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Under Cover - Francis Tsai

By Rowan "Sumaleth" Crawford
Vol. 2, Issue 3 
November 22, 1999 


On the topic of favorite artists, Francis has a long list;

"Almost too many to mention, but a good cross section would be (in no particular order):

Masamune Shirow - mecha and vehicle design, the "sketchy" style of his ink work, watercolor/paint stuff.

click to enlarge!

Some 'urban design' by Francis (90k).

Thomas Schaller (architectural renderer) - watercolorist; I really like his ability to capture mood and light quality.

Lebbeus Woods (architect) - architectural design.

Chris Bachalo - characters and layout/graphic style.

Alphonse Mucha - technique, layout/graphic design.

Craig Mullins - Photoshop paint technique.

Alex Ross - seeing comic characters rendered in a realistic style.

Joe Madureira - character design, graphics/layout.

Travis Charest - draftsmanship, attention to detail."

Francis' approach to artwork uses both traditional and computer based techniques; "Typically, I will scan a pencil drawing and paint it in Photoshop. There are two approaches to painting I use:

1) To get a comic or anime effect, I will leave the line art in the final drawing and use more "flat" coloring, although I do add some highlights and shadows; an example of this would be the "Seven of Nine" painting or the "Konoko" painting.

2) To achieve a more painterly effect, I will use the pencil drawing as an underlay and paint over it using higher opacity. I then add lighting, shade and depth using different levels of opacity. An example of this style would be the "Borg" painting in my portfolio.

In the past I've used a variety of processes although prior to starting with Photoshop I pretty much stuck to pencil and watercolor. An example of this is the "Saul" image.

During Francis' professional career he has continued to work as a freelance artist under the moniker of Team GT, working on a variety of projects, "typical projects include vehicle airbrush art for custom automotive body shop, T-shirt and logo art, murals, interior design and signage for retail, comic book art and advertising story board art." In recent months Francis has also produced some 'fan art' in his spare time - such as the previously mentioned Konoko drawing which is based on the upcoming Bungie title, Oni - and has had some of his images shown on the game orientated fan-art site, GameArt.

And what does the future hold for Francis Tsai?

"I'm currently working on a new project with Presto Studios that will last through most of the next year. This is a pre-rendered adventure game which requires a lot of pre-production work. After that, probably a real time third person action/adventure game, and after that, who knows?


To see more of Francis' art, and you really should, there is a portfolio of his imagery on the Team GT site, including architectual drawings, characters, comic art, and a funny little animated Captain Picard. Star Trek: Hidden Evil is due for release this coming friday (26th November), although there are reports that some stores have it on sale already.

- Rowan "Sumaleth" Crawford is loonygames' Supervising Art Director.



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Credits: Cover illustration © 1999 Francis Tsai Under Cover is © 1999 Rowan Crawford. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.