Our aim for this website has always been becoming the major hub for all No Man’s Sky enthusiasts. We started out writing quality articles, covering the various aspects of the game and its background. But there’s more and the community is a big part in our plans to expand the site and its functionalities. In this first Fan Art coverage, we interview Arien van Stralen, also known as Therealarien, a young man from Australia who happens to create amazing artwork.

The above picture is stunning and very well made. In the interview below Arien elaborates on his techniques used and tells us why he made it.

Biography

Arien was born in the Canadian Arctic but grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s lived in a couple different Australian cities but for the last couple years has been back in his home town.  Arien is 31 years old and currently works as a barista at a kids playground cafe.  Even more exitingly he’s also working long distance with a team in California to try and get a game prototype funded by Sony for Playstation VR. The team is not funded at the moment but that’s something he invests in during the week as one of the artists on the team. Arien also does several freelance jobs should they arise.

He enjoys various creative outlets as hobbies, trying out different instruments including bass, piano and drums. Apart from that, he really enjoys digital music creation, original stuff as well as video game remixes and fan music. He has also done a lot of video editing in his time and Arien has a Youtube channel.  Other passions are his faith in Jesus, Taekwondo and acting. This goes as far as him telling me “I’m also a pretty good Napoleon Dynamite impersonator I’m told.” Perhaps he can upload a clip later to show us how good of an impersonation he can do.
Arien has been drawing since he was a kid, but didn’t really start to dive into it until after high school where he felt less inhibited. He was fairly self motivated and always had that creative drive, whether it was editing movies, making animations or video game remixes: “When you enjoy something you naturally get better at it but I was very hard on myself as many artists are. Encouragement from friends and family helped me to see it as more than a hobby and take pride in what I do and to pursue it further.”
Seems his future is bright!

Short interview

We conducted a small interview with Arien about this piece. If you would like to see more of his artwork and other creative outbursts, be sure to visit his Deviantart profile. Onwards we go:

TGO: What is the idea behind the NMS concept art?

Arien: I did this piece around the time when there were rumors NMS was going to launch in 2015, so I was venting some of my hype into my art. I fell in love with the art direction of NMS from the very first trailer in 2013, it just so clearly communicated volumes about the focus of the game, the awe and wonder of pure exploration. Seeing a planet hanging on the horizon, wondering what’s there and being able to actually get there. I wanted to try and communicate a similar feeling, something lonely yet wistful and poetic. I’m very much inspired by that sense of scale, seeing mountains fade off into the distance. Exploring alone yet somehow not alone in a universe that is living and breathing.

TGO: What do you use to create concept arts like this? Can you elaborate in your answer on the process?

Arien: I use Photoshop CS5 for basically everything, along with my Intuos Pro. With this piece I relied heavily on the lasso tool, quickly drawing shapes and shading them in, in many layers. It’s one of the methods I use and it normally wields pleasing results that are quite clean yet with a lot of implied detail that seems to magically work. I don’t often have the patience for highly detailed art but I appreciate how a lot can be communicated without venturing into hyper realism. Plus I’m just lazy 😛

TGO: What are your expectations and the things you look forward to with No Man’s Sky?

Arien: Where to begin?! I hear other people saying this, but this is basically my dream game. I loved Minecraft for that joy of exploration and discovery. I would just make a boat and sail across an ocean, listening to music. Where Minecraft becomes shallow quite fast, I’m hoping that No Man’s Sky can maintain that feeling of mystery and wonder for longer periods. I’m greatly anticipating the procedural music, finding an eclipse and just taking my time discovering new things. Possibly even documenting my journey like a captains log (I’m a chronic journaller). I just really want to immerse myself in that gorgeous, colorful universe! And I’m also really looking forward to how the already amazing NMS community grows and collaborates with all the new discoveries and weird stuff that is bound to come up.

There’s other space games out there but having NMS being primarily built for a console makes it tremendously more accessible. Just pick up and go! Can’t wait!

Thanks Arien for the interview and keep up making amazing artwork for all of us to enjoy!

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Dennis Klaster
Dennis Klaster
Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief at The Galactic Observer
Dennis is one of the two founders of the website and has a strong passion for (online) gaming, webdesign, watching lot of different tv-series, his lovely daughter and loads of other stuff. He goes normally by the nickname of Reznar, which is his most played World of Warcraft character ;)

Lives in a small town in the Netherlands with his girlfriend and daughter and likes heavy metal. And italian food :)