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Dream-Like & Colourful: The Art of 4threset

Even if you’ve never heard of 4threset, you might have seen their work. 4threset has been a prominent figure in Malaysia’s ACG (anime, comics, games) community for several years now, and has served as a concept artist and illustrator for local video games and tabletop as well. What’s their secret to success, and how did they get here?

Webtoon artist, book cover illustrator, and concept artist;  we had the opportunity to ask a few questions to this multi-talented Malaysian artist.

 

Can you tell us about your journey as an artist?

There’s not much to tell, to be honest! I’ve always loved drawing! You know that kid at the back of the class that was always doodling and not paying attention? That was me!

I just never stopped drawing and somehow drew my way into a varied art career! I applied to an art college as soon as I could and furthered my studies to get an Animation degree at the University of Technology in Sydney.

 

Tell us about the games you’ve done concept art for.

In my first freelance gig, I got the opportunity to work as a character designer and artist for Nerdook productions’ The Magister! 

Then I was the lead artist for a local indie game called ‘Amnesiac Adventurer!‘ by Roundtable Studios. I did the concepts and assets for both the characters and tiles, including animations! I had to adapt very quickly since I was the sole artist for the game, so that meant also doing UI design which I’ve not done before.

I’ve also done background art for a Visual Novel called ‘Himbo Harem Homicide‘! It was my first stint in doing background art for a Visual Novel but it was very fun since I had to design each room around each dateable ‘himbo.’

I’ve also done character designs and miscellaneous art for TTRPGs!

 

What’s your experience being a freelance concept artist based in Malaysia?

It’s definitely not easy. I’m lucky enough that I’ve managed to find a foothold in social media, so I get a mixture of projects coming in from commission work for fanart, to book cover illustrations or asset art for game developers. But it was definitely not without struggle. 

There was a period where I couldn’t find any work simply because my portfolio wasn’t where it needed to be just yet, nor had I gotten the current reach I have. The creative field here in Malaysia isn’t as appreciated, so often finding work that pays a respectable living wage is incredibly difficult. 

That being said, PSA: Pay your creative talents: whether they are writers or artists or project managers!

 

What are some of the non-game projects you’ve worked on?

Most of them are comic-related! I’ve done a lot of comics that you can read for free right now, one of which is called ‘The Witch’s Bakery‘. Another comic I’ve made is an original Tapas comic called ‘Chinatop‘!

I’m currently working with an agent to have my own Graphic Novel published! I’ve also recently worked with Bookiut of PTS Media, illustrating the covers for their first line of English Young Adult novels!

I’m participating in this year’s Shortbox comic collective and will be releasing a new short with them, so look out for that!

 

Tell us about a dream project you would like to do in the future.

I’d honestly love to be a character artist for a Visual Novel! Probably for a dating sim or something similar, haha! I like drawing indulgently attractive characters and oh, to draw the hotties for a VN would be an absolute dream!

 

Any advice for aspiring concept artists for games?

It’s hard to truly narrow it down since there’s so much I want to say and talk about.

But one of the best traits you can have, whether as an artist or a creative here is to be as stubborn as possible. Pursue your ambitions and goals doggedly. Set your sights on something you want, and don’t let anything discourage you! (within reason of course, please take breaks, and of course never harass anyone for your goals, haha!)

Another piece of advice? Style is valuable. Work smarter, not harder. 

I remember reading this from another artist I greatly admired, that foundations can be taught, but style can’t and some studios will hire you based on style and adaptability alone. A style isn’t just a combination of what you’ve learned but also how you develop your process when drawing. Sometimes your style comes naturally to you with practice, but there’s no harm in exploring what you like visually and what you think can make you stand out or iconic. Sometimes knowing the difference between what you enjoy seeing in art, and what you enjoy making can also help in thinking about where you want to be as an artist.

 

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