Hello TAY. This is a new weekly article series where I interview the diverse authors of TAY, new and old. We all have stories, ambitions, and hobbies to talk about that make TAY a special place. This is a way for everyone to tell their story and get a chance in the spotlight here on Talk Amongst Yourselves.
Header image was cobbled together using Stormborn's new TAY logo.
For this pilot article, I caught up with Kotaku reader and TAY author Bonny John (aka Stormborn) to talk with him about his work here on TAY since he started contributing here earlier this year. We also talked a bit about what his dream job would be and, of course, his favorite game.
Articles You May Know Him From:
- REVIEW: Telltale's The Walking Dead (Season 1) - Stormborn Edition
- An Open Letter to Evan, Mike, Tina, Owen, and the Rest of Kotaku Staff
- His entire line of Pokemon One a Day drawings
So, tell us, who is Bonny John? A secret agent? A famous Pokemon artist?
Well, if I admit to that first part, I wouldn't be a secret agent anymore, so we'll leave it as just "artist" for now.
I think a lot of TAY readers will know you from your Pokemon One a Day drawings, where did that idea come from?
When I was a kid, when Pokemon was just starting and just in its beginning phase of taking over the world, I was obsessed - we were all obsessed. My friend let me borrow his game, and lent me his strategy guide for it. And that was when I saw all these creatures. One page after another, these amazing, creative, cute, scary, cool monsters were looking back at me. So I took the typing paper we had, and drew each Pokemon out. One by one, one Pokemon per page, as they looked in the strategy guide, until I finished them all. My friends and classmates loved it, and praised the work, which kind of keeps you going. So that was all those years ago.
As a long time Kotaku reader, I came across a project shared to Kotaku revolving Pokemon. The project asked 151 artists to draw one pokemon in their style. I saw it and loved what I saw, and I wished that i could have been apart of that project; to be a small part of something bigger that involved so many people and art styles all coming together to one big reveal. So from there, I realized, I can do this on my own, and challenged myself to come up with interesting, fun, unique renditions that would have a gimmick - one a day - to prove I could work at a rapid pace and push out work that was genuine and true to me and the craft.
I see, so you came and joined Talk Amongst Yourselves at that point? What drew you here and has kept you coming back?
Yeah, I had joined up a few days before sharing the art and the project, and was encouraged by GiantBoyDetective who gave me authorship after seeing what I could do with a few posts that weren't properly published. I posted Bulbasaur and figured I'd continue the project depending on how it would do on my social platforms, between tumblr, deviantart, and TAY.
The next morning, I saw my art was featured in the blip, and my heart skipped a beat when i saw the red indicator for notifications with a largish number of comments and recommendations for me to read through. The result was overwhelmingly positive, and immediately, people were telling me they were excited for this project. Just a day before I figured the thing would fall apart after a few days, and considering my tumblr and deviantart audiences didn't react as well, if at all, it might have fallen through. It was everyone's encouraging comments that made me strive for one thing - I didn't want to let anyone down.
This is something of a silly sentimental question, but do you have any standout memories from TAY?
In order of how they unfolded:
What I just mentioned is definitely up there: the first time seeing the notification's pop up with the overwhelming response. At first, I was confused - it couldn't be my post, could it be? But then again, it had to be, it was the only thing I had ever shared at that point.
Secret Santa. Although I haven't gotten my gift yet (holiday shipping is a mess, so its totally understandable), giving to my recipient and just overall seeing how the entire community got together? That was when I realized that TAY was more than just this place we hang out and post serious and well thought out articles or silly gifs, but a real community. I love the holidays, and just the vibe that TAY was giving off during that moment where everyone was sharing and revealing gifts... man, you could see the bonds everyone had with one another. As a new guy and slowly breaking free of that thought, its a nice thing to see that kind of foreshadows your future in a place like this.
Lastly, getting the positive response about the "tayblip 2.0" project and seeing how Kotaku reacted to it and acted on it right away is the last of my biggest and best memories from TAY. Results that have been visible are proof that the smallest changes can have the biggest impact.
So, with all your experience on TAY and elsewhere, what is your ambition in the world of art? What's your "dream job"?
A dream job, huh? There's so much I want to do. I'd love to get into acting and voice over work for video games and animation. Then of course I'd love to be the person responsible for coming up with stories and characters as a designer or director for video games and animation.
Working with my passions between video games and art would be ideal. Anywhere in the entertainment business, really. Just to be able to create things for people to not only see, but to enjoy and cherish would be amazing.
Of course, working on stuff for TAY and participating in a community connected to Kotaku, I'd love to work at a site like them, if not for them. Get my feet wet in the industry and hopefully move on up.
I actually made a special resume for a job I applied for when they Kotaku put out a call last year, before I even joined TAY. You know how I designed the new TAY logo? I had some experience trying to write out the logo to spell out something else: "Resume". Of course, it looked horrible on there but I think the overall direction of the resume shows off the creativity and my excitement at the chance to head in a direction that would be a "dream job".
You can even see the time stamps on there to show how long its been sitting on the internet long after it had a chance to shine, so you'll have to dust off the cobwebs! Haha!
Since we're on Kotaku this flame-war inducing question was inevitable, but what's your favorite game?
We should be safe from flame-wars with games, it's the consoles we should be worrying about! :-p Favorite game is a toughie. Metal Gear Solid and Ocarina of Time have a special place in my heart, fighting for supremacy when I think all nostalgia-like.
Haha, you're definitely right on that console part. Thanks for stopping by to chat with us Bonny John. I think we can all say that we love your work and we hope you'll stick around TAY for a while longer yet.
Thanks so much for having me. I wish you the best for your projects on TAY, including your services for Ani-TAY and this newest project. Hope to interview you soon to get you in the hot seat and into the spotlight!
Interested in getting to know TAY better? Check out our main TAY page and start commenting! Why don't you go over and read up the TAY Tutorial so you can get writing yourself? Hey, maybe I'll interview you next, wouldn't that be cool?
This interview was facilitated by Google's Hangouts.
Have someone that you want interviewed? Want to contribute by doing your own interview and taking over for a week? Comment or drop me a note at Dexomega@gmail.com.