Many Tumblr users will recognize the iconic art being showcased in this post on A.J. Hateley, a graduate of the Master of Design in Illustration program at the University of Derby, England, who took major video game titles and created book covers based on their story and themes. We were lucky enough to correspond with Hateley through email in an effort to find out more about the “30 Days of Video Games” project.
What compelled you to start your “30 Days of Video Games” project?
Being a young woman in academia I kept encountering the entrenched, negative attitudes towards games that are commonly held by wide sections of the populace. I have spent a lifetime gaming and I know personally that videogames not only have the potential to be art, but also to be life-altering experiences. Videogames have some of the richest narratives, most engaging freedom of creative expression, and inspirational characters of any media. By comparing them to classic literature, an interesting question is posed about how we ascribe cultural value to videogames.
How did you approach the project?
Did you know which games you would be focusing on? I began with my favourites, and there were many. Often it would be the game I was currently playing or replaying. I aimed for each cover to have resonance with the original title, whilst also capturing something of its essence. I haven’t yet completed the series, and there are a few more to go – my top five.
Are you looking to enter the video game industry to work as a concept designer?
I would be extremely happy with a career as a concept designer in either the videogame or publishing industry. I have recently been shortlisted for the Penguin Design Competition for my cover for Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. 30 Days of Video Games has directly enabled that.
What has been the best experience you’ve had so far in as a freelance illustrator?
I have an exceptionally good feeling every time I glance at the bookshelf adjacent to my desk and see the spines of the physical covers I have designed for Authorhouse and Barnes and Noble. Being shortlisted for both the Northern Design Competition and the Penguin Design Competition has brought a feeling of legitimacy to my practice. My best experience was having 100,000 views on my work in one day – Incredible and appreciated.
What’s been the worst?
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Just a very warm thank you.