I really wanted to find out more about Elisa, her work on all things Silent Hill and what we can expect from her in the future.
Check out the interview below:
Tell me something about yourself?
My name is Elisa and I am a 29 year old lifelong gamer from Spain. I have a bunch of weird hobbies such as Japanese music and I am a weird person in general.
Have you always been creative?
Yeah. My first memory (related to drawing) is when my Mom was in her first job. She brought me there and I remember there was a desk and I had pencils and paper. She says I always asked for pencils and paper wherever I went.
Also, I remember there was a school-run kind of magazine where older students and teachers wrote, one of my drawings was featured because my teacher found it super cute. This happened when I was in kindergarden and I remember the drawing - a woman cooking in a pot with a cat by her side. I would also draw comics featuring my family and people I knew.
But then I always took part in junior drawing contests and I think I only won once or twice, but always minor prizes.
It was devastating, and still nowadays I feel I could do much better. Being an artist is not easy, as it is super hard to become remarkable among all the sea of artists out there, you know. So, even if I've always been drawing - and I even have an education with a minor on Illustration - sometimes I feel I need to sit tight and think that maybe my future is not in this world. Sometimes I think it is. It's really difficult as I say.
What attracted you to Silent Hill?
One day I went to my usual videogame rental place and I rented Silent Hill. I remember reading reviews on magazines and they would often complain about how awful the fog was and all that. So I wanted to see it myself. I am glad I did, since those reviews were just graphics-based and they didn't understand the fog had a purpose.
I remember how anxious it made me feel while playing it, but it was an addictive anxiety. It was like, "I NEED to leave the pad and turn off the system" but then I couldn't do it until I got to a certain part or got a certain item. And then, I just wanted more and more. It was so addictive.
On the weekend I rented it, I finished it. And shortly after that, the rental place was closing down and had everything for sale so I bought that very same copy. I remember it was quite a pricey game back then and it took several months until its price lowered.
Also I have to admit one thing that really made me attracted to Silent Hill was how it was the "rival" of Resident Evil. Everyone around here loved RE because it was all about the action. But I just didn't see the appeal of it, so being a SH fan made me kind of a rebel. I have always loved to be the opposite of everyone else.
You published a Silent Hill book titled ‘A Tale of Birds without a Voice’ which features beautifully illustrated characters and locations from Silent Hill. How did this come about?
I wanted to make something solid for my portfolio. Illustration books allow you to do whatever you want, not only content-wise but also design-wise. I learned to use Indesign at school, which is a program by which you can make layouts of books, magazines or whatever you want, with the exact results you need. So I thought it would be a really challenging project, since all of it would be a creation of mine. I chose every texture, every font, every color. Then of course, I had to choose the quotes and everything carefully. My intention was always of not spoiling anything.
Regarding the illustrations, I had done a lot of projects at Illustration school which were inspired by SH. I had done even a board game, which was inspired by a Spanish board game called Parchis, and had cards with illustrations. The illustrations were both digital and traditional. I really needed to break into the digital illustration world, so this also led me to work hard on digital illustrations for the book.
I wanted to recreate moments in the main games. Moments which struck me and as you can see there are moments which we, as players, see but others we don't. I think the implied situations are my favorite ones in any game, since they let your imagination fly and that's awesome. Silent Hill is full of these.
On top of that, I was (still am) used to working the human figure, but I needed to start working backgrounds as well. This is still a weak point of mine, I admit. So that's why there are also locations from the game, because I wanted to achieve a good skill at drawing backgrounds. I illustrated generic places or important ones, which a focus on a specific detail sometimes.
My goal with these illustrations was to try and make the person who views them a first person spectator of each scene. I hope people enjoy it.
Can we expect another Silent Hill inspired book in the future?
Maybe, who knows. I find it really challenging to put together a full, coherent project. It requires lots of work everyday and I tend to grow bored of things that take me too long to finish, so I need to find ideas that require different things (for instance, making not only illustrations but also the layout for the book). Right now I want to get involved in another big project, but I don't know what. So if anyone has suggestions, please tell me!
On top of this you have also released a dress up Heather game. What made you want to make a game? And were there any difficulties along the way?
I've always loved these games as a child, paper dress up dolls and stuff like that. Some years ago, my final project for illustration school was one of those books too. It took me 3 or 4 months. I wanted to do something like that again, but I couldn't find the reason why... until last year, when I decided I wanted to improve my pixel art skills. That made me decide to do it.
And honestly, I had no idea it'd be as big as it turned out to be. I wanted to make one or two outfits, maybe a weapon. But I ended up doing them all and it was nuts. About 90% of the time I put into the game was solely work on the graphics. And this graphic work was all possible thanks to Amy and her website, Silent Hill Alchemilla Hospital, because I made them on the textures she ripped from the games.
The difficulty came when I programmed it, because I programmed it on Flash (which I had some previous experience with, but only with animations), and it kept on bugging, giving me errors, etc. I tried following tutorials online, but they were all outdated.
So I started joining Flash communities but nobody really wanted to help. In the end, I had to go through it all on my own. Which sucked, but I got it to work in the end.
In hindsight, I would have looked for another type of layout because it looks so crowded. But I could only work with the most basic code I could find, as I found no help. Still, it was a really productive experience.
Oh sure, ask and you shall receive
Doing these little colored sketches is so much fun. Make for a good break from more complex illustrations, or just as an excuse to grab the pen after some time without doing it.
Though recently I began charging for these too. But the one you talk about was one of the three or four illustrations I made as a giveaway to celebrate that my SH humor tumblr, Derphill, reached 666 followers. I always give away sketches and stuff like that as gifts for my friends, so I thought it would be a nice giveaway for the page as well.
Finally a few questions just for fun.
Who is your favorite Character out of all of Silent Hill and why?
Maria comes to mind. I think it's because she knows way more than she shows; she's a martyr. She knows what her destiny is, but still she has to play pretend. SH characters are usually pretty complex, but I think Maria is probably the most complex one.
I think it'd be interesting to have a game evolving around her. I know there's this Maria scenario in the Platinum version of the game, but it feels just too short. Maybe it's better like that, who knows.
A second favorite of mine would be Lisa. She's such a contrast to the others NPC in SH1. They make it so that the player actually feels sorry for her, this is something that struck me big time back when I played it the first time... but then I didn't like how they portrayed her in Silent Hill Origins, as a kind of airhead. Of course, in SHO she was younger but I don't think it justifies her being such a carefree soul. It was as if suddenly, she wasn't such a deep character afterall. Though over time I began to accept it and I guess she became more serious as stuff around her happened.
Favorite Silent Hill game?
Shattered Memories. I know a lot of people dislike it and all, but as I said earlier I usually go agaisnt everyone else (and not really meaning to!). When I first picked it up I was skeptical as everyone else I suppose. But then since the "this game plays with you as you play with it" and the absolutely creepy loop video of Cheryl with Harry "I love you daddy", I began to understand it was different but in a good way. SM does something that not a lot of games do, that is playing with the player's psyche. That is amazing. I love it when games change over the player's choices (such as Telltale's The Walking Dead), but SM is on another level. The player is given psychological tests throughout the whole game, but there's even more. The game takes not on whether you stare at some girl's poster to make the game more sexual, or if you're staring at some beverages or some other stuff to achieve one ending or another, or to make the NPC wear this or that outfit. That made replaying it much more interesting and I wish more games were that risky. And of course, after all that amazing stuff, you're also left with an ending that feels like a slap on the face. Suddenly, everything makes sense. I personally cried over it and I spent the rest of the week sad over it. It's a heart wrecking experience.
But in the end I don't have a "least favorite" SH game. I like them all in their own way. I always find stuff I like about each game. Really can't hate any of them.
And describe Silent Hill in 140 characters or less.
Mind blowing, heart wrecking experience that lingers in your head and soul for a long, long time.
Check out Elisa's work on Facebook, The hilarious Derphill on Tumblr and if you want to get your hands on some of Elisa's work yourself why not order her book from Lulu and her Merchandise (T-shirts, Mugs, art prints etc) from Society6. Want to play the Dress Up Heather Game? You can play Here or Here.