Monday, January 25, 2010

Buddy Monday - Adam deGrandis

This week's buddy is a pretty special one to me! Adam and I met in 2001 at Maine College of Art. We lived in the same house, had the same major and every. single. class. together. We became fast friends and even when we both left MECA to go to other schools for a bit (and both eventually returned) we stayed close. Very simply put, Adam makes art for video games and getting to see that process is SO cool. He is one of the most dedicated, hard workers I have ever met and seeing his skills and creativity grow over the years has been amazing. I can honestly say that I am in love with this week's Buddy Monday feature. So much so that I am going to marry the crap out of him in a couple months!

1. Tell us about yourself?

My name is 
Adam deGrandis.  I got my start in graphic design in high school as an intern at a local branding firm, went to Maine College of Art, and then made a jump to games.  Generally speaking, I believe a person is only as good as what they put back into the world, so I'm constantly working on something.  At work I obviously have games to make, but I also work on little side project games at home, take the odd graphic design job from friends I know, draw little doodles in my sketchbook, and I also write and record a lot of music.  And while I love art, I think I may be a little more passionate about teaching - but that is a whole giant tangent that I won't get into right now.

2. What do you make?

Professionally, I make artwork for computer and console games.  Without getting into the details of it, I sculpt, paint, and animate using a computer as my primary tool.  If its something you see when playing a game, it's something I make.

3. How did you come up with your shop/business/blog name?

Well for a little over a year, I operated my own contract studio which was called Games Extract.  The name is something my brother thought of, and the whole idea is that I didn't make whole games, I just made the sweet part, the part that was tangible, the part you remembered, etc, etc.  But now, I'm working my dream job at a studio called Mad Otter Games.  That name came from part of a documentary which featured river otters fighting off crocodiles who enter their territory.  They swim up and jump on the croc's backs until they leave.  It's a metaphor for our approach to the games industry.  We're small, fast, and super adorable competing and winning against much heavier, slower, scary adversaries.

4. Influences?

On a personal (and more meaningful) note, I would have to say Randall Sckaal, George LaRou, Joe Maruschak, and this blog's very own Sarah Lomba, as they were all mentors of mine at some point in my life.

Talking about the greater world, though, my influences are pretty wide reaching.  For example, I love studying the original disney aninmators because they did a lot to define animation as an art, but then hanna barbara found a way to boil down the art to make it profitable and fast.  And sticking with animation, then there's more current figures... Brendan Small, Brad Bird, Matt Groening and company, Astrobase Go.  And a bunch of bands too. And authors. I basically admire and can find something to learn from anyone who finds a way to make something of substance.

5. Who would you like to collaborate with?

Well the good people at Mad Otter are the people I love working with; I wasn't joking when I said its my dream job.  I guess, though, I'd love to be able to define how we worked.  Having a big pile of no-strings-attached money which allowed us to make a really revolutionary game would be fantastic.  For those of you not in the know, games are EXTREMELY expensive to make, and thats the reason why most new games are just a copy of something that already came out.  It's more cost effective to copy a working formula than try to come up with something new.  So if I got to work with my current coworkers on something brand new, that would be ideal.

6. 5 songs you like to work to?
Cave In - Big Riff
Sunny Day Real Estate - Friday
Russian Circles  - Youngblood
Toadies - Little Sin
The Long Winters - Copernicus

To learn more about Adam or Mad Otter click any of the images in this post, become a fan on facebook or follow them on twitter.


  1. I'm glad to hear that your future husband likes working at his current studio. No sarcasm in that sentence! I hear so many developer horror stories that it brings a smile to my face knowing he's enjoying himself.

  2. I think Adam would be a great teacher!
    Trudat. Do it, dude!

    You'd be a thousand times better than the guy I had in my Maya 2 class. Eesh.

  3. : )

    "...I'm going to marry the crap out of him in a few months..." - that's awesome. I'm so excited. So, when are you two coming over to talk wedding invitations?