Marisa Erven – ARTIST

Marisa Erven

Marisa Erven


Interview with artist Marisa Erven —

1. Who are you and what do you do?
Hi!  My name is Marisa Erven and I am a Concept Artist. As a Concept Artist, I have the joy of drawing and painting ideations – always looking to push and pull ideas until a final look or variant is decided upon.  Previous projects I have had the wonderful opportunity to work on include Age of Empires II: HD Edition, Defense Grid 2 and Windborne.  Additionally, I have had the joy of working on Guild Wars 2 as a Motion Graphics and VFX Artist.

"Wanderer Creature" design

“Wanderer Creature” design

2. Why Art?
Art to me is a lifestyle.  I create art because I love art.  Beauty, imagination and joy are all things one can experience through art.  It makes me happy to know that I am able to contribute to others’ lives in such a way.

"Riverside Palace"

“Riverside Palace”

3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
When I was 5, I would run to my aunt’s house and go straight to the drawer by the stairwell that held the loose sheets of paper and crayons.  That was always my favorite!  That joy of being able to draw and create really hasn’t ever left.

4. What are your favorite subjects and media?
As a commercial artist it is beneficial to work within different styles and subjects.  That said, my favorite spaces to work within are the realms of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  For example, personal work I have done includes topics ranging from Rocket Ships to adorable Teacup Monsters.

"Meep - The Teacup Monster"

“Meep – The Teacup Monster”

In terms of media, I usually work with pencil, ink, paper and digital.  Digital tools I use primarily include Adobe Photoshop, Wacom Cintiq and Wacom Companion.

"The Lady Of Ravens Wood"

“The Lady Of Ravens Wood”



5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I utilize a variety of techniques depending on the task.  Often I start with thumbnails or rough drawings to show an idea or impression, then continue working to hone and refine the image throughout the process.  Important ideas I try to think about throughout the process include direction of lighting, designing with values, color interactions and styling approach.




6. What are your favorite art works/artists?
Oh, there are so many!  In terms of historical artists, works by William Bouguereau, John Singer Sargent, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet, the Dutch Golden Age painters and Hudson River School painters.  I am also grateful to have learned from and been inspired by many amazing present-day artists and their works.  🙂

"Rocket Travel Environment" concept

“Rocket Travel Environment”

7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
The single best response I can get is when an individual wants to immerse themselves within the story of an art piece I have created.  For example, when viewing one of my magical cavern environment concepts, a person paused and exclaimed “Oh, how I would love to live there!  That would be the best place in the world to be.” It is wonderful when something is immersive enough that it breaks through the boundaries of reality and allows them to live within the moment of imagination.  Providing an experience and joy to someone on that level makes creating art worthwhile.


"Desert Exploration"

“Desert Exploration”


"Emerald Visionary" concept  with "Hummingbird Familiar"

“Emerald Visionary” concept
with “Hummingbird Familiar”



8.  What do you like about your work?
The process of creating and storytelling is my favorite part.  Also, being able to learn and discover the richness of history and antiquities while doing research really allows me to feed that information into the works that I create, making for deeper storytelling and visual interest. For example, when learning I immerse myself in what I am studying for significant chunks of time.  Over a period of three months I did a study immersive pertaining to Medieval culture, history and antiquities to learn more and apply it to the artwork and genres I enjoy.  Sometimes that knowledge will come in handy at the most unexpected moments, too, such as when creating armor construction or an interior of a historic home.




"Debutant" character concept

character concept




9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Be authentic to yourself.  Have persistence and patience.  Find the courage to show yourself through the type of work that you want to create.  Be willing to do the hard work to build the path to your career and its advancement.





A redesign of Jean Grey (Phoenix) for the -  "What Women Women Characters" article by Lauren Panepinto

A redesign of Jean Grey (Phoenix) for the –
“What Women Want…in Women Characters” article by Lauren Panepinto

10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I look forward to continuing to work and grow within the entertainment industry.  Also, continuing to express myself through personal projects, commissions and gallery artwork within my additional time.



Marisa Erven

Marisa Erven