Artist: Marco Plouffe
Location: Montreal, Canada
🖼"Hi, my name is Marco Plouffe. I worked as a Character Artist for THQ, Bioware, Eidos and freelanced for many other major studios. Now I have my own outsourcing company with Cédric Séaut called Keos Masons. See keosmasons.com"
❓Who or what influenced your art style the most at the beginning of your journey?
🗣 One of my greatest inspirations were Megaman bosses from the old Megaman games. I used to draw them all the time and make my own concepts. Buffalo man, Hairport man, whatever! I was also very inspired by Dungeon and Dragons as, with my friends, I used to draw their character according to their character sheets while doing campaigns with them. In terms of my traditional art, HR Giger was a huge influence, and later I discovered my current artists that work in the video-game and movie industry.
❓How did you start your professional career?
🗣 I was a government employee, and I was unfortunately not artistically fulfilled by my job, so I decided to sell my house and move to Montreal to learn 3d modeling. By then, I only drew for fun with no academic studies, but I learned all I needed to know about 3d modeling, character design, anatomy and such during my 1-year program at Campus Ubisoft. The rest I learned on my own with only tutorials. Sometimes after school, I was invited to an event in Montreal for video games called the MIGS because Pixologic (creator of Zbrush) gave me a pass so I can go to their boots and show the tools of their new release since I was on their beta testing team for the past months. While I was there, I met the person who would later become my first boss at my first job!
❓What software and hardware do you use, and why?
🗣 My main tool is Pixologic Zbrush and Photoshop. II know the whole pipeline for character modeling but I prefer the part of sculpting the high-resolution models and compositing the renders using Zbrush passes and Photoshop.
❓How do you like to work: as a freelancer, or maybe full-time or part-time?
🗣 I prefer to freelance. I actually created my own outsourcing company 7-8 years ago with my co-founder Cédric Séaut because we were tired of some of the negative aspects of working in a studio (even if we were working at a good studio with great people). The negative aspects I’m talking about are more about the fact that you work on 1 project only and if it gets canceled (like what happened to me often), you don’t get much to show for later. I am also somebody that needs to be in his bubble to work so I rather work from home, have my own schedule, etc. It requires you to have a certain assiduity, but for me, there are almost only benefits!
❓What was your most challenging project, and why?
🗣 I don’t know that I face that many challenges... I have challenged myself so much over the years on purpose to be as versatile as I can get and touch a little bit of everything. So now, when I am asked to do something or when I work on personal projects, I pretty much always know how I will proceed and it just becomes a question of doing it, and maybe doing some studies for the things that are less second-nature. Not saying that I am a master, just saying I don’t have many bumps in the road!
❓What was your most significant learning experience, and how does it help you now?
🗣 It was to learn how to learn. Before learning 3D arts, I wanted to become a musician and I practiced for about 10 years. That being said, I had to come to a hard realization: I am not a musician. I LOVE music, but it’s not in my blood like visual arts were. Even if I never was serious with them. I just knew I understood it better, and it was more natural. One of the biggest problem with music was also that I learned it to hastily: I did learn my foundation well before going to the next level and I ended up with so many bad habits that, if I wanted to become a real musician, I would have needed to unlearn everything before relearning it. When I decided to learn 3D arts, I knew this time I had to learn it correctly, be at peace with the process and be more patient. Basically, learning the right way.
❓What is your dream project or art direction that you're starving to try?
🗣 Creating my own IPs. I am actually working on a huge project at the moment as a joint-venture with a manufacturer for making collectibles/sculptures. I LOVE collectibles and have worked for a lot of the giants of this industry, but I wanted to make my own series and design, so I decided to start working more for myself and find a partner that could help me produce and distribute them. I hope to be able to show it to the world in the near future!
❓Can you tell us about a personal or professional project you are proud of?
I think the WASP is one of the pieces I am the most proud of. The reason being that at that time I was much less confident in myself and didn’t think I could do a full mech like this. Despite the feeling or maybe not being able to achieve it and despite my first draft that was not hitting the mark, I really did push through and ended up with something I was really proud of. It’s actually something that still happens to me to this day: I start a project and at some point, I question myself if what I am doing is even worth it. Now I know this is just a voice in my head, and when I hear it, I simply need to look at the situation objectively, fix what needs a redesign and push through with the rest because it will look fine (or maybe great) in the end! I believe that pushing through to complete something this way is important for an artist’s self-esteem and assiduity.
❓Do you have any passion projects you're working on or plan to start?
🗣 Like I said above, I have a huge project I’m working on currently, and I hope I can reveal it soon. It took me about 8 months compared to the usual 2 weeks I put on a project so this one was draining! Also, my wife had a baby during those months, so I had to learn to become a father at the same time so I guess I tackled my 2 biggest projects at the same time! Otherwise, these days I just relax doing my mash-up series where I simply mix a known character in a universe where he/she is not from, but I try to make believe he/she does now. It’s a bit more brainless, and I personally find it super fun!
❓What are you passionate about and do you have any hobbies besides art?
🗣 Yes, I am a musician (guitar, banjo, a bit of piano) and a music composer, although it’s been a while I did anything! Let’s say my musical career now is mainly singing improv acapella jazz to my son to make him laugh! I also like to print my own 3d model (got a Form2), and once covid is done, I intend on learning how to paint them myself. Otherwise, I’m a bit gamer (of all genres but especially the Souls-like)
❓If you had just one question about anything that you could ask and get an answer, what would it be?
🗣 “Did Steven Avery really do it?!”
NO WAIT... it’s “When is Half-Life 3 coming out?”
Or it would probably be “What are the winning numbers of the next biggest lottery?”, and with the earnings, I could help people around me that needs it, especially now, make some donations, put some on the side for my kid’s education and put some down for projects like making my own games or paying for services to help my business... oh and be able to finally fix my f*cking basement!
And if this last question is still cheating at this question and it needs to be something less extravagant, I’d say (and sorry for the cheesy pageant question), it would be: how can we bring peace and harmony in the world?