An Interview With Byron B
By Jacob Chase
This week on the blog I am joined by our good friend Byron Buslig. Based out of Arkansas, Byron is a freelance tee artist, graphic designer, Pokédex aficionado, game developer, and Art Director at Cranford Co. in Little Rock! Best known in the scene for his idyllic and colorful renditions of gaming classics, Byron’s artwork is like taking a portal back in time to the childhood whimsy we all hold onto so dearly. From hit JRPGs to classic childhood TV shows, and everything in-between— Byron’s capacity to surprise us all with what he comes up with next is exactly why I wanted to bring him onto the blog to give us all a little peek behind the veil of what makes his work so unique and intrinsically inviting.
Welcome to Byron’s Sanctuary of Fun:
Jacob: Hey, Byron thanks for taking the time to hang out and answer some questions! So, how’s it going?
Byron: It’s been going great! Living that work from home life and perpetually hungry.
Jacob: Haha, I feel you there for sure! So, how long have you been creating the work that is your art?
Byron: I’ve been drawing since maybe the wee age of 4. I used to sneak in drawings during school and got in trouble once for drawing a Poliwag during class.
Byron’s Pokédex entry 60-62 (Twitter Thread)
Jacob: Poliwag eh? I see you’ve been on a huge Pokémon kick over on your Twitter page. What set you on that particular journey?
Byron: I did a Pokédex project years ago but stopped in the middle of gen 3. I actually wanted to restart it ever since I finished my Kanto map, but never got around to it till now. So far it’s been a great exercise on consistency and design problem-solving.
Jacob: Do you have an all-time favorite Pokémon?
Byron: Gengar! I love that round purple ghost.
Jacob: Such a spooky fella! So, while we are on the subject of childhood trading card games and Saturday cartoons... What was it like working on the three Yu-Gi-Oh! Secret Stages we’ve put out?
Byron: I think it was a surreal moment for me since I grew up on Yu-Gi-Oh! and getting to work on some officially licensed products was a dream come true for little-kid me. I was grinning the whole time haha.
All three of Byron’s official Yu-Gi-Oh! Acrylic standees designed for the YeteeMart
Jacob: Is the process of creating standee artwork different from the way you approach other projects?
Byron: So when creating standee artwork, I had to think in a 3D space. Really had to focus on what was the foreground, midground, background, and what elements would be more interesting or would make more sense in which space. Also, the fact that these also had to be postcards, I was more worried about how to make the background more interesting without having to add more to the acrylic standee since I was constrained on printing space. It’s still a new medium for me so I’m excited to learn more about making acrylic standees!
Jacob: Gotta ask for Yu-Gi-Oh! as well. All-time favorite Duel Monster, go!
Byron: I think when it came to the anime, I was always partial to Flame Swordsman. But for the card game, I’m a fan of Rose Dragon cause I think the card frame with the art looked so pretty.
Jacob: to sort of piggyback off of the last series of questions, in terms of favorites, who’ve been some artists that have inspired your work over the years?
Byron: Off the top of my head: Illustrators like Paperbeatsscissors, Onemegawatt, Sachin Teng, Mamobot, Emilie Vo, popoalu, ryosuketarou, Yoichi Kotabe. Also, graphic designers like Cory Schmitz, Aaron Draplin, Jennet Liaw have greatly influenced me. I feel like I get influenced by different artists all the time haha.
A work in progress shot of the Smash Ultimate Poster Byron recently finished.
Jacob: Do you have a particular workflow that gets you in the mindset of creating your designs?
Byron: I usually start thinking about what sort of silhouette I wanna convey. I’m a believer of “the simpler the better”. I try to condense some of the more complex aspects of the design into simpler forms but still recognizable. Another thing I also think about is what little easter eggs I want to include. Sometimes I base a design around that. I really love designs that give you something new every time you look at it, which is why I love making maps or ensemble pieces.
Jacob: What aspects of your creative process excite you the most?
Byron: Problem-solving how to get some of the complex shapes of the design to more simpler ones. I really love clever logos and icons that can tell you so much in as little shapes as possible.
Byron’s home office set-up
Jacob: What sort of mediums or programs do you utilize to create your designs?
Byron: I use Adobe photoshop! I have a 24in Wacom Cintiq I work off of at home, but I have a 13in if I’m on the go. I only use Illustrator in very rare cases or if I’m including some typography into it.
Jacob: I’ve noticed your designs tend to gravitate around bonafide classic JRPGs and the like— which is super rad! So, I gotta ask, what are some of your favorite games of all time? Do you have a favorite gaming system or generation of games?
Byron: My top 10 JRPG games are:
Tales of Symphonia
the original .hack series
Shadow Hearts 2
Skies of Arcadia
Super Mario RPG
Even though I don’t play many JRPGs on it, the SNES is my favorite system. I really love all the pixel art and animation.
Jacob: Speaking of games, I hear you’re working on an indie game right now? Care to tell our readers a little bit about that project?
Byron: So the game is, “To the Rescue,” and it’s a dog shelter simulator game. I do pretty much all of the art and UI except for animation. You basically have dogs coming into the shelter and people will come in every now and then looking for a dog and your job is to try to get them to adopt them. You can pet the dog, play mini-games with the dog, have to make sure they’re being fed the right food, take care of sick dogs, etc. There’s lots to do and it’s coming out later this year!
Jacob: It sounds like this is definitely a passion project for you, that’s so awesome! With the game being so pet-centric are there any fur babies in your life that mean a lot to you?
Byron: So my family has three dogs that are currently being taken care of by my parents. Minnie, the golden retriever, Max the chihuahua mix, and Rover the Australian shepherd. But my wife and I have two cats named Sardine and Anchovy that we take care of ourselves. They are our furry gremlins.
Byron’s Yetee Profile pic for the month of April 2019
Jacob: What’s been one of your favorite memories while creating/releasing a piece of art for The Yetee?
Byron: It’s a toss-up between the first time I was commissioned for art, which was the Yetee social media profile pic. I always wanted to create art for Yetee and that moment opened a lot of doors for me. Another one would be doing a shirt for GDQ recently. A few years ago I actually emailed Yetee asking how I could go about making a shirt for GDQ and while I didn’t get the chance to, it became a big goal of mine, and now that I was able to accomplish it, I just have this feeling of “everything is coming full circle now”.
Jacob: What’s next from Byron B.? Anything fans of your work should keep an eye out for?
Byron: To The Rescue will be releasing later this year and we’ll be updating it periodically. I hope you all get a chance to check it out and support a good cause! I’ll also be working on some cool merch with Yetee and will be updating my personal Yetee collection and my Storenvy with new products soon!
Heck yeah! To The Rescue looks totes adorable and is available now on Steam! If you are into cute life sims and pet/animal games then To The Rescue is definitely gonna be up your alley. I’ve been keeping an eye out on this game’s development for a bit and am absolutely jazzed to finally play the game! If you’d like to stay up to date on the game’s development, definitely scope out their Twitter page or their website for any and all info and check it out on Steam!
I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Byron for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions for the purposes of this blog! As a huge fan of his work, it was an absolute pleasure to pick his brain for a little bit and help share a tiny part of his story with all of you!
To stay up-to-date on what Byron is up to swing by his Linktr.ee page and give him a quick follow over on his various social media profiles pages for some of that good good artwork! Also, check out his artist store over on the YeteeMart where we’ve got a new lineup of spooktacular bags, and more goodies coming your way soon!
Artist Store: Byron B.