Darran Hurlbut is a 2D and 3D artist traditionally schooled in figure drawing and painting. He’s forged a long career as a professional 3D character artist, and now pursues his true passion as a concept artist and illustrator.
Darran grew up making models of tanks and planes, drawing war machines and robots - never thinking anything more of it, other than as fun stuff to do. Years later, learning that he actually had talent as an artist, he pursued a career of, well, making fun stuff. Darran got his start taking figure drawing classes and painting studies at Santa Barbara City College, San Francisco Art Institute, and additional studies at adult education figure drawing classes in Santa Barbara; he continues to visit figure drawing classes to this day.
Subsequently, those traditional art classes were replaced with 3DSMax and Photoshop, when he got his first job in the gaming industry at Scavenger Studios in Los Angeles, California. Darran quickly learned the programs, which enabled him to design, and later model, high-resolution characters that were arguably ahead of their time, such as his modeling work for the game “Messiah,” from Shiny Entertainment. For his next project, he produced thousands of storyboards for “Run Like Hell”, published by Interplay Entertainment, taking his art skills in a totally new direction. Later Darran studied at Associates in Arts, an art industry professional school in Sherman Oaks, California, to learn storyboarding.
Darran eventually resumed his position at Shiny Entertainment and produced promotional art for “Enter the Matrix,” then became the lead character artist for “Path of Neo.” It seemed that the path of becoming a concept artist wasn’t getting the attention it needed, so Darran, after completing “Path of Neo,” left Shiny to pursue work as a 2D artist.
Darran continued to work on his drawing skills by working on several comic projects, while freelancing as a concept artist on the side. He engaged in numerous personal art projects, comic book cover illustrations, and continuously pursued studies as a digital painter and draftsmen. Some of Darran’s freelance contract projects included work with Shiny, Double Helix, Uber Entertainment, EA Europe/ Crytek, Climax UK, and various other independent projects.
Darran’s diverse artistic background gives him a wide range of skills to draw upon when challenged to find technical and artistic solutions at his job. His traditional art background provides him with a strong sense of detail (mostly taught from reality), but, Darran’s love for artistic creativity drives him to explore a mix of new ideas rendered with traditional artistic skill.
To list projects that Darran’s art has had creative influence on:
“Messiah” (Shiny Entertainment): A cyberpunk- themed adventure game, which Darran designed and modeled the game characters. “Path of Neo” (Shiny): A dark. future sci-fi adventure game; Darran designed and created characters for game levels the Wachowski brothers wrote just for the game. “His Dark Materials” (Shiny): A steam-punk inspired sci-fi adventure; Darran designed in game assets extending the world beyond the movie. His claim to fame is the work he did with Crytek, as his designs became principal art in the creation of the lead character for the game “Crysis.” His most recent work is with the indie developer Uber Entertianment in Kirkland, Washington. Darran’s first full-time freelance project with Uber had him designing characters, weapons, props, environment paint-overs, graphic art, and promotional art for the game, “Super Monday Night Combat,” a MOBA-styled FPS-area battle game with an indie flavor.
Darran believes his long hours of video games, bad movies, and fantastic art feeds the insanity necessary to supply him with images devious and beautiful enough for creative inspiration. Darran’s formula is: Take a nice guy mixed in with some anti-social tendencies, dark music, and a skewed perspective of the world around him, and bam - a concept artist is born. There’s a perfect mix of creative thought and willingness to spend long, lonely hours in self-expression by drawing and painting on a digital screen. Personal favorite artists would include: Jason Chan and Westly Burt, excellent concept artists and illustrators; James Jean and Jon Foster, beautifully creative and expressive illustrators; Paul Bonner and Justin Sweet, fantastic fantasy artists; and lastly, John Berkey, Sid Mead, and Frazzeta; classic artist influences with core strength.
Darran’s plans for the future are to continue to develop his skills as a concept artist and illustrator. He wishes to continue to create worlds and images that inspire.