Summer DeLezen is a Montreal-based Community Artist who joined dot big bang this July. Her work has made an immediate impact on how things look around here, with charming new voxel objects appearing in all kinds of games, from our in-progress farming sim, to Summer’s very own Puzzle Maze.
We caught up with her to find out more, and get some voxel art pro-tips.
Can you describe what you do at dot big bang?
As a Community Artist, I make voxel art assets, scenes, and games for the community. I love to answer art questions on the Discord and in my weekly streams, inspiring creators and showing them how to make their own assets, and how to style their games.
What was your path to becoming a professional voxel artist?
I originally got into art for traditional illustration. I live for the idea of making art that educates, but I always find myself snowballing from one creative thing to the next, from traditional to digital, digital to pixel, pixel to voxel, voxel to low-poly, and so forth. When I started doing more pixel and voxel art, I found that so much of what I was making was useful to game devs and other artists looking for assets for their projects. So I stuck with it! I like making art that is useful to other creators.
Does 3D modeling with voxels have any unique qualities or challenges?
What can at first seem limiting, truly isn’t! Working with voxels, much like working with pixel art, helps to keep you at a certain resolution. This actually makes it easier to keep a consistent style with everything you’re making, and to design with efficiency in mind, making the most of every voxel.
What are a couple of useful tips for people using dot big bang to create voxel objects?
Try blocking out the overall shape of what you want to make, then carve the details out as you go. This can help with mapping out your proportions and keeping your work within a good scale.
Good curves follow patterns, jaggies and odd points are created by breaking those patterns.
What’s something you’ve made as part of your dbb work that you’re particularly pleased with, and why?
This frog! While other things I’ve made may be more fleshed out, I made this orthographic scene to hopefully inspire some creators to play with their use of the camera, for a sort of 2.5D look. I see a lot of potential for some cool side scrolling games with that!
Could you tell us a little about your voxel art live streams?
I like to bring a calm, creative energy to the streams. Think Bob Ross, but with voxels! I talk through my process and answer questions as I’m making things in the hopes that viewers will find it useful for their own art. You’ll often see me taking on the weekly art challenges from our Discord—I think it’s a great way to warm up the creative muscles before diving into whatever I’m currently working on. I invite viewers to draw along with me.
Have any community-made games or objects caught your eye recently? What did you like about them?
Definitely starcookie’s (lambda’s) Nome project! I’ve enjoyed watching their card designs become more and more awesome with each iteration. They’ve even invited other players to make their own card designs using their template to go in the game! That collaborative nature is really in the dbb spirit, and I love to see it.
Do you have a piece of advice for someone who’d like to become a game artist?
No one is going to come along and tell you you’re ready to be a game artist. As you get involved with communities, join some game jams, make some tilesets, watch loads of tutorials and make loads of art assets and just keep putting them out there, you’ll eventually look up and realize you’ve been a game artist this whole time, and that you have a body of work as evidence to that. It’s a constant journey, not a destination, so just keep enjoying the trip!
What are you playing at the moment, outside of dbb?
Potion Permit! Games like this are my favorite escape. The mechanics and minigames are so satisfying and varied and keep the flow of the game from turning into a long grind. The art and animations are also just so crisp! It’s a treat to look at.
Do you have a closing message, for the people?
Be kind to your art. I hear these phrases a lot: “this would have taken me x long to do, I could never do that, blah, blah.” Come hang out in my streams and let’s make some art together, I promise you will surprise yourself!