Interview with Emilio Rodriguez, an illustrator for Android: Netrunner, Arkham Horror, and Worldbreakers

Emilio Rodriguez is a Spain-based illustrator who contributed extensively to Android: Netrunner (64 cards) and Arkham Horror (30 cards). He has also drawn for Eldritch Horror, Lord of the Rings: the Card Game, and Star Wars: Outer Rim. Emilio is one of the chief illustrators for Worldbreakers: Advent of the Khanate. He designed the aesthetic of the Muhandasat, a council of engineers who are building an utopian society in the mountains of Persia. Find Emilio on ArtStation, Instagram, and DeviantArt!

Special thanks to the Arkham Horror and Netrunner subreddits for their questions.

Elli: When did you realize you want to be a visual artist and what would you consider your first professional work in that field? How did you feel when you delivered it? [/u/deadbutsmiling]

Emilio: I realized it practically since I was little, I have never imagined myself doing anything else. My first real professional job was for Android: Netrunner. I felt very uneasy because I did not know if the art director would like it! Luckily, he did.

Solomon's Throne, by Emilio Rodriguez
Solomon's Throne, by Emilio Rodriguez

Elli: Tell me about the commission process. How do clients communicate their requirements to you? Do you incorporate any of the game mechanics into the art? What is the balance between the client and your artistic freedom? [/u/isuscbrmid, /u/UserofRed, /u/283leis, /u/razzzamataz, /u/RedditNamesAreFunny]

Emilio: Normally the process is the same: The client shows me a description or summary of their idea, which specifies in depth what they want the illustration to look like. They also provide several reference images. As I am drawing the sketch, I keep in mind the characteristics of the game, especially that everything fits as closely as possible with the game’s background. The goal is to interpret the main idea that the client is looking for while keeping my artistic freedom.

If you’d like to learn more about the commission process (or if you cute like puppies!) check out my video about commissioning Dogtamer, one of my favorite illustrations.

Elli: Several users commented on how much they love your landscape work. Where do you get your inspiration? In particular, how do you make buildings so dynamic and threatening? [/u/e10hssanamai, /u/MrSmith2]

Emilio: Partly from my imagination and personal style and partly from other artists, cartoons, comics (especially anime), movies, and videogames. 

Elli: More about inspiration! Any movies that inspire you, either for Arkham Horror or Android: Netrunner? Any particular music you listen to, or places you visit? [/u/RedditNamesAreFunny]

Emilio: For Android: Netrunner there are several movies, such as Blade Runner, I Robot, Ghost in the Shell (mainly the anime version). I listen to music from these movies or similar movies with the same style.

For Arkham Horror, my inspiration comes principally from mystery or dark music.

Elli: What have you drawn for Worldbreakers so far? In particular, what inspired you with your character designs?

Emilio: I have drawn many cards for Worldbreakers [EA: Emilio will have 20 illustrations in the game!] For example Solomon’s Throne, The Indigo Grotto, and The Paragon. When I have to draw things that have a realistic context I usually look for reference images, and that is what I do in this case with the characters, especially for their aesthetics.

The Paragon, by Emilio Rodriguez
The Paragon, by Emilio Rodriguez

Elli: You created several awesome devices and places for the Muhandasat, the Council of Engineers. Could you tell me about the process for creating them?

Emilio: The process consists of thinking about what a machine or device should look like in the Middle Ages, and with that in mind I make a design that seems functional and realistic. I also look for reference images, especially old machines.

Elli: Last question! Could you name one favorite piece from Android: Netrunner, Arkham Horror, and Worldbreakers? [/u/vibalent]

Emilio: This one is easy because I don’t usually like any of the ones I do! Haha! When I look at them after a while, I can’t honestly say I like any in particular. 

Thanks Emilio for the interview! If you’re here then I’m guessing that you like card games. Worldbreakers: Advent of the Khanate is a two-player card game set in an alternate 13th century. Players develop location cards for power points while clashing with their opponent for control of the board. Worldbreakers draws heavily from both Android: Netrunner and Arkham: Horror. Play it on Tabletop Simulator, join the Discord, or check out the two-minute YouTube introduction.

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