Yeah, haha... Seems like everyone's dissapointed by the live action version.
I think a more animated format, as long as it is really well animated, would really fit to the story and the world it's set in.
Reply
:iconxenbonzacura:
Xenbonzacura Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
honestly, I think it would be cool if someone gave the inheritance cycle a proper chance... they tried with Eragon before and it failed horribly because they didn't follow the book... at all (save fore a few facts you can pull out by skimming even just the chapter names and a few paragraphs here and there)... New Zealand would be a great fit for seeing Saphira soar over Algaesia
Reply
:icontuesdaynightcompany:
TuesdayNightCompany Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
1. My knowledge of New Zealand and film-making started with LOTR.  I have some contact with the movie industry and I've been vaguely aware of it's progress since.

2. I'm pretty tired of "modern art" (i.e. here's a canvas painted blue / a rotting cow head in a box, I'm a real artist, derp derp thx for the millions of dollars) being the only damn thing that sells at the higher end of gallery life.  So art critics and curators can go suck a lemon.  If the illustration is good on it's own merits, elicits strong interest or emotional response from the viewer, then it's art.

3. "Sabriel" by Garth Nix.  The visuals would be AWESOME.
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I was not aware of that particular down-under fantasy series - another one to add to the reading list!
Reply
:iconemmaflorian:
EmmaFlorian Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  Student General Artist
-Before reading this article, were you aware of New Zealand becoming such an important hub of fantasy adventure filmmaking, even beyond Peter Jackson making LOTR there?

Oh yes, I was indeed aware. That country is a very unique part of fantasy adventure. I'd like to see other fantasy/sci fi films that take place there!

Do you agree with Guillermo del Toro and Paul Tobin that fantasy "illustration" should be considered as a fine art when the quality warrants that assessment? Are you tired of college professors, art magazine critics and art galleries deciding what's "real" art and what's just "advertising?"

I don't think anyone really can ever truly decide what is real art. Art will always be a term that encompasses a large swathe of things. Digital art is a quickly growing part of everyday art... Still gotta learn it!

Paul Tobin has an "Atlantis" dream project. Is there a book, historical episode, children's fable, childhood favorite TV show, movie, cartoon or comic book that would be your dream of seeing on the screen in full LOTR digital glory?
Oh dang. That's hard. If I had my way, all of the Percy Jackson movies would be redone, same with Eragon. As for my own stuff I'd say it would be fun to do animated movies based on some characters I've created. There's two stories- one is about a guy so obsessed with finding Sasquatch that he becomes the new member of a reality tv series on Bigfoot- theres a few comical characters, such as the false expert, a man who pretends everything, including his bigfoot sniffing cat, and the senile old man who claims to have been abducted by Bigfoot and forced to live inside a refrigerator for a week...
The other story involves a mushroom troll and his pill bug friend who don't fit in with the garden gnomes or thistle sprites....
As for the Atlantis story, I would fund that sucker in a heartbeat! Kickstarter- I'm waiting!
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Professional Filmographer
The whole Sasquatch legend is really interesting and its long overdue for a really well done film or TV series!!
Reply
:iconemmaflorian:
EmmaFlorian Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Yeah all the TV and movies on it are extremely lame-o, the cryptid genre is lacking in quality, with the exception of maybe Water Horse, and still, that movie did not receive much popularity
Reply
:iconpencilviking:
PencilViking Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014  Professional General Artist
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Paul a few years back, following his panel at the first SFAL in Kansas City; and I haven't met another professional like him. His helpful, inspirational, and personal words still ring true for me today. I hope to cross paths with him again soon!
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Thanks for the kind words :) Hopefully we will make it to SFAL again, its such a great show!
Reply
:iconagilemind:
agilemind Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014
The perpetual institutional dismissal of fantasy and sci-fi as 'real' art at every level (from literature to film to visual art) irritates me to no end. Why are fans of sci-fi and fanatasy considered 'nerds' or 'geeks' but fans of high literature or historical fiction considered 'cultured'? Advertising is not that different from any other medium (after all not that long ago most television programming were so heavy in the product placement they were effectively ads). Advertising and illustration can be creative and inspiring and artistic, or it can be lazy, formulaic and just a product; just as movies, books, and TV shows can.

As for other books I would like to see on screen: Simon Scarrow's Eagle series (historical fiction about the Roman invasion of Britain), Robert J. Sawyer's WWW trilogy, and Isaac Asimov's Robot-mystery trilogy.
Reply
:iconyip-lee:
Yip-Lee Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
What a great read! Thank you techgnotic and Paul. And marioluevanos's graphic sense, made me crave for some Corona Beer... haha....

Interesting to see that you (Paul) even did some work on Chinese films! NZ talent reaching the opposite end of the globe! And i really look forward to when "Reimagined Atlantis" surfaces, would love to see some teasers for that :P


  1. Before reading this article, were you aware of New Zealand becoming such an important hub of fantasy adventure filmmaking, even beyond Peter Jackson makingLOTR there?

    ~~Being a New Zealander, when i was small i always wished that NZ would have an important place in the film/entertainment industry. I never imagined that we could ever have such capabilities and thought only the big boys (Hollywood?) was able to do that. I really had no idea back then! Really awesome to see where we have progressed on an international level :)

  2. Do you agree with Guillermo del Toro and Paul Tobin that fantasy "illustration" should be considered as a fine art when the quality warrants that assessment? Are you tired of college professors, art magazine critics and art galleries deciding what's "real" art and what's just "advertising?"

    ~~I think that narrowing content to being defined as just "fine art", "advertising", "illustration", etc into their own little sectors is sad. I believe that they are  all respected artforms in their own right and as creative individuals, I believe that we should not draw lines between what is considered "fine art" and what is "advertising" etc. Sure you can separate different genres, styles, etc but to say something is not "real art" because it is mainly advertising or design could be considered narrow minded. I thought that the beauty of being a creative individual was to have an open mind!

  3. Paul Tobin has an "Atlantis" dream project. Is there a book, historical episode, children's fable, childhood favorite TV show, movie, cartoon or comic book that would be your dream of seeing on the screen in full LOTR digital glory?

    ~~Since i was young i was never much of a reader (i liked pictures). But recently i completed a couple novels; part of a series "The Kingkiller Chronicles". First one being "Name Of The Wind" and it was seriously nice! Novels don't have pictures but they created amazing pictures in my mind, I really think i should read more! Haha. 


Also, what a gesture and honor to be mentioned in the Journal! :D Thank you Paul! 
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014  Professional Filmographer
You are very welcome :)
Reply
:iconeskarart:
EskarArt Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
This is a very positive surprise:D Im very flattered for the mention in this amazing journal interview. 
Thank you very much. :)
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Love your work!
Reply
:iconshir0gane:
Shir0gane Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014   Writer
1. No, I wasn't aware. But I'm glad New Zealand finally gains recognition. There are lots of forgotten places and cultures in this world, and none of them lacks the potential of great art.

2. I've always held the opinion that art is what moves people's hearts, no matter its tools of trade. No critic has the right to diminish its worth by any definition.

3. There is: Tad Williams's 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn' trilogy (The Dragonbone Chair, The Stone of Farewell, The Green Angel Tower), since my love for it runs as deep as for LOTR itself, and I find it equally impossible to adapt to the big screen ;)
Reply
:icongarf600:
garf600 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
WOW:omg: such amazing talented artist!!!!


My answers:
1. Most definitely, New Zealand is so beautiful and is a perfect place for a fantasy world to take place:D
2. People can be so narrow minded when it comes to what is art and what isnt. We are not living 200 years ago, and art has evolved into a varied media art form. Digital artists deserve just as much credit as traditional artists do.
3. I would just either Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series or Robin Hobbs Farseer books (would look to see Nighteyes, the wolf, come to life on screen or the dragons take flight)
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I would love to see the Farseer trilogy made. Its one of my favourite book series and given the success of Game of Thrones I would not be surprised if its in development somewhere.
Reply
:iconinkfr0st:
INKFR0ST Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hIP HIP HOORAY FOR NEW ZEALANDERS
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Professional Filmographer
:)
Reply
:iconchromic7sky:
chromic7sky Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
answering the reader question...:D
1. Yes, the view are very magnificent especially when it involve with mountains, snow and meadow field...:D
2. Kinda...it depends on what we view the art as.
3. here's my suggestion, Nora Robert's The circle trilogy (Morrigan's cross, Dance of the Gods, and the Valley of silence).  Really looking forward to see it~! :la:
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Sounds like I need to check out Nora Roberts!
Reply
:iconchromic7sky:
chromic7sky Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ah, you should check that series...it has dragons, vampire, wizard, witch even shapesshifters...not to mention faeries too and hunter as well... the stories revolves in gaelic fairyland (old ireland) collide in modern world too..:D
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:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Will definitely try to fit it in...but after seeing so much amazing artwork in New York I am super keen to get painting and drawing in any spare time I get!
Reply
:iconchromic7sky:
chromic7sky Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ah, good luck then~! can't wait to see more of your artwork~!! :iconlachoirplz: Question, I've seen Atlantean clothes from your drawing  looks like they have connection with egypt civilization, are both of them are from the same civilization source?
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Its certainly a  starting point but I am also looking at many of the really old civilizations for inspiration. I just love the graphic quality of their design work.
Reply
:iconchromic7sky:
chromic7sky Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
can't wait to see more of 'em~! :la:
anyway, i wonder what are others civilization that inspire you?
Reply
:iconerix19:
Erix19 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
1: I was somewhat aware that NZ was something of a hub even after Rings and The Hobbit. For me, New Zealand will always be the Last of the Wilds, so to speak. America has such great geography as well but it's probably because I'm American that I'm astounded at the wild beauty that is New Zealand.

2: I'm not an artist (I just write for fun) but to me, art is art, no matter how it's made. My sentiment on the matter also applies to video games which is constantly under fire from a number of groups who don't think it's art and shouldn't be afforded the same protections as music, movies, and other forms of art.

3: I don't have a particular thing from my childhood I'd like to see but I've always imagined my own writings becoming a live action sort of deal of LOTR caliber. I do more world-building than story-telling anymore (aside from the occasional one-shot) but I think a lot of my concepts would make an interesting movie in the hands of a good writer. If I had to choose a character to make a movie about, it would be my brainchild, Phoenix. She's a unicorn-based chimera with ram horns and the tail of a scorpion. She's always been my most valuable player. Plus I'd think it would be cool to see how one would realistically animate an equine striking like a scorpion.


I will say that none of my concepts are necessarily groundbreaking since I've seen similar ideas and some of them borrow from real world mythology but I'm proud of the world-building I've done since 2008, when I did a massive overhaul of my world and ideas.
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I love the idea that you are growing your own worlds! And as interesting creatures goes your unicorn chimera sounds like a pretty full on creature design brief :)
Reply
:iconerix19:
Erix19 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Why thank you. Phoenix has been my pride and joy since 2004 when I was 16. My cousin was doing a 3D model of her, which I have the WIPs in my gallery (with his permission), but things have gotten busy for him so she's not done. I'll be able to catch up with him next year at our family reunion. I was able to find an artist on here who was willing to do a full color version of her and finally seeing her on paper instead of my head for once, I couldn't more proud of myself for creating her in the first place.
Reply
:iconpaultobin:
PaulTobin Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Professional Filmographer
:)
Reply
:iconvixendra:
VixenDra Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
When DA members will be able to make such reachly edited journals?
Reply
:iconmarioluevanos:
marioluevanos Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
You're technologically able to as well, all CSS is the same for me as a member with the exception of having a full-width. 
Reply
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