You paint the character’s mother in Things from the Flood the way we're talking about, with regard to the adults having to take responsibility. There’s a great moment where the kid is excited about the mysterious floods, and his mother is clearly traumatised by the events that are happening, and the fact that she has to take responsibility for those events.
"Instead of being hyper-real, you can design stuff that kind of answers to the emotional quality of what you're trying to say. You can make a building that looks very sad."
Do you begin work by trying to depict a place as realistically as possible and then—Yeah, I try to make a kickass painted version of a landscape. Like, “How do I make the best brushes to create the plants that I know grow here?” Or “How do I simplify this mass of information into brushstrokes?”I really try to focus on that, so I get that kind of foundation. Most of my ideas for images come from photos, which I just paint rough sketches on top of. So when I have an idea, like “Oh, this would be cool with a big thing on the ceiling,” I’ll do a sketch—maybe I'll do like twenty five sketches—then I’ll pick one and make a fully rendered illustration.What opportunities did you feel you had, when you were thinking about Tales From the Loop as a tabletop RPG, and can you speak to how your experience with tabletop might have informed that?I mean honestly, I don't have that much experience with it. I am the kid in ET, I'm Elliott, I'm not his brother. I'm the guy who wasn't allowed—Who sees people playing tabletop and wants too but is like, “agh!”—Yeah, my brother was playing a Swedish pen and paper RPG called Mutant, which was very influential to my work. It was based on Gamma World, I think but it's set in Sweden. It was made in the eighties. Reading it now, it feels retro-futuristic: the most advanced computer you could find in this world is five hundred and twelve megabytes and the next step is… I think it's called “cyber” and that's just a brain in a jar.
"I'm just scared of what technology shows us about ourselves. That's what scares me. … It seems like the bullies from high school are basically running the world."