Senior Concept Artist Choro Choi came to picturesque Amsterdam for her honeymoon - and fell in love with the city
We talked to Choro Choi about her journey in the arts, what brought her to Amsterdam from Korea, and where she finds inspiration in her work.
Hi Choro - tell us about yourself! What brought you to Guerrilla and what do you do?
I'm Choro Choi, working as a Senior Concept Artist at Guerrilla. I like traveling, K-pop, animals, plants, and trying out new chocolates. I also fell in love with bouldering this year. And more than anything, I love the arts!
I grew up in a little suburban town called Iksan in South Korea and I majored in Fine Arts in university in Seoul. I worked on Civilization at XL Games, Crossfire at Smilegate, B&S 2 at NCSoft – and now I’m here at Guerrilla.
Wow! What was it like growing up in South Korea?
Growing up in Korea was beautiful. My first impression when I came to the Netherlands was that the land here is so flat! More than half of Korea's land has mountains, so wherever you go you always see mountain ridges. The house that I grew up in and the university that I graduated from were also on mountains. They are so beautiful, so it's very common to hike during your free time – especially in autumn when all the leaves turn red and yellow. It’s lovely to visit!
Korea also has a very food-oriented culture. We always ask, "Have you eaten?" meaning "How are you?". Many people put a lot of time and effort into getting good food, and my Instagram feed is full of my friend's food pictures. So if you're interested in tasty food, I highly recommend visiting Korea.
Fun fact: I’m taller than the average height in Korea!
What made you decide to move to Amsterdam?
Originally, I came to Amsterdam for my honeymoon. We only planned to stay in the Netherlands for two years after my husband and I got married, and my husband started his studies in the Hague. My plan was just to chill at home. But fortunately, I got a job here in the Netherlands and so we decided to extend our honeymoon – by a lot longer than we thought!
What is it about Amsterdam that had you decide to stay?
Amsterdam is a peaceful and cozy city, which I love so much. I feel like I know every little corner of Amsterdam. This city is so well designed with lovely buildings, canals, and flowers. There are lots of parks that you can enjoy with the summer sunlight on green grass, and wherever you go there is a high chance you’ll see some cute animal friends.
You had such a great journey to get here! What about your interest in concept art - what sparked your interest in it as career? How did you get into the gaming industry as a concept artist?
I was always into art in some way. The first commission that I did was in elementary school: I was really into Sailor Moon at the time and drew thousands of drawings of the Sailor Scouts. Some of my classmates wanted to buy them, so looking back I think I had already started my career from there!
As for getting into concept art in the industry, I had played a lot of games in my school days and joined some online gaming communities. Then I found out there are jobs for concept artists and illustrators. There’s a famous concept artist named Kim Hyung Tae in Korea and I loved his character designs so much. I read one of his interviews talking about the game industry and it seemed really cool.
After I graduated university, I started working on my portfolio for six months and then applied to several game companies. That started my career as a concept artist. It turned out working in the industry is very cool indeed!
What sparks your creativity and what inspires you in your work and your process?
There is an endless list of great artists, animation, and movies that influence my art.
One of the images that had a great impact on me is from Ghost in the Shell (please watch the TV series as well!). It always comes back to me when I draw.
I also find inspiration in my daily life: the people I meet, shoes I want to buy, to things like electronic cables, abandoned boats, etc. My favorite starting point when drawing is the face. I love to observe and draw faces; I never get tired of it.
When I work, I’m greatly inspired by my colleagues’ work and ideas. I feel very lucky to have such inspirational figures around me.
Speaking of your colleagues, what do you enjoy most about your role and what can be challenging sometimes?
We aim to make something unique, something you’ve never seen before. It’s a fun thing to do but sometimes the process can be challenging, because the creativity of the concept is not directly proportional to the effort and time you put into it.
What I enjoy most is that we can get a lot of reactions from the players. When we show off our gameplays, trailers, illustrations and concept art, it’s such a great pleasure to see all those reactions. It makes me feel proud to be part of the team.
We'd love to see some examples of your work for Guerrilla! Can you share some?
I worked on Horizon Forbidden West, mainly on Quen characters such as the markswomen, civilians, etc. I also worked on some main characters like Tilda, Zo, and Ceo, which was a huge collaborative effort with my team members and Karakter.
I also created the illustration for International Women’s Day in 2019 and the Season’s Greetings illustration in 2020.
Wow, you did a lot for Horizon Forbidden West. Is there a favorite project that you worked on?
I worked on Quen characters for a long time. We made a lot of iterations to make unique designs to align with the Horizon world and story. It was challenging but at the same time a dreamy and meaningful moment, something you'd always dream of doing as a concept artist.
What would you tell someone who’s interested in pursuing concept art?
Find out what you like to draw most!
Maybe you might like drawing some concept art or maybe you’re interested in portraits, trees, rocks, cars, whatever – it does not matter what that is, because the important thing is you need to keep a tiny flame in you that can ignite your creativity. I wish you good luck on your journey!
Thanks so much for your time, Choro. How can people follow your work and your art journey?