In just a few weeks of streaming her work on EVE character art commissions, Eyes Like Chrome has already made a name for herself in the community, most famously with her cartoon of CCP Rise and his nerfbat (below). We managed to catch her between broadcasts for a chat about her art, her EVE life, and her experiences as a twitch streamer.
Voth: “Tell us about your work. How would you describe your style?”
Eyes Like Chrome: When I first started drawing, I never drew anything using a pencil or a stylus, I did it pixel by pixel in MS Paint… I was doing pixels, and mechanical things, like robots and spaceships and stuff. That’s why I’m really stoked about doing EVE stuff, because that’s the thing that I love to draw.
“Ok, I kind of want to cuddle that ship.”
I don’t even know if I have much of a style, because it varies from piece to piece, and it all depends on the subject matter. Honestly, I am not exclusively a chibi artist – chibi is the term for the small, cutesy, large-headed characters… originally I had done it on twitch because I wanted to throw out some little thing for people to do if they are interested – people are really into EVE, they love having stuff about their characters – why not? Then it turned into a big thing, so now I’m pretty sure that people have the misconception that they have to get a chibi – they don’t! I will happily draw actual people; I do realism, I do all kinds of different styles, I’m not limited to one thing… I guess the only thing that’s signature of mine would probably be the way I draw eyes. I am obsessed with drawing eyes – it is the thing that I am the best at, and I will spend hours just colouring eyes, if given the chance.
“CCP’s EVE art is very noir, kind of gothic… compared with the kind of pieces you’ve been doing for these EVE commissions, there’s quite a contrast.”
Yeah, a lot of them are happier! It’s like, “ok, I kind of want to cuddle that ship.” If people want a chibi commission, they want something that they’re going to look at and be like “aww, it’s my character, how cute! It’s like a baby! I’m going to keep it on my desk!” If it’s a serious piece, I’ll draw it seriously, and gritty, and do the dark stuff. I actually love doing that kind of thing, by the way! I don’t do nearly enough of it – that’s why I love drawing Minmatar ships, because they’re so gritty. I’m open to drawing anything. By doing the EVE stuff I think I’m going to be giving myself the chance to branch out of that a little bit more.
“Why do you like to stream your work?”
I’ve noticed that I tend to draw better when I have an audience. I guess it’s something I picked up in college, because I’d always have this herd of people around me watching me draw anyway. When I have people watching me draw, I have to not be lazy on things, I have to do them right the first time, I can’t screw around, I can’t cheat. But also, a lot of the people that watch the stream are artists themselves, and they can say “hey, why don’t you try this?” They have suggestions I wouldn’t think of – I like it!
“How did you get into EVE?”
I only recently got started in it; my big brother Fin is entirely responsible for all of that. I would never have touched EVE, because it’s pay-to-play – I tend to be really cheap! He and I live states away, and Fin’s my best friend, he’s literally the funnest person for me to be around. I really wanted a way to play games with Fin again… and he suggested EVE Online. I didn’t know that he was a twitch-streaming partner and all that other stuff, so it was a bit of a surprise: “Ok, cool, my brother’s a celebrity. Odd.”
“I think that that’s how all games should be… they seem to actually give a crap about their players.”
So he convinced me to try out EVE, and I did like it – I love space battles, I love anything involving spaceships and stuff like that. It was right up my alley, and within the first hour of me playing, he said, “ok, you’re gonna stream it.” – and I was like, “Noo, I don’t wanna stream it, they get to watch me fail and die, and the tutorial’s going to murder me, and it’s going to be terrible!”
“But that’s fun!”
Clearly it must have been, because a lot of people were watching me do this, and it was terrifying, because I already have issues with playing a game while people watch. Art is different, it’s something familiar that I can do and have people watch me and not freak out over. But playing a video game I’ve never touched before – it’s kind of nerve-wracking.
I was absolutely terrified when Fin told me exactly who these CCP people were, who were all flooding my chat and hanging around in the stream, and I was like, “Oh god, now I have to watch what I say about this impossibly complicated game” – because I tend to cuss a lot when I play video games, especially ones that I don’t quite get, yet.
“They’re EVE devs, they’ve heard everything.”
They’ve probably said everything! Despite how nervewracking it was – especially when Rise popped into my stream, and I looked like shit – I’m really glad that they do that kind of thing, because I’ve never heard of a [developer] that does that. I mean, I’ve played a lot of MMOs, including, unfortunately, LoL and all that other stuff – the devs seem to have this barrier between the players and themselves in those games. I don’t see that with EVE, and that makes me very, very happy. I think that that’s how all games should be. That’s kind of the other reason why I think I’m sticking with EVE, because they seem to actually give a crap about their players.
“Is there one special thing you’d love to do in EVE?”
Fin’s already well aware of it: my life’s ambition is to stream-snipe him. It’s a thing that twitch runs into, and it’s why they have a delay on twitch in most cases, so that they don’t have players watching the stream and going, “aha, he’s over here, I’m gonna go kill him on his stream so that people can make fun of him.” But Fin, for example, actually made a game of it, where if you snipe him in the middle of his stream he will give you money for doing so. But it’s not the money, it’s the fact that it’s Fin, and I have to kill him if he’s in the same game as me.
“If you could pick a ship for yourself in EVE, which ship would it be, and what colour would you choose for it?”
I really, really like a lot of them. I love the design of the Confessor, because it’s beautiful, and it looks like a sword, and I like it because it transforms – and I love how shiny the Amarr ships are, they’re so shiny and Paladin-y. I love white and gold together, that’s my favourite colour combination, but… oh man, that’s a really hard one. As for colours, I tend to like darker colour schemes, and things that have a lot of chrome on them, obviously. Like an anti-Amarr… it’d be black and silver, instead of white and gold. That would be badass.
“How do you feel about pink spaceships?”
It kind of seems like blasphemy, but I’ll roll with it, if that’s your thing… [or] a pikachu ship, let’s do this! … And they could make bumper stickers – really funny, witty bumper stickers, like puns. I’d like that. I’d have a little stamp, a tally of how many times I’ve blown up: “I am THIS crazy.”
“I’ve heard whispered rumours that the art department is uncomfortable with the idea of even having alliance logos on ships, because they don’t want players with their silly cartoons defacing their beautiful artwork.”
I get that, the ships are their babies, they spend hours and hours and hours coming up with the designs, and the colouring, and the details, and doing all this stuff, but at the same time, people love looking unique, they love having their own style in everything they do, that’s just what makes them people. They don’t like to blend in, they want their own personalised things, so… I think, if it were me, I’d be flattered that people like the ship enough that they want to make it their own.
“Don’t make me cry on the interview!”
“Why did you choose the name “Eyes Like Chrome”?”
Everything I have done up to this point has been practice. All of the commissions, everything I have done, has been for the sake of a comic that I have been writing for several years now, that I am desperate to get published – and the main character is a guy who has chrome eyes.
Originally it’s going to be a web comic; I’m hoping to eventually print it if it does well enough. It’s something I’ve been working on, probably since high school, so quite a few years, about ten years. I’m hoping to have the prologue up, and at least the first chapter, by the end of summer. It is kind of space-y, and a little bit futuristic, it’s very much not a happy story – I hope that doesn’t scare anybody away from it.
“EVE people will be totally into that. We love your work.”
Don’t make me cry on the interview!
“If you do, that would be awesome; we’ll put it on the podcast.”
“This is the kind of thing we want to highlight, though, because work like this makes the game a richer, more meaningful experience for all of us.”
Yes, that was something that Fin mentioned as well, and I agree: you want players to stick with it more, to have more reason to love EVE, so, make the community richer, and they will do that… I think the big reason I have become hooked on it is because all the people I watch and play with are so unbelievably gung-ho about the game, and that kind of makes me want to be gung-ho about it. It isn’t even a peer pressure thing, it’s more of a “oh gee, that sounds like fun.”
If you’d like to commission a piece of character art from Eyes Like Chrome, or just learn more about her work, check out the links below: