Interview with Lap Pun Cheung

I really started working in the games industry in 2012 when I moved to Germany from the UK to work at Goodgame Studios. It was my first full-time job in games as well as first time away from home and living abroad. Since then I’ve moved back to England, but not my hometown. I’ve been living and working in London for the past few years.

Lap Pun Cheung is a Senior Concept Artist @ BossMode Games from London, United Kingdom with 7 years of industry experience.
He likes to work with Photoshop.

What led you into the CGI/2D? Tell us your story.

I’ve always been interested in art, 2D specifically though I enjoy 3D too. I’m just not proficient enough at 3D to make it my primary skillset. Plus I have always had a strong love for anime and 2D animation in general and before getting into the games industry I really wanted to be in the animation industry. The major problem was that there was nothing for it in the UK for someone starting out and since I enjoy games too it was a natural switch over to it. I went into a games design course at university, which were in their infancy back when I was on one. Following that I took a concept artist job in Hamburg, the real start of my career in art.

Where do you go to get inspired? What/Who inspires you?

Funnily enough I am of two mindsets about inspiration. I’m sure many artists go through it but sometimes when I look at art instead of being inspired I get depressed about my own and it falls into a downward spiral. Sometimes I see it and I think that I really want to be able to do something like that. I don’t go seeking other people’s work to avoid the problem of the first point but when I come across things more naturally I become inspired. Usually by playing games or watching shows. The complete package of the art, design and music together make a create cocktail of inspiration. Games like Red Dead 2, God of War, the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Anime like My Hero Academia, Kill la Kill and the one which inspired my current style the most, Studio Ghibli films all play a prominent role in what I make.

How does a typical working day look like?

My work day starts like any other Londoner’s day, I commute to an office in the underground. Then I usually spend a day either designing game characters/environments/assets, etc or painting up illustrations for in-game purposes or marketing. The pros of being in a tiny startup is that I get to do a bit of everything with quite a lot of autonomy. I think it’s quite a lucky position to be in. 

What does your workplace look like?

Currently we are a startup in a co-working space, though we have our own little studio. It’s tiny room with four desks and I’ve got a cintiq set up on mine. At home I also have a very barebones setup as I never upgraded since moving to London. But to be honest it’s working out for me. I don’t need an elaborate setup for the art stuff as long as it works.

How do you stay motivated in this industry?

I think this is a pretty interesting question. For the most part I’ve been constantly motivated to produce art. There’s been several periods where I either burned out or just lost interest for a while but these are few and far between.

For me staying interested and motivated in art is about doing the things you love. If you don’t enjoy you will pretty soon lose interest and stop. But I understand that you’re not always able to work specifically on the things you really wanted to and I’ve been in that position. I have several personal projects on the go all the time and these are my passion projects which I do basically because I’m telling stories and drawing exactly what I like at that moment. Being able to switch between projects keeps it a little more fresh and fun. 

What is your passion beside CGI/2D?

I really enjoy playing games and watching anime, films and tv shows. It all kind of revolves around story and art I guess. Outside of this I certainly enjoy eating out when I get the chance. (Living in London really helps!)

How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?

I don’t really concentrate on a portfolio these days. It used to be that I’d actively think about what to put in my portfolio to find new jobs but nowadays I just create work that I like. Keeping myself happy first and if it finds an audience online, that’s a big bonus to me. 

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

I almost exclusively use Photoshop to create my art these days from sketch to final renders though I do use other parts of the Adobe suite too such as After Effects while I’m working on animation.

What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?

I have Clip Studio which I do want to get into because it’s supposed to be great for creating manga (something else I want to do!) I have some experience in Max and zBrush from back in the uni days but there’s just not enough time to learn those and enjoy what I’m already doing in my opinion. I’m happy to know mainly 2D skills and spend my time creating stories with what I have.

Which books would you recommend to the read?

I don’t really read so much these days, and very little non-fiction at all. Stories are the best at motivating me to do art. I love scifi and fantasy books, the Culture series from Banks, Alastair Reynolds‘ works, Neuromancer, Stephen King’s books, the Harry Potter series are all some of my favourites. Just anything that really gets your imagination going is a good thing.

What music do you listen to while working?

I almost always have Youtube on in the background rather music, just blasting through random episodes of GMM or some Let’s Plays but if I do listen to music, these days I like Pertubator, Carpenter Brut, etc. Sometimes I’ll have Netflix or Amazon on too depending on how I feel.

Any advice for new Artists?

Pursue the things that make you happy and excited. Definitely try to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Work on art that isn’t for your job, to help keep it a hobby too.